A drought emergency has been declared in Southern California

A drought emergency has been declared in Southern California
A drought emergency has been declared in Southern California

In anticipation of a fourth straight year of drought, officials have declared a drought emergency for all of Southern California, warning millions of residents that if conditions do not improve, water conservation measures may become mandatory.
The Southern California Metropolitan Water District said Wednesday that its council issued a regional drought emergency declaration a day earlier, urging its 26 agencies, which serve about 19 million people, to reduce water use or face severe costs.

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“Since the start of this drought, we have continued to increase our call for conservation,” said Adel Hagekhalil, general manager of MWDSC, in a statement. “Unless we have a very wet winter, we need to reach our highest level — the water supply allocation for all of Southern California.” Significant and immediate conservation now and in the months to come will help mitigate the potential severity of such distributions.”

Southern California does not produce enough water for all of its residents and businesses, and relies on imported supplies from the Colorado River and the State Water Project for nearly 60 percent of its water.

Supply from both sources is constrained by continued flows, exacerbated by climate change. In April, the water district declared its first water emergency.

Earlier this month, Hagehalil warned that supplies from the State Water Project, which are fed by the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, could be reduced to a “trickle”. And on Wednesday, the company said it was preparing to reduce further shipments from the Colorado River.
“The reduction of our two sources of imported water means everyone in Southern California needs to take action to expand the limited water we have,” Hagehalil said.

“Our initial call to increase environmental protection across the region is voluntary, but if we do not see significant rainfall this winter, the Metropolitan may implement a water allocation plan for its entire service area that will require mandatory region-wide restrictions.”

California has battled record droughts for years, while Governor Gavin Newsom has repeatedly announced investments and regulations to reduce supply.

Last July, he urged residents and businesses across the country to reduce their water use by 15% from 2020 levels.

“Some Southern Californians may have felt a little sheltered from these extreme conditions in recent years,” said CEO Gloria Gray. “You don’t have to do it anymore. We are all affected.”

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