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California's Newest Water Restrictions: What to Know

California officials instituted new water conservation rules this week, forbidding millions of households from watering their lawns more than once a week. These restrictions reflect just how bad the California drought has become.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California declared a water shortage emergency and is requiring certain cities and water agencies it supplies to implement restrictions on June 1 or face large fines. The MWD restrictions, which apply to areas in Los Angeles, Ventura, and San Bernardino counties, will affect mainly urban areas.

“I want to stress how critical this is: The amount of water we have available to us right now is not going to be enough to carry us through the entire year unless we do something different,” Adel Hagekhalil, the general manager for the Metropolitan Water District of SoCal, states at a briefing on Wednesday. “This is a wake-up call.”

Despite heavy rain in December and April, the wet season was unusually rain-free this year. Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for a 15% voluntary reduction in water usage, but we're not seeing much progress to reach this goal.

What are the Restrictions?

Water agencies in SoCal are being mandated to make a 35% cut in water usage. The recommendation to achieve this is by only allowing households to water lawns one day a week. However, agencies have been told they can also find alternate methods to achieve the same savings. Check with your water agency for details on how they are planning to meet the new requirement.

Who Will This Affect? 

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will be limiting water usage for six million Californians across 80 different cities in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties. These restrictions will go into effect beginning on June 1st. 

You can see if the restriction applies to you by looking at the map provided.

How Will These Restrictions Be Enforced?

Local water agencies will face up to $2,000 in fines from MWD if these restrictions are not enforced. 

Will There Be Any Exceptions?

You can still hand water trees and plant perennials under the new rules to prevent them from dying. You can also run drip or other high-efficiency irrigation systems more than once a week if they use what a less efficient system would in a day.

We'll provide more updates as they become available.