More than six millions people in Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernandino counties will be affected after Southern California officials declared a water shortage emergency Tuesday. Unprecedented restrictions on outdoor watering were adopted, limiting it to just a day per week. The restrictions will take effect in June. “Due to the depth and duration of the current drought, Metropolitan cannot meet normal demands in the SWP dependent area with existing resources,” officials said in a document outlining the action, which targets “non-essential uses” that tax the declining water supply,” a statement said. „We’ve never done anything like this before,” was added. The Metropolitan Water District uses water from the Colorado River and the State Water Project. Member water agencies that fail to enforce the requirement among its customers will face fines of up to $2,000 per acre-foot of water supplied that exceeds monthly allocation limits.
Officials are expected to provide more details on the policy. However, cities and water suppliers can opt out of the one-day rule, but must find appropriate solutions to curb water consumption and meet monthly reduced goals. The water district also included some exceptions to their limits on outdoor watering, including what’s needed to ensure trees and other perennials don’t perish. California is bracing for its third devastatingly dry year. January, February and March of this year were the driest three months in recorded state history in terms of rainfall and snowfall. The state’s snowpack , now at just 35% of normal for this time of year, is quickly disappearing.