MWD Rescinds Water Restrictions, Thanks Region for Sacrifices, California Takes Steps to Bolster Water Supply
On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board of Directors voted to rescind restrictions impacting six local water agencies in Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties. The restrictions, which were set to begin on June 1, 2022, would have impacted approximately 6 million people.
The MWD called on residents and businesses across the region to use water as efficiently as possible to refill storage and prepare for potential steep cuts to supplies from the Colorado River.
In a statement, MWD board chair Adán Ortega Jr. acknowledged the sacrifice made by the many communities that had to abide by mandatory restrictions over the last nine months. Metropolitan would like to express our sincerest gratitude to all those who went above and beyond to help us survive the water crisis. We asked for a 35 percent reduction in consumption and you have achieved it. We are truly thankful for your efforts.
The state has taken several steps to bolster its water supply, including authorizing nearly 790,000 acre-feet in diversions for groundwater recharge and other purposes since late December 2022. To facilitate the capture of floodwater for the purpose of recharging groundwater basins, the State Water Board has made the process of obtaining temporary groundwater storage permits simpler. The Department of Water Resources has granted $68 million to 42 groundwater recharge projects, allowing for a potential recharge capacity of 117,000 acre-feet. Additionally, there are still 52 groundwater recharge projects that are awaiting review, with a combined value of $211 million.
This winter, California has experienced 11 different “atmospheric rivers,” which refers to streams of moisture that can carry highly humid air over thousands of miles in a manner similar to a fire hose. These storms have shattered daily rainfall records in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, and caused flooding and mudslides in the state.
In response to these storms, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Friday temporarily lifting certain restrictions and regulations to make it easier to capture floodwaters for groundwater recharge without harming water quality or natural habitats.
The State Water Board also recently approved a federal petition to take up to more than 600,000 acre-feet of floodwaters from the San Joaquin River and divert large amounts of that water to places where it can soak into the ground and replenish an aquifer under the San Joaquin Valley.
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