Los Angeles’ mayor is expected to make an announcement on water conservation and restrictions for LA Department of Water and Power customers ahead of the hot and dry Southern California summer months.
Mayor Eric Garcetti is scheduled to speak at 8:45 am in Eagle Rock. The LADWP board president and general manager are also expected to be at the event.
Details about the announcement were not immediately available. This article will be updated after the announcement.
Garcetti’s announcement comes two weeks after the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California declared an unprecedented water shortage emergency. The agency is limiting outdoor watering to one day per week in some Southern California counties — affecting about 6 million residents — after the state’s driest January, February and March on record.
The Metropolitan Water District restrictions are set to begin June 1.
The MWD, which imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supply about 19 million people in six counties, has said that if enough water is not conserved — or if supply conditions worsen — all outdoor watering might be banned as early as Sept.
Some customers in 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 would be affected by the new restrictions . Areas include parts of the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys, Simi Valley, Woodland Hills, Canoga Park, Calabasas, areas of West Los Angeles and Hollywood, and parts of the Inland Empire.
Local water agencies in the district face fines if the monthly water limits are exceeded.
The LADWP is the nation’s largest municipal utility serving an average of 435 million gallons of water per day to 4 million city of LA residents, businesses and visitors. The agency released a statement May 2 in which it said it was figuring out how to comply with the MWD requirements.
“Just like other affected agencies, the City of LA will determine how it will comply,” the LADWP said. “We are currently awaiting important information from MWD in order to make a recommendation to the Mayor as set forth in the City’s Mandatory Water Conservation Ordinance.
“We want to assure our customers that we are working to strengthen our local infrastructure to reduce our reliance on imported water, capture more stormwater and clean-up our aquifers to increase local water supplies. We will also be working with MWD and urging them to make the necessary infrastructure improvements to be able to move water from their regional storage system, which our customers have helped pay for, to be able to reach the areas affected by their emergency action so that the problem we are experiencing this year can be avoided in the future.”
The MWD also is asking all Southern Californians to reduce water use by 30 percent.
A nonprofit created a Water Footprint calculator where you can enter information to estimate your water use per day. You can find it here.
Why are there water restrictions in Southern California?
The winter months that are typically when the nation’s most populous state relies on a parade of storms that bring snow to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California’s natural reservoir, and rain. Ideally, that mountain snowpack builds up over the winter and melts in late spring and summer, replenishing California’s water system and reservoirs.
As of April 22, the statewide snowpack was well below average, one reason why California is in the third consecutive year of its most recent drought.
The most recent US Drought Monitor report issued May 5 indicated more than 40 percent of California is in extreme drought, the weekly report’s second-most severe category. Three months ago, after December storms raised optimism for a wet winter, that figure was just 1 percent.
All of California is in moderate drought with some of the worst conditions in a large swath from the north-central part of the state down into the Central Valley.
The megadrought in the US West has produced the driest two decades in the region in at least 1,200 years, with conditions likely to continue through 2022 and persist for years. Researchers have estimated that 42% of the drought’s severity is attributable to human-caused climate change.