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Southern California cuts outdoor watering to one day a week

May 24, 2022 -  By

Strict water restrictions passed in April by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California order communities dependent on water from the State Water Project to cut water use and implement one-day-a-week watering restrictions, or the equivalent, by June 1. The measure applies to communities in Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties.

These impacted communities depend on water from Northern California as part of the State Water Project (SWP), which has been reduced in the last three years due to the drought. Metropolitan estimates the SWP supplies around 30 percent of the water to Southern California.

“Metropolitan has never before employed this type of restriction on outdoor water use,” Metropolitan general manager Adel Hagekhalil said in a release. “But we are facing unprecedented reductions in our Northern California supplies, and we have to respond with unprecedented measures. We’re adapting to climate change in real time.”

The agency said it put these restrictions in place to mitigate the historic drought in the state. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California estimates this new restriction will impact more than 6 million of the area’s residents.

The affected agencies include Calleguas Municipal Water District, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Three Valleys Municipal Water District and Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District.

Hagekhalil said if enough water isn’t conserved in the coming months, or if supply conditions worsen, all outdoor watering could be banned in these communities as early as September.

“The reality is this drought has left us without the water supply we need to meet normal demands in these areas. To make sure we have enough water for their basic human health and safety needs, everyone in these communities must immediately and dramatically reduce their water use,” Hagekhalil said.

Metropolitan said it will not impose the restriction on consumers but expects the water agencies to enforce the limits. Each agency can determine which day of the week to permit watering and the enforcement of the measures. Agencies could also choose volumetric limits as opposed to specific days. Metropolitan said agencies that don’t enforce the restrictions or exceed volume limits will face financial penalties.

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