The water supplier for 19 million Southern Californians declared a “water supply alert” Tuesday, a designation that triggers more rebates for water conservation and underscores the urgency of the state’s thirst.
The move by the board of the Metropolitan Water District isn’t a surprise. At the end of January, water managers said they’d be seeking to double the funds available for conservation rebates, from $20 million to $40 million.
“We are taking an aggressive approach to lowering water use because Southern California must lead by example and take a statewide approach to this challenge,” said Jeffrey Kightlinger, the MWD’s general manager, in a written release. “California is one state. We all have an obligation to do our part and conserve water.”
Some Southern California cities, like Pasadena and Los Angeles, have restrictions in place for outdoor watering. The alert encourages Southern California communities that have not yet made local limits to do so now.
Last month, California water managers said they’d be able to fulfill 0 percent of the state’s obligation to deliver water to contractors through the State Water Project. Metropolitan Water District is one of those contractors.
If the snowpack stays small, the Department of Water Resources could follow through on its threat to turn off the taps for the first time in 54 years.