Catalina Island Gets Welcome Rains, Yet Impact of Historic Drought Remains

Late January rains raise water levels at the Middle Ranch Reservoir to only 27 percent of capacity.

  • By Robert Laffoon Villegas
  • February 01, 2017

Residents of Catalina Island received some welcome relief from the many years of drought in the last few weeks. And although significant rain fell in late January, the island remains in the midst of a historic drought.

The impact of California’s historic drought, combined with less-than-expected rainfall last year, has meant additional water rationing for the island’s residents. Catalina has been in mandatory 25 percent water rationing since August 2014 because of the drought and those conditions led Southern California Edison to implement Stage 3 water rationing last September.

The island is a unique system that is isolated and more susceptible to the impacts of drought.” 

Ron Hite, SCE district
manager for Catalina Island

After the latest rains, measurements taken at the Middle Ranch Reservoir on Jan. 26 show the current water level at 283 acre-feet and that the reservoir gained 146 acre-feet of water from the previous week, which was at 137 acre-feet.

“The island is a unique system that is isolated and more susceptible to the impacts of drought,” said Ron Hite, SCE district manager for Catalina Island. “The reservoir level has risen and that is good news, but Middle Ranch Reservoir remains at just 27 percent of capacity – though at its lowest point it reached a low of 11 percent.”

Island residents and businesses have made extraordinary sacrifices and achieved significant conservation results, but more rain is still needed to fully replenish the groundwater reserves. SCE officials are taking the long view to managing the water resources on the island during this critical period and into the future.

“This week, SCE began work on a comprehensive analysis of Catalina’s water systems, following the latest rains, to fully understand the impact to our aquifers and to consider all the options in regards to water-rationing levels and water use on the island,” said Hite. 

SCE expects that work to continue through next week and it will communicate to island stakeholders and the public the results of the analysis and what impacts the latest rains could have on rationing levels as soon as that information is available.

SCE provides electric, water and gas service to about 4,000 year-round residents on the island and its 700,000 visitors each year.

Leave a Comment

We welcome your feedback and comments. We ask that you please keep them constructive, civil and respectful. If you wouldn’t say it in front of your mother, then there is a good chance it falls outside of our guidelines. Please read our comment policy here.

Related Stories

Educating Catalina Visitors on Ongoing Water Conservation Efforts

Educating Catalina Visitors on Ongoing Water Conservation Efforts

Island Residents and Business Owners Engage in Ongoing Water Conservation

Island Residents and Business Owners Engage in Ongoing Water Conservation

More Stringent Water Conservation for Catalina Island

More Stringent Water Conservation for Catalina Island

Top Stories

What to Include in Your Outage Preparedness Kit

What to Include in Your Outage Preparedness Kit

INFOGRAPHIC: Energy-Saving Tips for Different Types of Businesses

INFOGRAPHIC: Energy-Saving Tips for Different Types of Businesses

SCE Volunteers Cook Up Electric Bucket Truck Made of Food Cans

SCE Volunteers Cook Up Electric Bucket Truck Made of Food Cans

Edison Energy Group and its subsidiaries are not the same company as Southern California Edison, the utility, and they are not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.

© 2017 Edison International

© 2017 Edison International

Download and Use Policy

This Site is owned by Edison International. Unless otherwise indicated, all of the content featured or displayed on this Site, including but not limited to, text, graphics, data, photographic images, moving images, sound, illustrations, computer code, trade marks and logos and the selection and arrangement thereof (referred to in this section as the "Content") is owned by Edison International, its licensors or its third-party image partners and all rights in relation to the Content are reserved. All Content is protected by copyright, trade dress, moral rights, trade mark rights and other laws relating to the protection of intellectual property. You may use the Content for your personal, or news-related, non-commercial use, but you may not otherwise reproduce, modify or in any way commercially exploit the Content.

Accept Decline