Officials declare water supply alert in Southern California

A major Southern California water agency has declared a water supply alert for the first time in seven years, and is asking residents and businesses to voluntarily conserve their water use.

The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California took the step Tuesday, hoping to lessen the need for more severe actions such as reducing water supplies to member agencies.

The action calls for local municipalities to consider prohibiting home car washing or filling of ornamental water features such as fountains, and requiring that restaurants only serve water upon request.

‘Southern Californians have done an extraordinary job reducing their water use, which has helped us build up our stored reserves for times like these,’ Metropolitan board chair Gloria Gray said . 

‘But now we’re relying on our storage to get us through this exceptionally dry year. And we don’t know what next year will bring.’

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A major Southern California water agency has declared a water supply alert for the first time in seven years. Pictured: Signs alert visitors to the severe drought in Mendocino

A major Southern California water agency has declared a water supply alert for the first time in seven years. Pictured: Signs alert visitors to the severe drought in Mendocino

On Monday, officials the first-ever water shortage on the Colorado River, a key water source for Southern California.

‘This is a wake-up call for what lies ahead,’ said Deven Upadhyay, chief operating officer for the district that supplies water to 19 million Californians.

‘We cannot overstate the seriousness of this drought,’ he said. ‘Conditions are getting worse, and more importantly, we don’t know how long it will last.’

In July, 챕터원 California Gov. Gavin Newsom asked Californians to scale back water use as 50 of California’s 58 counties, mostly in Central and Northern California, are already under a state of drought emergency.

Fifty of California's 58 counties, mostly in the northern and central part of the state,  are already under a state of drought emergency

Fifty of California’s 58 counties, mostly in the northern and central part of the state,  are already under a state of drought emergency

Concern about water supplies spread to the state’s heavily-populated southern region following a winter of low precipitation and shrinking reservoirs throughout the West.

Newsom on Tuesday said he may put mandatory water restrictions in place in the coming months, the reported.

‘At the moment, we’re doing voluntary,’ he said. ‘But if we enter into another year of drought – and as you know our water season starts October 1 – we will likely have more to say by the end of September, 챕터원 as we enter potentially the third year of this current drought.’ 

On Monday the first-ever water shortage was declared for the Colorado River

On Monday the first-ever water shortage was declared for the Colorado River

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California receives about half its water from the Colorado River and State Water Project.

Water levels in Lake Mead, the largest reservoir on the Colorado River, were at about 35 percent of capacity on Tuesday.

The State Water Project, which collects water from rivers and tributaries, has already reduced the Southern California district’s allocation to 5 percent and next year the amount could be zero, officials said.

The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California took the step  hoping to lessen the need for more severe actions, such as reducing water supplies to member agencies

The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California took the step  hoping to lessen the need for more severe actions, such as reducing water supplies to member agencies

Scientists say climate change has made the American West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and weather will continue to become more extreme.

Glen MacDonald, a geologist at UCLA said even if precipitation returned, it wouldn’t be enough to keep pace with the loss of water through evaporation due to rising temperatures.

That has the potential to not only turn California lawns brown but could also affect the nation’s food supply, which relies heavily on the state’s farmlands, MacDonald said.

‘We are living in the perfect drought, right now,’ he said. ‘It’s unfortunate, but we kind of have seen this coming.’

No counties in Southern California are under the state’s emergency order yet, but Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhali said local residents should heed the governor’s water-saving call regardless.

‘This is a time when we all need to come together as a state to address this crisis,’ Hagekhali said.

‘We are working with the governor’s office and water agencies throughout California to maximize available supplies. We encourage Southern California to step up again, just as we have in the past, to do our part to reduce our region’s water use.’   

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