Southern California drought emergency declares Metropolitan Water District

The San Gabriel aquifer reserve is practically dry.

Photo: Mario Tama / Getty Images

Southern California’s largest urban water district declared a drought emergency on Tuesday and asked local water providers to immediately cut off the use of the State Water Project.

The resolution passed by the board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California called on people across the region to step up conservation efforts, but also has a special focus on six water agencies that are heavily or wholly dependent on the project. .

The State Water Project brings water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to agricultural lands and cities in the south.

Built in the 1960s and early 1970s, the project includes canals, pipes, reservoirs, and pumping facilities.

The areas that depend on the State Water Project are supplied by six agencies: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Calleguas Municipal Water District, Las Vírgenes Municipal Water District, Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, Tres Valles Municipal Water District and Inland Empire Utilities Agency.

Those water agencies, which supply the cities of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties, have been instructed to activate additional conservation measures and reduce water use.

“We are focusing on getting the message across our service area that people need to increase their focus on conservation,” Assistant General Manager Deven Upadhyay told the Los Angeles Times.

He said the drought emergency declaration is intended to support Governor Gavin Newsom’s call for Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 15%, but is also intended to focus on necessary actions by agencies. that depend on the State Project.

California’s last two hydrologic years, ending September 30, were the driest in more than a century of precipitation-based records.

Although the October storms brought heavy rains to Northern California and helped raise reservoir levels, supplies from the State Water Project remain depleted.

This year, with the state’s major reservoirs at some of their lowest levels, water agencies received only 5% of their total allocations from the State Water Project.

Next month, state water officials are expected to announce an initial allocation of zero percent for 2022.