Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the U.S. and a major water supply source to Southern California, has fallen to a record low level this year. 

Drought 2021 Update

The State of California once again finds itself in the midst of a severe drought, with historically dry conditions expected to continue indefinitely. While this news should come as no surprise to millions of Southern Californians who have become increasingly familiar with the state’s periodic dry spells, it does serve as an important reminder that we should never take for granted our limited and precious drinking water resources.

Fortunately, due to decades of investments in conservation programs and local water reliability projects, such as recycled water, desalination, and groundwater augmentation, West Basin and its retail agencies continue to be well prepared to manage multi-year droughts that have all but become the norm. Because of these investments, and those made by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, water  in the West Basin service area is secure.

Despite the improvements in regional water reliability, maintaining water efficient lifestyles and a conservation-minded ethic during drought and non-drought periods is vital to ensuring that our communities and local businesses continue to thrive with access to high-quality water supplies.

On July 26, 2021 the West Basin Board of Directors activated the district’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP), entering into Shortage Level 1.

Shortage Level One

On October 19, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation extending the drought emergency statewide, including Los Angeles County. He urged Californians to increase their water conservation efforts as the western U.S. faces a potential third dry year, and California’s second driest year on record.

State Emergency Proclamation

Drought-Resilient Solutions

West Basin is committed to providing reliable, drought-resilient water supplies to the service area by focusing on efforts to expand local water supply resources that are more resilient to ongoing climate change and various other factors that may make imported water a less reliable supply.

West Basin’s Water for Tomorrow Program characterizes the district’s approach to addressing the service area’s water future. The Program brings new emphasis to West Basin’s commitment to protecting, securing and diversifying its water supply while continuing its history of innovation and industry leadership.

Long-Term Reliability Planning

West Basin regularly reviews and analyzes its water supply portfolio to ensure that strategic investments are being made to develop reliable long-term water supplies in the service area. From supply and demand forecasting to water use efficiency data analysis, West Basin develops numerous reports and strategic plans that help inform the District’s investments in a diverse set of capital and water resources programs.

In June 2021, West Basin published its 2020 Urban Water Management Plan, 2021 Water Shortage Contingency Plan, and an additional analysis related to Delta Reliance. Together, these strategic plans demonstrate the reliability of West Basin’s supplies for the next 25 years as the district continues to shift from heavier dependence on imported water supplies to a more diverse portfolio of recycled water, conservation, desalination, and groundwater augmentation.

Other Drought Resources

Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor is a map that is updated weekly to showing which areas of the country are currently in drought. The map uses five classifications: abnormally dry (D0), showing areas that may be going into or are coming out of drought, and four levels of drought: moderate (D1), severe (D2), extreme (D3) and exceptional (D4).

Los Angeles County is currently at levels D3 and D4, extreme and exceptional drought, respectively.

Drought Monitor CA Map 2021
October 2021


Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Metropolitan)
Metropolitan’s updated drought resources may be accessed at: Metropolitan Drought 2021


Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)
ACWA’s updated drought resources may be accessed at: ACWA Drought Landing Page


State and Federal Resources


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