California Limits Outdoor Water Usage to 6 Million Residents Due to Drought

by Adel

California Drought Leads to More Water Cuts

California’s water crisis continues to worsen. The MWD (Metropolitan Water District) of Southern California has announced that it will be limiting outdoor water usage to once per week for almost 6 million residents due to ongoing drought. 

This announcement was made Tuesday after more data shows that the previous 3 years were some of the driest California has ever experienced. The MWD made a series of tweets along with a statement indicating the water cuts. The main statements can be found on the MWD of SoCal twitter page. While the full media briefing can be found on the Youtube page.

“Metropolitan’s board declared a Water Shortage Emergency and for the first time ever, implemented an Emergency Water Conservation Program – requiring member agencies in State Water Project-dependent areas, home to 6M #SoCal residents, to restrict outdoor watering to 1 day a week.”

The Areas Affected by the Cuts

The counties affected are Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernadino. These areas all largely rely on the State Water Project, which itself has had huge cuts announced recently.

california drought
Areas affected by the cuts

The actual plan will go into effect on June 1st, so water agencies have time to figure out how to implement this new restriction. 

In its report, the MWD stated the following “Metropolitan will not specify the day of the week or any method of even/odd house numbering rotation to moderate distribution system impacts. Metropolitan will, however, require that Member Agencies limit watering times to prevent substitution of water use from newly banned days to permitted days,”

This change will see different localities implement this system in their own ways, and could lead to different levels of success. The water agencies will be held accountable if they do not meet their water usage goals however. 

Agencies that fail to enforce the restrictions can face “up to $2,000 per acre-foot of water supplied by MWD that exceeds monthly allocation limits.” In the same set of statements, the MWD stated that all residents and businesses need to “save up to 30%” of their water usage. 

There will be exceptions to the rule however. The main exception, according to the MWD is hand watering of trees that need the additional water to survive during this drought.  

The State’s Ongoing Water Problem

California is working to ramp up conservation efforts through the State Water Project, which means residents of California will feel the brunt of it in the short term. 

The State Water Project is a project started in the 1970’s to move water from water rich areas in northern California to areas more in need in the South. 

California and a few other Western states are currently experiencing the worst mega-drought in at least 1,200 years, and it is likely not going to stop anytime soon. While, there was above average rainfall at the end of last year, this year has been the driest start to a year on record. 

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