6 million Californians Face Water Shutoffs in Conservation Effort

Written by Brock Johnson

As Southern California gets hit harder and harder by droughts, extreme water limits have been implemented in multiple major regions. 6 million Southern California residents who live in regions that are supplied water from Northern California reservoirs have been ordered to reduce their water usage or receive a $2,000 fine per acre-foot of water that exceeds the monthly allocation limit. 

Metropolitan Water District General Manager, Adel Hagekhalil, said “At this time, a third of our region, 6 million Southern Californians in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino counties, face a very real and immediate water stress challenge … Today these areas rely on extremely limited supplies from Northern California. And there is not enough supply available to meet the normal demands in these areas.” 

Even though Californians have heard about droughts for decades, the average per-person use of water has steadily increased over the past few years. Experts say that conservation efforts in the past have not worked as well as expected because the restrictions have been mostly voluntary.  The suggested outdoor watering use of one day a week would be a significant change for the arid, densely populated regions of Southern California. 

Councilmember Peter Kraut, from the San Fernando Valley city of Calabasas, told the Metropolitan board “I’m appalled that a change this drastic is happening in such a short period of time … This plan will result not just in brown grass but in killing countless trees. The damage to our environment will take decades to repair.”

The water suppliers affected by the new restrictions are the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District and Three Valleys Municipal Water District, the Calleguas Municipal Water District in Ventura County, and the Inland Empire Utilities Agency in San Bernardino County.

Regions of Southern California that are supplied water from the Colorado River including Orange County and San Diego are not affected by the new restrictions.

Photo Cred: CA State Water Project