California imposes water limits as its worst drought on record persists: NPR


A small stream cuts through the dried and cracked earth of a former wetland near Tulelake, California on June 9, 2021. The giant Southern California water supplier has taken the unprecedented step of forcing some 6 million people to reduce their outdoor watering to one day a week as drought conditions continue to plague the state.

Nathan Howard/AP


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Nathan Howard/AP

California imposes water limits as its worst drought on record persists: NPR

A small stream cuts through the dried and cracked earth of a former wetland near Tulelake, California on June 9, 2021. The giant Southern California water supplier has taken the unprecedented step of forcing some 6 million people to reduce their outdoor watering to one day a week as drought conditions continue to plague the state.

Nathan Howard/AP

Water restrictions began Wednesday for 6 million Southern California residents as the state enters its third year of severe drought and what water officials say will be the driest year ever. never recorded.

Residents and businesses should limit their outdoor watering to one or two days a week or to a set volume of water, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California announced.

“People need to take these restrictions seriously,” MWD chief executive Adel Hagekhalil said. “So we must do everything possible to reduce our consumption and stretch this limited supply. If residents and businesses do not react immediately, we will have to take even stronger measures.”

MWD is a water wholesaler that supplies water to member agencies, such as the cities of Beverly Hills, Compton and Los Angeles.

Member agencies affected by Wednesday’s decision include the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Municipal Water District of Calleguas, the municipal district of the waters of Las Virgenes, the municipal district of the three valleys.

Member organizations had the option of choosing between an outdoor watering limit of one day per week or according to the volume of water used.

Calleguas, Las Virgenes and Three Valleys will limit outdoor watering to one day per week, while Inland will choose a volume limit.

The Upper San Gabriel and Los Angeles Water Utilities will limit outdoor watering to two days per week, as this will remain under their volume limits.

Exceptions to the outdoor watering rules include hand watering trees and other perennials.

Member agencies that violate these restrictions will be fined $2,000 per acre-foot of water used in excess of the limit.

The restrictions, part of the emergency water conservation program, are meant to “reduce non-essential water use and preserve available supply for the greatest public benefit”, MWD said.

The program will end on June 30, 2023.

About 27 million Californians get their water from the State Water Project, “a multipurpose water storage and distribution system that stretches more than 705 miles — two-thirds the length of California,” according to the California Department. of Water Resources.

MWD has worked to ensure that its member agencies obtain their water from the SWP system to the Colorado River or groundwater. However, departments affected by Wednesday’s rules must still rely on SWP as a resource to meet demand.

However, many of the state’s largest water resources have been depleted by the persistent drought.

The watersheds have been receiving below average precipitation since October 2019, and “despite significant precipitation in October and December 2021, precipitation in Northern California from January through March 2022 fell to the driest levels on record”, wrote MWD in April.


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