(KERO) — Southern California faces its driest conditions in 1,200 years, according to scientists, and for 6 million people across Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties watering outdoor plants has now been limited to once a week.
The goal is to cut water use back 35% as the state heads into its third straight year of drought.
Water authorities say restrictions are necessary and could be a prelude to more cuts.
“This is a crisis. This is unprecedented. We’ve never done anything like this before,” said Adel Hagekhalil, general manager for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
Just last week Gov. Gavin Newsom warned the state could be forced to enact mandatory water restrictions if residents didn’t reduce usage on their own.
Outdoor water use may be banned entirely if conditions don’t improve by September.
Officials continue to ask residents to do their part.
Here are some ways to do so:
- Use recycled water for outside projects.
- Take shorter showers.
- Only run washing machines and dishwashers when they’re completely full.
- Switch to drought-tolerant landscaping.
Water flow restrictors
One Southern California water district is using a new tool to crack down on people using too much water.
The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District started installing water flow restrictors on Wednesday.
They target customers who continue to use more water than recommended.
According to the water district, this tool should get the message to customers that using too much water in a severe drought will not be tolerated.
"We’re getting people to pay attention and they’re saying we need to be part of the solution. That's what this is about. It's not punitive this is to get people's attention and say the drought is serious and that we need to be part of the solution," said Mike McNutt from the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District.
According to the water district., on average 70% of residential water usage is for outdoor lawns and plants.
Once this device is installed, it's on there for at least two weeks while the customer works on conserving water.
Las Virgenes is the only water district, as of today, that's using this method.