Southern Calif. water providers begin emergency drought restrictions

June 22, 2022
Select communities in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties will come under outdoor watering limits and monthly water budgets as drought conditions worsen.

Local water providers serving about one-third of Southern California have begun mandating emergency drought restrictions to stretch the region’s severely limited water supplies until the end of the year.

The water-saving restrictions affect dozens of cities and communities in Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties – home to about 6 million Southern Californians. Restrictions vary by city, but largely consist of limiting outdoor watering to one or two days a week or implementing water budgets for residents.

Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors adopted the Emergency Water Conservation Program in April, requiring member agencies that depend on water from the State Water Project (SWP) to implement one-day-a-week watering restrictions, or live within volumetric limits, starting June 1.

SWP deliveries to Southern California are at a record low — a result of limited snowpack and reservoirs depleted by three years of drought.

“People need to take these restrictions seriously. There is not enough SWP water coming from Northern California this year to meet normal demands. So we must do everything we can to lower our use and stretch this limited supply,” Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil said. “If residents and businesses don’t respond immediately, we’ll have to take even stronger action.”

While the emergency is particularly acute in SWP-dependent communities, all Southern Californians have been called on to conserve by 20-30 percent under an executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Metropolitan has been working in partnership with its member agencies since last year to provide access to Colorado River water to as many Southern California communities as possible. Some communities also have switched to groundwater and other local supplies.

Still, six of Metropolitan’s member agencies rely on water from the State Water Project to meet demands – 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.

Agencies that don’t enforce the one-day-a -week watering restrictions or exceed their volumetric limits face financial penalties from Metropolitan. Metropolitan is closely tracking water use across these affected agencies. If use doesn’t drop enough in the coming months, or if conditions worsen, a complete ban on outdoor watering could be implemented in September.

“Our success depends on us working together to overcome this unprecedented challenge,” Metropolitan board chairwoman Gloria D. Gray said. “I want to thank our member agencies for their partnership to get us all through this historic drought.”

Residents and businesses can find water-saving tips, classes, and rebates at

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