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At the July 26 meeting of the West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) Board of Directors, the Board moved to activate its Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP) and declare water shortage level one for the service area representing nearly one million people in 17 cities, including Carson, Inglewood, Hawthorne, El Segundo, Culver City and unincorporated areas in Los Angeles County.

Based on the increasing severity of the drought, the Governor’s request for a voluntary 15-percent reduction in statewide water use, and West Basin’s long-standing role as a leader in regional water efficiency and conservation measures, initiating shortage level one of the WSCP will allow the district to implement targeted shortage response actions that encourage voluntary reductions in water use.

In addition to working closely with its retail water suppliers to promote local water efficiency and conservation measures, West Basin developed a drought communications plan that will guide the district’s public information and education outreach activities in the service area as the drought continues.

“The Board action today will increase awareness of the importance of water use efficiency and conservation as a way of life,” said Board President Harold C. Williams. “Even though our current Urban Water Management Plan shows that West Basin water resources are reliable for the next 25 years, even in multi-year droughts, there is a sustained need to use water wisely considering our naturally arid and changing climate conditions. Water-saving actions today will help to alleviate demand and stress on our current water supply reserves.”

The WSCP provides West Basin with a flexible set of response actions to address future water shortages, including enhanced outreach and education, increased coordination with local water agencies, and implementation of new water efficiency programs.

West Basin’s WSCP includes six standard water shortage levels, corresponding to increasingly severe shortage conditions as compared to normal reliability conditions. Each level aligns with specific response actions that West Basin can implement to address and resolve any current or expected supply-demand gaps created by the associated water shortage. At present, West Basin is not implementing mandatory water use reductions or rationing.

The 2021 WSCP is online at www.westbasin.org/drought.