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Drought-related FAQ's

Find answers to the most commonly-asked questions about the drought.



Is the State of California really in a drought?
The state of California is in a severe drought.  Get more information about the size and impact of the drought here

Is the City of Riverside in a drought like other California cities?
The City of Riverside receives its water from local groundwater basins, which are still replenished by rain and snow, though at a lower rate than normal.  Riverside has many years’ worth of water in reserve, while there is no near-term risk to Riverside’s water supplies, there may be a long-term risk.

What is the State of California doing about the drought?
Governor Brown issued an Executive Order forbidding certain activities and mandating that the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) develop regulations to conserve 25% of statewide urban water usage between June 1, 2015 and February 27, 2016 as compared to 2013.  Information on the Governor’s declaration can be found here

The SWRCB’s emergency regulations can be found here.

What is the difference between groundwater and surface water?
Surface water includes lakes, rivers, streams, canals and any other source of water that is located at or near the earth’s surface.  Many agencies in California obtain their water supply from either the California Delta System or from the Colorado River, both surface water sources. 

Groundwater is usually well below the surface (40 feet to over 1,000 feet deep) and is extracted using wells outfitted with pumps and motors.  The City of Riverside obtains its water from ground water sources in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.

Is the City of Riverside trying to conserve water?
The City of Riverside has and will continue to promote water conservation, which allows the City to grow and prosper while minimizing the cost to find new water supplies.

Can the City of Riverside provide water to other water agencies?
On a short-term basis, Riverside could provide a limited amount of water to other local agencies.  However, Riverside would be constrained by the water rights set forth by a 1969 settlement agreement as well as by its ability to convey water.

Where does the City of Riverside get its water from?
Riverside extracts its water from three groundwater basins: the Bunker Hill Basin in San Bernardino, the Rialto Colton Basin in Colton, and the Riverside Basin.  More information about these basins and Riverside’s water rights can be found here.  Riverside’s water rights are based on natural recharge over a 40-year hydrologic (precipitation) cycle.

Does the City of Riverside import water?
Riverside has the right to import water and has infrastructure to do so.  However, Riverside has not relied on imported water since 2008, and does not need it now.

Where does imported water come from?
Most of Southern California has access to two major sources of imported water, the Colorado River and the California Delta via the State Water Project.  When Riverside has taken imported water in the past, it mainly came from the California Delta.

What are the latest drought restrictions?
View the latest restrictions here.  

Where can I report water waste?
If you spot water runoff or other water waste, you may report it through our 311 Call Center by dialing 311 (or 826-5311), online at www.RiversideCA.gov, or by using the 311 Call Center app.

I am a Western Municipal customer. Where can I go for more information? 
Western customers can get more information at wmwd.com.