LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A slight increase in the amount of water that will be provided by the state next year should not lead people to believe California is emerging from its drawn-out drought, the head of a Southern California water- management agency said.  

“Thanks to investments by ratepayers over the years to increase our storage network, Southern California is in fairly favorable shape entering 2015, with considerable supplies still in reserve,” said Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

“We, however, must carefully manage our remaining reserves.”

Kightlinger spoke in response to an announcement by the state Department of Water Resources that it will provide 10 percent of normal water supplies to farmers and cities next year. While low, the allocation will be an increase from this year, when the state provided 5 percent of normal supplies.

But Kightlinger said the Southland — and the state — is still mired in drought, and residents should still focus on conservation.

“This initial allocation is a reminder that it will take more than a few wet weekends to end California’s three-year dry cycle,” he said. “While expected, this announcement (by the state) reflects the seriousness of the statewide water situation.

“… Next week, our Board of Directors is scheduled to consider a revised water allocation plan that will allow Metropolitan to restrict supplies to its member agencies, if necessary. A vote to restrict supplies could happen early next year based on conditions. While Metropolitan won’t likely know until next spring the total amount of water available from Northern California in 2015, we are fully prepared and urge everyone to re-examine their conservation efforts.”

MWD includes 26 cities and water agencies serving 19 million people in six counties.