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Southern California Water Shortage Emergency Declared, State Levies Restrictions

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California restricts outdoor watering.

Southern California water officials declared a water shortage emergency for the first time ever recently. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California implemented a new program which restricts outdoor watering to one day per week. The new order is called the “Emergency Water Conservation Program.” It affects certain parts of San Bernardino, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties. It will go into effect on June 1.

The Metropolitan Water District estimates the restriction will impact around 6 million people. The agency uses water from the Colorado River and the State Water Project to supply more than 20 public water departments. These agencies then offer water to 40% of California’s population. That is equal to roughly 19 million people. 

California is currently mired in one of the driest springs ever. Governor Gavin Newsom instructed MWD and other water suppliers in the state to increase conservation efforts by advancing restriction plans. Officials say any MWD water agencies that do not enforce this new restriction after June 1 will face fines up to $2,000 per acre-foot of water.

Meanwhile, California holds 13% of the country’s agricultural population which requires a significant portion of water usage. California is the 5th largest global supplier of food, cotton fiber and other agricultural commodities. Could the new water restrictions affect this production? Only time will tell.

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