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MWD Lifts Emergency Water Restrictions After Series of Storms

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California announced on Wednesday, March 15th, that it is rescinding the emergency outdoor watering restrictions that it had imposed last year on nearly 7 million people.[0] This decision comes after a series of storms that have helped to alleviate the severe drought conditions that had been plaguing the state.[1]

The restrictions, which impacted six local water agencies in Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties that are heavily dependent on supplies from the State Water Project, had called for residents to restrict outdoor watering to one day per week, beginning June 1, 2022.

Adán Ortega Jr., Chair of the MWD board, stated in a statement that they are aware of the sacrifice that the dozens of communities have had to endure under the mandatory restrictions over the last nine months.[2] We at Metropolitan are profoundly grateful to everyone who assisted us in making the most of our limited water resources during the urgent situation. We asked for a cut of 35 percent, and you managed to exceed that. Thank you for your incredible work.[2]

The State Water Board has approved a request by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to take more than 600,000 acre-feet from the San Joaquin River and divert large amounts of that water to areas where it can spread out, soak into the ground and percolate down to the aquifer beneath the San Joaquin Valley.[3]

Governor Gavin Newsom followed this action by signing an executive order on Friday temporarily lifting certain restrictions and regulations to make it easier to capture floodwaters for groundwater recharge without harming water quality or natural habitats.[4]

Those living in the service area of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power must abide by the water conservation rules implemented last year. These rules require individuals to water their lawns only twice per week. Homeowners with odd-numbered addresses may water their lawns on Mondays and Fridays, while those with even-numbered addresses may water their lawns on Thursdays and Sundays.

MWD officials noted that while it is lifting the restriction, California's water supply remains limited, so residents should continue to conserve wherever possible.[5] The wholesaler remarked that member agencies have the prerogative to keep in place water restrictions as they see fit.[6]

“Southern California remains in a water supply deficit,” Tracy Quinn, a water district board member and the chair of the district’s One Water and Stewardship Committee, said in the statement.[7]

0. “Water restrictions lifted in Southern California amid rainy winter” The Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2023/03/15/california-water-restrictions-drought

1. “SoCal water supplier cancels limits on outdoor watering” Hey SoCal. Change is our intention., 16 Mar. 2023, https://heysocal.com/2023/03/15/socal-water-supplier-cancels-limits-on-outdoor-watering

2. “So Cal Water District Lifts Restrictions For 7 Million People Following Months Of Rainfall” California Globe, 16 Mar. 2023, https://californiaglobe.com/articles/so-cal-water-district-lifts-restrictions-for-7-million-people-following-months-of-rainfall/

3. “How California Is Using Recent Floods To Recharge Groundwater” msnNOW, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/how-california-is-using-recent-floods-to-recharge-groundwater/ar-AA18Imfy

4. “Governor Newsom issues executive order to use floodwater for groundwater storage” KSBY News, 11 Mar. 2023, https://www.ksby.com/news/california-news/governor-newsom-issues-executive-order-to-use-floodwater-for-groundwater-storage

5. “Metropolitan Water District lifts watering restrictions for millions due to lessened drought conditions” CBS Los Angeles, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/losangeles/news/metropolitan-water-district-lifts-watering-restrictions-for-millions-due-to-lessened-drought-conditions

6. “SoCal water supplier rescinds rule limiting outdoor irrigation” KTVU FOX 2 San Francisco, 15 Mar. 2023, https://www.ktvu.com/news/socal-water-supplier-rescinds-rule-limiting-outdoor-irrigation

7. “Metropolitan Board Rescinds Emergency Conservation Mandate Imposed on Dozens of Communities” Benzinga, 15 Mar. 2023, https://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/23/03/b31367890/metropolitan-board-rescinds-emergency-conservation-mandate-imposed-on-dozens-of-communities

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