In response to the extreme drought conditions impacting Southern California, the Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors today declared a Water Supply Alert, calling for consumers and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water use and help preserve the region’s storage reserves.
The board’s action urges residents, businesses and agencies in Metropolitan’s 5,200 square-mile service area to lower the region’s water demand to stave off more severe actions in the future, which could include restricting water supplies to Metropolitan’s 26 member agencies. The declaration comes a day after the Bureau of Reclamation declared a first-ever shortage on the Colorado River, which typically provides about 25 percent of Southern California’s water needs.
“Southern Californians have done an extraordinary job reducing their water use, which has helped us build up our stored reserves for times like these. But now we’re relying on our storage to get us through this exceptionally dry year. And we don’t know what next year will bring,” Metropolitan board Chairwoman Gloria D. Gray said. “We must all find ways we can save even more so we have the water we need if this drought continues.”
With 50 of California’s 58 counties under a state emergency drought proclamation, Gov. Gavin Newsom last month called on Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use.
While no Southern California counties are yet under the emergency proclamation, it is critical that residents here heed the governor’s water-saving call, Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil said.
“This is a time when we all need to come together as a state to address this crisis,” Hagekhalil said. “We are working with the governor’s office and water agencies throughout California to maximize available supplies. We encourage Southern California to step up again, just as we have in the past, to do our part to reduce our region’s water use.
More than half of the water used in Southern California is imported from the Northern Sierra and the Colorado River. Both of those sources are facing severe drought conditions; crucial storage reservoirs in both systems have never been lower.