Watch CBS News

Southern California's Main Water Supplier Declares Regional Drought Emergency

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power urged its customers to stay vigilant with their water conservation as the state and region continue to face a severe water shortage. 

The move was prompted by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the region's water wholesaler, declaring a regional drought emergency on Tuesday.

 "We're reaching uncharted territory here and we need all Southern Californians to be part of the solution," Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil said. "We need everyone to take action to reduce their water use immediately. This drought emergency declaration helps us all move in the same direction."

From 2016 to 2020, MWD provided a large portion — an average of 41% — to the region, according to LADWP. 

"If everyone cuts back on their water use now, that can add up to meaningful savings," said LADWP senior assistant general manager Anselmo Collins. "The drought that we are currently facing is serious… We are  also closely monitoring supply conditions and may call for additional measures to step up conservation should that become necessary."

In October, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation October and added Los Angeles County to the state's drought emergency along with seven other counties. For two consecutive years, California has dealt with severely dry conditions with 2021 being the second driest year in the state's recorded history.

"We need immediate action to preserve and stretch our limited State Water Project supplies," board Chairwoman Gloria D. Gray said. "Southern California on average gets about one-third of its water from Northern California via the state project. Next year, we'll be lucky to get a small fraction of that."

The California Department of Water Resources said its initial water supply next month will be zero. If drought conditions continue, the state may provide only enough water as deemed necessary to protect the health and safety of Californians — a drastic step that has never been done. The state has indicated it would constrain water deliveries to a level that may prevent any outdoor watering, another first. 

The City of Los Angeles has had water restrictions since 2009 and officials said that additional patrols and enforcement will be deployed. 

According to the Water Conservation Ordinance, residents living on odd-numbered addresses may water their lawns on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. Residents on even-numbered may water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. 

Here is a list of other ongoing, prohibited uses:

  • Sprinklers with non-conserving nozzles can only run for up to 8 minutes per station; conserving nozzles can run for 15 minutes per station.
  • No watering during rain or within 48 hours following rain.
  • No watering with sprinklers between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. regardless of the water day.
  • No water runoff onto streets, driveways, and gutters.
  • No washing of any hard surfaces such as sidewalks, walkways, driveways, or parking areas using water, except for health and safety needs.
  • Hand watering with a self-closing shut-off nozzle on the hose is permitted any day of the week before 9:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m.

All leaks must be repaired in a timely manner.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.