• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Diamond Valley Lake reservoir can provide relief for drought-stricken Southern California

The Diamond Valley Lake reservoir holds 195 billion gallons of water and provides Southern California with a safety net.
February 6, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
The Diamond Valley Lake looks spectacular: a beautiful lake complete with wildlife and recreational facilities. But 20 years ago, it didn't exist, it was a valley.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California made it into the Diamond Valley Lake reservoir, according to Jeffrey Kightlinger of the MWD.

"In 1991, Southern California went through a pretty terrible drought," said Kightlinger. "We had to ration water and we decided we are never going to go through another drought like that and be unprepared."

Kightlinger says the mountains that surround the area make it nearly a perfect bowl.

In the 90's, they built several dams and made the lake. It is now connected to the state water system and the Colorado River and holds 195 billion gallons of water.

It's Southern California's water safety net; without it, we would be at 50 percent rationing.

"We got prepared. We invested over the last two decades, now the whole state has to do that. You're seeing parts of the state running dry," said Kightlinger.

Thursday's rain was literally a drop in the bucket. The state is still way below normal precipitation.

In addition to declaring a drought emergency, the state has canceled water deliveries beginning in the spring from the state's water system to farms and some cities.

"This year is an epic drought," said Kightlinger. "I've never seen it this dry; we are off the charts dry in California."

Kightlinger says this emergency needs a statewide response. Everyone needs to get together to make sure there is enough water.

"We're saying we want to work with the rest of the state on cooperative programs so that maybe we can help people out in Northern California," said Kightlinger.

But even though we're doing OK in Southern California, the Metropolitan Water District plans to ask consumers to conserve about 20 percent of their water next week. They say every little bit will help.


Load Comments