Water shortage emergency declared in Southern California


(NewsNation) — Millions of people in Southern California are having to cut their outdoor watering to one day a week in the midst of a drought in the area.

Record dry conditions in Southern California have strained the system and lowered reservoir levels.

So, NewsNation local affiliate KTLA reports, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is restricting outdoor watering to one day a week starting June 1 in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties.

“We’re requiring these areas to cut back outdoor watering to 1 day a week, but need all #SoCal residents + businesses to save up to 30%,” the water district said in a tweet.

About 6 million residents will be affected by this, KTLA said. Should they ignore the cutback, they’ll face fines. And if the restrictions don’t work, the Metropolitan Water District could order a ban on outdoor watering in September, Metropolitan Water District spokesperson Rebecca Kimitch said.

“We don’t have enough water supplies right now to meet normal demand. The water is not there,” Kimitch said. “This is unprecedented territory. We’ve never done anything like this before.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom asked Californians to reduce their water consumption voluntarily, but residents have been slow to meet the 15% reduction goal he set.

California, according to KTLA, is experiencing one of its driest starts to spring in decades. The first three months of the year have been the driest such period in recorded state history. If there isn’t heavy rain in May, the state’s drought is predicted to deepen.

Much of the Western region of the U.S. is in the middle of a severe drought following record rain and snowfall from a few years ago. Scientists say this boom and bust cycle is a result of climate change.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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