Drought Update

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In response to Governor Newsom’s recent Executive Order, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted emergency water conservation regulations on May 24 that will go into effect in June. Rancho Water is already in compliance with these new regulations. For years, the District has made proactive investments to address the uncertain, ongoing drought conditions in the western United States. We know this is a tough time for California and we will continue to work together to navigate this drought.   


On April 27, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) has implemented water restrictions for parts of Los Angeles, Ventura, and San Bernardino counties. Because of Rancho Water's access to Colorado River water, these restrictions will not impact our service area at this time.

Current Drought Status

California is experiencing severe dry weather. Low snowpack, and even lower runoff, in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains are causing critically low reservoir levels in the Colorado River and State Water Project systems, which is where Rancho Water gets about 67% of our water supply. 

As of October 19, 2021, Riverside County has been added to the emergency drought declaration, along with the rest of the state. While our import water supplier currently has above average storage levels from previous wet years, now is the time to save so that we may protect our water supplies for tomorrow. 

Track the latest statewide water supply conditions, snowpack levels, and river flows, and Southern California's reservoir levels in the links below.

Current Drought Map Opens in new windowCA Water Conditions Opens in new window Reservoir Lvl Link Opens in new window

Drought Timeline

May 2022State Water Resources Control Board (SWB) adopts emergency regulations for water use in response to Executive Order N-7-22
March 2022Governor Newsom requires water agencies to reduce water use in coming months
January 2022Rancho Water moves to Stage 3b of the Water Shortage Contingency Plan; State Water Resources Control Board (SWB) approves resolution for drought-related Emergency Regulations pertaining to urban water conservation
November 2021Metropolitan Water District declares Drought Emergency
October 2021Riverside County added to the emergency drought proclamation
September 2021Reports show Californians have only reduced water use by 1.8% (July 2021 vs. July 2020)
August 2021Metropolitan Water District declares Condition 2 – Water Supply Alert; Lake Mead declares first ever water shortage; Lake Oroville shuts down major hydroelectric power plant due to water shortage
July 2021Governor Newsom calls for 15% voluntary water usage from 2020 levels
May 2021Drought declaration expanded to 50 California counties (all except Southern CA)
April 2021Emergency drought declaration in Sonoma & Mendocino Counties
  1. Water Use Restrictions
  2. Water Shortage Contingency Plan

Rancho Water is currently in Stage 3b of the 

Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

Water budget reductions are now in place.

Effective now, Stage 3b implements several mandatory outdoor water use restrictions including:

  • Irrigating lawns and landscape only between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. Customers with weather-based irrigation controllers are exempt from this restriction.
  • No watering of outdoor landscapes during a rainfall event and up to 48 hours after measurable rainfall.
  • Irrigation water may not leave the landscaped area.
  • Using a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks, and other hardscape surfaces.
  • Tuning up irrigation systems by checking for and repairing leaks and damaged sprinklers.
  • Not allowing hoses to run while washing motor vehicles (including autos, trucks, trailers, motor homes, boats, or others).
  • No variances or adjustments for: filling swimming pools, establishing or expanding landscape area, leaks not repaired within 48 hours, or existing outdoor water budgets.


Effective now, the following water budget reductions are in place:

  • Residential, multi-family, and dedicated landscape Tier 3 (inefficient tier) water budgets will be decreased by 50%
  • Agricultural, agricultural/residential, and commercial Tier 2 budgets (inefficient tier) will be decreased by 50%.  

Customers’ efficient water budgets are not being reduced in this stage of the Plan.

The Journey of WaterJourney of Water

To understand how the statewide drought affects Rancho Water, it's important to first understand where our imported water comes from. About 60% of our water is imported from more than 500 miles away from the Sierras through the State Water Project (SWP) and the Colorado River from the Rockies. The SWP serves 27 million people and about 750,000 acres of farmland. The Colorado River supplies water to more than 35 million people in seven states, and about 4 trillion gallons of water for agriculture. Water from these sources travels through hundreds of miles of pipeline, treatment plants, and reservoirs before eventually reaching Rancho Water customers.

Learn More About Where Your Water Comes From

Follow along in Rancho Water's series "Journey of Water" to see how where water droplets travel from to reach our customers. 

In Episode 1, Wade takes you on a tubular 600-mile trip from the Sierra Nevada Mountains through the State Water Project to the Rancho Water service area.

In Episode 2, join Brook to see how she travels from Colorado's Rocky Mountains through hundreds of miles of pipelines and pumping stations to the Rancho Water service area. 

In Episode 3, follow Rain as he travels from the sky through Temecula Creek, Vail Lake, a natural filtration system at Valle De Los Caballos, and into multiple wells throughout the Rancho Water service area.

In Episode 4, join Pristine to see how she travels to the sewer treatment plant for stringent cleaning processes so she can journey out into the purple pipelines. The recycled water is used on golf courses, city parks, and various landscapes throughout Temecula and Murrieta.

In this final episode, the water droplets take the most important step of their journey - to Rancho Water customers. Join Rain as he goes to school. Follow Brook to the beautiful Temecula wine country. Take a trip into the hills of Murrieta with Wade. They've finally made it to their destinations!

What Can I Do to Help?

Rancho Water customers are known for their water saving ways! We thank you for the work you've already done to save water. But, with California experiencing very dry conditions and groundwater supplies quickly depleting, it's time to step it up and Check Your Water!

We encourage you to do these three simple steps to tune up your home’s water efficiency and save on your bill.

  • Check your water budget
  • Check for leaks
  • Check sprinkler timers

Save Today to Protect Tomorrow. No Water Wasted.  

Check Your Water poster