The giant Southern California water supplier has taken the unprecedented step of forcing about 6 million people to reduce their outdoor watering to one day a week as drought continues to plague the state.
The board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California declared a water shortage emergency on Tuesday. It requires the 26 water agencies it supplies to implement the cut on June 1 and enforce it or face hefty fines.
The MWD depends on water from the Colorado River and the State Water Project to supply 40% of the state’s population. But the State Water Project plans to provide only 5% of its usual allocation.
Recently, the Water District announced a 5% rate hike. With water shortages, the amount of revenue collected by the Metropolitan Water District is reduced.
“We are in the midst of unprecedented times – we face a worsening drought emergency as we emerge from a global pandemic and face domestic supply shortages and high inflation,” said chief executive Adel Hagekhalil. “We need to take bold steps today to invest in the future of our region so that we are more resilient to climate change and drought. But we also need to limit overall rate increases for our member agencies, who are grappling with their own investment needs and affordability issues.
The district serves 19 million customers.