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Desert Water Agency is monitoring the drought situation closely. California has experienced two dry years with little rainfall and low snowpack and is anticipating a third dry year with reservoirs at or near historic lows. 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.


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

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 more counties have been added.

 On Oct. 20 Newsom added the last eight counties – including Riverside County –  to the drought state of emergency to help deal with persisting dry conditions across the state.

What does the statewide drought declaration mean for the local area?

DWA is now required to evaluate its Water Shortage Contingency Plan that takes into account local conditions and anticipate continued dry years.



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

To check out our Water Shortage Contingency Plan, go here:

To check out a May 2021 webinar on drought that discusses our Water Shortage Contingency Plan, go here:


How will the drought impact me or my water bill?

While a drought declaration doesn’t have any immediate impact on you or your bill, DWA’s Board of Directors could vote to impose additional water saving requirements or a drought surcharge on water rates. If you’re looking for a way to do your part to save, visit and take advantage of an incentive.


Do I need to cut my water use by 15 percent?

Gov. Gavin Newsom is asking all Californians to voluntarily reduce their household water use by 15 percent compared to last year. Our customers are not required to reduce water use or save any amount at this time. However, if you would like to do your part to help conserve water, visit and take advantage of an incentive. 

Will there be restrictions on how much water I can use?

There is no restriction on the amount of water used. If the state requires DWA to meet certain savings levels, we may request that customers cut back.

What are the current water restrictions?

After the last drought, there were some restrictions that never went away – mainly to curb water waste. For example, you can’t water so much that it runs off onto the sidewalk, street or driveway. For a list of current restrictions, visit

Will there be new restrictions on how or when I can use water?

While we haven’t put any new restrictions in place yet, it is possible. DWA will do its best to inform our community as circumstances change at the statewide and local level.

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.

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

Will water be rationed?

It isn’t likely. Several years of drought will not prevent us from meeting demands. However, the state may require water agencies to put certain water-saving measures in place.  

Will DWA begin fining 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 ( 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 (

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.

More information and news on the drought