As this season gears up to be one of the warmest and driest in recent memory, millions of Californians are reacquainting themselves with the trappings of summer: sunscreen, sunny mornings, and drought.
Intentional or not, the word drought has become synonymous with summer to millions in California, due in part to water agencies like ours whose outreach efforts flood social media and mailboxes this time of year.
The good news is Southern California residents have been here before and know what to do. To help revitalize water use efficiency efforts across the region and recognize a job well done by customers to be as water efficient as possible, a new campaign out of the Inland Empire is shaking up California’s traditional idea of drought awareness with three simple words: Keep It Up. Keep up awareness of your water usage and your water provider will keep up its supply planning and delivery efforts; keep up those practices you know well and have adopted as a way of life.
“We pride ourselves on partnerships formed with both our families of customers and water providers, who have embraced water efficiency as a lifestyle and sustainable living in the Inland Empire,” said Western Municipal Water District’s (Western) Board President Brenda Dennstedt. “Thanks to our customers’ water-saving habits, and water providers’ commitment to investing in local water systems and imported water storage, the Inland Empire is well prepared to meet customer demands for this year.”
In the past decade, residential water usage in the region has decreased between 20 and 50% in response to environmental and community advocacy—this region has responded well to consistent reminders and those proactive efforts have made great strides in our ability to manage water supplies for our customers.
“While the Inland Empire’s water supply is robust, we cannot be certain if we are at the end of a short drought or facing the beginning of a long-term drought, “Western’s General Manager Craig Miller. “It’s up to each and every customer to stay committed to using water efficiently so that our stored, imported water will last as long as possible and keep our region ahead of the drought curve.”
The Keep It Up IE campaign is a new effort out of the Inland Empire, a region all too familiar with the effects of dry climate and traditional community engagement around water efficiency.
Four of the region’s wholesale water districts have established the Inland Empire Clean Water Partnership (IECWP). Western along with Eastern Municipal Water District, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, and San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District collectively provide water for more than three million Californians —enough to make a noticeable impact on water use efficiency for the State. Through the Partnership, we can connect with more than 40 cities and water districts and are encouraging them to share a simple message: Keep It Up Inland Empire.
“Our new regional partnership is about driving regional solutions to shared challenges. Drought and water resilience are our most urgent priorities today, but the Inland Empire Clean Water Partnership is committed to working together on all of our shared challenges,” said Dennstedt.
Western is optimistic about the IECWP’s early work. This has been a pivotal time in our region’s water supply management and planning, and the decisive action by the IECWP to engage and inspire water-saving efforts is essential. In participating in this effort, it is Western’s goal to work collaboratively to accelerate investments to meet the region’s long-term water supply needs.