Gov. Gavin Newsom visited a Carson water-recycling plant Tuesday, urging Californians to find ways of cutting their water use to combat a historic drought and saying the state is facing conditions it hasn’t seen in more than 1,200 years.
Since 800 A.D. we have never experienced on the West Coast of the United States consecutive dry years, like we have experienced, Newsom said at the facility that was built as a demonstration project to recycle household wastewater and use it to replenish groundwater supplies.
“We’re experiencing things we’ve never experienced,” he said. “The conditions here in the state of California, not unique to the state of California. You’re seeing these replicated all across the West, highlighted by the fact this demonstration project you see behind us is being supported by other states … recognizing that we are all in this together.”
He pointed to basic steps residents can take to cut water use, such as identifying leaks and only running full loads in washing machines and dishwashers.
“We have to do things differently,” Newsom said. “We have to do things better.”
Newsom’s visit came roughly two weeks before strict restrictions on outdoor watering take effect in much of Southern California, limiting such irrigation in many areas to once a week.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the region’s water wholesaler, will impose outdoor-watering restrictions June 1 for local agencies that rely on supplies from the State Water Project. Due to the drought, the state has slashed deliveries of SWP supplies to just 5% of requested allocations.
According to the MWD, the State Water Project normally provides roughly 30% of the water used in Southern California.
The watering restriction will affect at least some customers served by the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Calleguas Municipal Water District and Three Valleys Municipal Water District, according to the MWD.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is also impacted by the order, but Mayor Eric Garcetti announced recently that the DWP will only reduce the outdoor-watering restrictions to two days a week, down from the current three. The restriction will also take effect June 1.
According to Garcetti, watering will be permitted at odd-numbered street addresses on Mondays and Fridays, and at even-numbered addresses on Thursdays and Sundays.
Watering with sprinklers will be limited to eight minutes per station. Sprinklers with water-conserving nozzles will be limited to 15 minutes per station. All watering will have to be done in the evening or early morning, with no watering permitted outdoors between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The city also urged residents with pools to use pool covers to reduce the risk of evaporation, and called on people to wash their vehicles only at commercial car wash facilities.
The restrictions will be enforced by the Conservation Response Unit, which will focus on areas that are using the most water, according to DWP General Manager and Chief Engineer Marty Adams. He said the department will re-assign employees to ensure coverage in all areas of the city, and might bring on additional personnel during the summer.