The Southern California water supplier also detailed which areas will be impacted the most.
The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Tuesday declared a water shortage emergency and is requiring certain cities and water agencies it supplies to implement the cutback on June 1 and enforce it or face hefty fines.
The Metropolitan Water District restrictions apply to areas of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties that rely mostly on state water supplied through the district, including some parts of the city of Los Angeles. The affected areas are primarily urban.
According to the MWD, the watering restriction will affect at least some customers served by the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Calleguas Municipal Water District and Three Valleys Municipal Water District.
Not all customers of all of those agencies will be impacted. A map provided by the MWD indicates the watering restrictions in L.A. County will affect parts of the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys, and western reaches of the county including Woodland Hills, Canoga Park and Calabasas, some coastal areas of West L.A. and parts of Hollywood. Other areas impacted include Monrovia, Duarte, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Upland, Montclair, Ontario, Chino and Chino Hills and many more. A list of areas affected can be viewed here.
The goal of the limitation on using water for grassy yards, plants and things such as cleaning cars is to save water now for indoor use later in the summer when water use increases, Adel Hagekhalil, the general manager of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said Wednesday.
The agency relies on water from the Colorado River and the State Water Project to supply 40% of the state population. But the State Water Project expects to provide 5% of its usual allocation.
Eyewitness News interviewed MWD assistant general manager Deven Upadhyay, who said placing limits to watering lawns once a week is the first step.
“It’s important that we’re doing this right before the summer period because that’s when outdoor water use really goes up,” he said.
The MWD is leaving it up to the local water agencies to enforce the mandate, and some local water agencies have plans in place to police the water restriction mandate.
RELATED: 6 million SoCal residents asked to limit outdoor watering to 1 day a week under new restrictions
Mike McNutt with the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District says they plan to hire companies to patrol the watering.
He says those who repeatedly violate the mandate will face stiff fines. He adds the first offense comes with a warning and then it goes all the way up to the fifth offense, which is $10 extra per unit of water used.
“For those who don’t know a unit of water is 748 gallons of water,” McNutt said.
That could open someone up to being penalized thousands of dollars.
McNutt adds those who ignore the warnings and fines could see their water rationed.
“We just updated our administrative code. It gives us the opportunity and the know-how to go ahead and implement something called a ‘flow restriction device’ and this would be something that’s put on people’s meters,” McNutt said. “And what this does is it minimizes the amount of water going and flowing into the home.”
He says repeat violators would notice a shower trickling out verses a normal showers and faucets would run a lot slower.
“Most importantly it just completely does not allow for outdoor irrigation,” McNutt said. “Your irrigation system will not work.”
He adds it’s to get people’s attention — that it’s a serious issue and something people have to change their behavior on.
The Metropolitan Water District said that the 2020 and 2021 water years had the least rainfall on record for two consecutive years. In addition, Lake Oroville, the State Water Project’s main reservoir, reached its lowest point last year since it was filled in the 1970s.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked people statewide to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 15%, but so far residents have been slow to meet that goal.
City News Service and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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