Southern California water restrictions lifted for millions of people
Los Angeles, California - Mandatory water restrictions are being lifted for nearly 7 million people across Southern California following winter storms that have boosted reservoirs and eased a severe shortage that emerged during the state's driest three-year period on record.
The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California decided to end the emergency conservation mandate for agencies in portions of Los Angeles, Ventura, and San Bernardino counties that depend on supplies from the State Water Project.
Officials said the change reflects improvements in the available supplies, but they urged residents and businesses to continue conserving to help address what is still a water deficit, and to prepare for expected cuts in supplies from the Colorado River's depleted reservoirs.
"This year's very wet weather has improved our water supply conditions enough that we no longer need to mandate the most serious of the restrictions that we had on nearly 7 million people," said Brad Coffey, Metropolitan's water resource manager
"But because we have to refill our storage that's been drawn down by this drought, and because of the longstanding drought on the Colorado River, we're still asking consumers to conserve. Conserving lets us refill storage and be prepared for another dry year."
No need for water supply allocation in Southern California this summer
The decision by the MWD board on Tuesday ends emergency drought measures that were imposed in June 2022, which required six of the district's member agencies to restrict outdoor watering to one day a week or reduce overall use to stay within certain limits.
The measures were intended to deal with the critical shortage last year on the State Water Project, the system of aqueducts and reservoirs that deliver water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to Southern California.
The MWD delivers water that its member agencies supply to 19 million people across six counties.
There won't be any need to implement the water supply allocation starting this summer, Coffey said, while urging "consumers to continue to use water efficiently."
On average, about one-fourth of Southern California's water supply comes from the Colorado River, where reservoir levels have dropped to record lows because of chronic overuse and 23 years of drought worsened by rising temperatures.
Cover photo: MARIO TAMA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP