First published in the Aug. 27 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
The city of Burbank does not have any rights to water.
The water we use is purchased from Metropolitan Water District. MWD supplies Burbank with its water using two sources: the State Water Project and the Colorado River.
We are currently in year three of a severe drought. The State Water Project gets its water from snow melt annually. This year, the snowpack was only 38% of its normal levels, severely limiting the amount of water that the SWP could deliver. In fact, January and February of 2022 were the driest months in recorded history for the watersheds that provide much of California’s water supply.
MWD serves 26 communities in Southern California. Six of these communities can only receive SWP water. They have no access to the Colorado River water because the distribution pipes do not connect to those communities. Because the SWP supply is significantly reduced, California decided that the use of this water would be limited.
The communities that use SWP water must reduce their water use by 30% from what they used in 2020. Most of these communities are limited to one day per week of watering. If they do not reduce by 30%, there are penalties of up to $2000/acre-foot (AF) of water if they exceed volumetric limits.
Colorado River water is also well below normal water flows. This water feeds Lake Mead, the lake behind Hoover Dam. This lake is down 145 feet below normal limits and at historic low levels. However, more water is available from the Colorado River than through the SWP.
Burbank Water and Power