Desert Water Agency is monitoring the statewide drought closely. Local water agencies depend on water from the Sierras and reservoirs in Northern California to replace the water we pump out of our aquifer to use each year. 

California is heading into a third La Nina, which typically means below average precipitation.

In May of 2022, the State Water Board required water agencies to implement Level 2 of their Water Shortage Contingency Plans (WSCP) in June 2022.  View DWA's WSCP here. 

The DWA Board of Directors then adopted water restrictions to comply with State Water Board emergency regulations and help with the statewide drought. These restrictions are still in effect.


These dry conditions have many people wondering how they will be impacted. DWA is dedicated to providing safe and reliable water, even during drought conditions. Read our FAQ section below for more information.

Drought FAQs

What are the current water use restrictions?

In June of 2022, the Desert Water Agency (DWA) Board of Directors adopted new water restrictions to comply with State Water Board emergency regulations and help with the statewide drought.  They are still in effect and include:

  • No spray/sprinkler irrigation during daylight hours (leak checks are okay – please use a cone)
  • Restaurants to provide water only to guests that ask for it

The State also has a prohibition on certain types of properties watering “non-functional turf” – please review the State FAQ.

What will it take to get California out of the drought?

California has been experiencing more extreme weather. As longer dry periods become the new norm, water efficiency is more important than ever. Every Californian should do what they can to save. We’re here to help residents, HOAs, businesses and other government agencies – visit www.dwa.org/save

When was the drought emergency declared?

Gov. Newsom first declared a state drought of emergency on July 8, 2021 in a portion of Northern California and asked all Californians’ at that time to voluntarily reduce water usage by 15 percent compared to 2020. Since then all counties have been added to the drought emergency.

How can I learn more about the local Water Shortage Contingency Plan?

To check out our Water Shortage Contingency Plan, go here:  https://bit.ly/3DXBuXz

To check out a May 2021 webinar on drought that discusses our Water Shortage Contingency Plan, go here: https://youtu.be/qV1kfGAmxkg


What is the outlook for us locally?

Our valley is fortunate to have a large aquifer. While this provides a buffer for any short-term drought emergencies, it is very important that we safeguard it for future generations. A statewide drought means we’re able to bring less water in to replenish the aquifer. 

What is the state of our local aquifer?

The aquifer is in good health. Since 1973, DWA and our neighbor CVWD have been bringing in water to replace what is pumped out. We’ve seen groundwater levels rebound in some areas that previously experienced declines. Some experts estimate that we have more than 100 years’ worth of water in storage.


What is a drought emergency?

The Governor can declare a drought emergency to allow state officials to enact rules to reduce water use. This is typically done when statewide conditions are very dry, regardless of what our conditions are here in the Coachella Valley.

Does DWA fine customers who waste water?

We currently impose fines to water wasters and will continue to do so. We encourage residents and businesses to look proactively at their irrigation systems to avoid citations and save money on their water bills. DWA has incentives for efficient sprinkler nozzles to avoid water waste.

What can I do to help conserve water?

Take advantage of an incentive to save water (www.dwa.org/save). Check your outdoor watering – that’s typically where we see the most water use. You can also help us by reporting water waste you see in the community (www.dwa.org/report).

What is DWA doing to save water and address the drought?

In addition to an aggressive pipeline replacement program, DWA is partnering with residents, HOAs and businesses to save water. We have a variety of conservation incentives as well as educational programs for landscapers and school-age water users.


Will new development/construction be put on hold?

Desert Water Agency is in the process of developing a new plan for water shortages due to things like extended drought. Unless there is a catastrophic situation, we do not anticipate moratoriums on development or construction.