News Feature | May 3, 2022

Millions Of Californians Ordered To Cut Drinking Water Use

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga


Following a series of regulatory changes designed to curb growing water scarcity, millions of consumers in California are now facing some of the strictest drinking water limits ever.

“Southern California’s gigantic water supplier has taken the unprecedented step of requiring about 6 million people to cut their outdoor watering to one day a week as extended drought plagues the state following another dry winter,” the Associated Press reported. “The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California … declared a water shortage emergency and is requiring certain cities and water agencies it supplies to implement the cutback on June 1 and enforce it or face hefty fines.”

The ongoing drought in the Western U.S. has recently been determined to be the worst in 1,200 years. It has prompted states dependent on source water bodies there to make historic changes to water-sharing agreements and has spurred numerous consumption-cutback initiatives.

But these latest requirements demonstrate that this drought is now reaching the tap for millions.

“If the local agencies fail to meet the reduction goals they will be fined up to $2,000 per acre-foot of water,” per AP. “The Metropolitan Water District will monitor water use and if the restrictions don’t work, it could order a total ban on outdoor watering in the affected areas as soon as September.”

The start to 2022 has proven to be the driest-ever in California’s recorded history and additional restrictions and water-conservation methods are all but inevitable. As consumers in California adjust to this new normal, these latest first-of-their-kind cutback measures serve to illustrate just how critical water scarcity is becoming for the rest of the world as well.

“The outdoor restrictions, I think, underscore the severity of the drought and they highlight the imperative to use water more efficiently,” Pacific Institute Research Director Heather Cooley said, per the Los Angeles Times. “Outdoor water restrictions have been shown to be effective strategies for rapidly reducing water use. I do suspect that more communities will adopt these measures as conditions worsen.”

To read more about how districts adjust to shrinking drinking water supplies, visit Water Online’s Water Scarcity Solutions Center.