Video: Catalina Island Exits Mandatory Water Conservation
The latest rainstorms to soak Southern California wreaked havoc on some parts of the state, but for Catalina Island residents and businesses, they brought welcome relief from a historic drought and seven years of mandatory water conservation measures.
The recent rains increased the water level at the Middle Ranch Reservoir to full capacity in February. The level of the reservoir determines the state of the island’s water supply, and the previous need for mandatory water conservation measures imposed on residents and businesses.
Southern California Edison filed an advice letter with the California Public Utilities Commission indicating current water levels make it possible for the island to exit Stage 1 mandatory conservation, in accordance with the utility’s conservation and rationing plan. The utility is requesting, however, that islanders continue their extensive conservation efforts voluntarily.
“We are grateful for the community’s commitment to conservation for the duration of the drought,” said Ron Hite, SCE’s senior manager for Catalina Island. “We know how hard island residents and businesses have worked in reducing water use and eliminating water waste.”
SCE provides electric, water and gas service to about 4,000 year-round residents on the island and its more than 1 million visitors each year.
“With the reservoir at capacity and in accordance with our conservation plan, we can now safely remove mandatory conservation for all island customers,” said Hite. “But I remind everyone that water on Catalina remains a precious resource and I encourage all of us to continue voluntary conservation efforts wherever possible until regulations permanently prohibiting wasteful water practices are implemented.”
The reservoir has a capacity of around 1,054 acre-feet. It reached a low of 11 percent of capacity in late 2016, which necessitated not only mandatory conservation measures but also water rationing of up to 50 percent for some island customers. That low a level at the reservoir had not been seen since a drought in the late 1970s.
video by Ron Hite