Roughly six million residents in Southern California will face strict water restrictions, set to begin Wednesday, as officials work to preserve the resource amid three straight years of severe drought.
According to CNBC, the conservation rule set by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is one of the strictest ever imposed in the state.
From now on, households will be forbidden from watering their lawns more than once a week, depending on the jurisdiction, and a goal will be set to slash water use by 35%.
In March, California officials announced they were cutting State Water Project allocations from 15% to 5% amid declining reservoir and reduced snowpack levels. Last year, California experienced its driest January, February, and March.
In April, the MWD general manager Adel Hagekhalil said that "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. This is a wake-up call."
CNBC details that the conditions of the drought are likely to persist for years long after 2022.
Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom requested residents to curb household water consumption by 15%.
However, the measures failed. According to State Water Resources Control Board data, the state's average urban water use rose nearly 19% in March compared to the same month in 2020.
Officials warned that if water use doesn't decline significantly, the state could impose a full outdoor watering ban as soon as September. Last week during a meeting with leaders from the state's largest urban water suppliers, Newsom warned California could be forced to impose mandatory cutbacks.
"Californians," Newsom said in a statement, "made significant changes since the last drought, but we have seen an uptick in water use, especially as we enter the summer months. We all have to be more thoughtful about how to make every drop count."
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