Severe SoCal water restrictions ordered, water shortage declared

LOS ANGELES, CA — Southern California water officials declared a water shortage emergency on Tuesday amid worsening drought in the state.

Outdoor watering will immediately be limited to one day per week in areas of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California said in a statement. It’s an unprecedented move for the region’s largest water supplier, and it signals a shift to more aggressive conservation measures in Southern California.

Residents were also urged to make changes to save water, such as removing lawns and replacing them with native plants that require less irrigation.

The restrictions will impact many of the district’s 18 million customers in the region.

“We need to make these finished supplies last all year round,” Metropolis chief executive Adel Hagekhalil said in a statement on Tuesday. “If we don’t reduce now, we may be limited to providing just enough water to meet human health and safety needs in these communities”

“It would effectively eliminate all outdoor water usage,” Hagekhalil said. “Let’s all heed the urgent call for conservation and proactively reduce unnecessary water use.”

MWD spokeswoman Rebecca Kimitch told Patch the district provides water to 18 million customers in Southern California, and more communities could see mandatory water restrictions if they don’t. voluntarily reduce their water consumption this summer.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has encouraged Golden State residents to voluntarily reduce their water use by 30%, Kimitch said. If residents fail to conserve while the drought continues, more MWD customers could face mandatory restrictions by September, she said.

“If you’re not using your lawn, if it’s just there to look pretty, please consider the beauty of native and California Friendly® plants instead. Not only do they look beautiful and save water, but they also create important ecosystems for birds and butterflies,” said Metropolitan Board Chair Gloria D. Gray.

The MWD first declared a drought emergency in November and ordered agencies to implement water conservation measures. The district serves 26 water agencies, cities, municipal water districts and a county water authority. The water is delivered to residents of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties.

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