SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – Mandatory water cutbacks are being put in place across Southern California as the state attempts to ration water due to the driest conditions it has endured in recorded history.
As of Wednesday, 6 million people in parts of the state's biggest counties, Ventura, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles, will have to limit the number of times they water outdoor plants to once a week.
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The move comes as Southern California suffers a record drought that one study called the worst drought the region has seen in 1,200 years. On top of that, the state is facing the driest start to the year ever.
A water shortage emergency was declared by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in April. Shortly after, it voted to restrict outdoor watering to lower usage.
Adel Hagekhalil, the district general manager, shared in a statement that this move is unprecedented as it tries to fight the shortage.
"Metropolitan has never before employed this type of restriction on outdoor water use. But we are facing unprecedented reductions in our Northern California supplies, and we have to respond with unprecedented measures," Hagekhalil said. "We're adapting to climate change in real-time."
Now with the restriction in place, residents in parts of Los Angeles will be limited to two 8-minute watering periods a week, according to the LA Times.
"Using our precious water resources to irrigate thirsty grass that serves no function is wasteful, particularly during this severe drought," Hagekhalil said in the statement. "Our priority must be to preserve and stretch our limited supplies to ensure we have enough water to meet human health and safety needs."
Beyond curbing outdoor water usage, Governor Gavin Newsom asked Californians to do their best to reduce their water consumption.
"Every water agency across the state needs to take more aggressive actions," Newsom said.