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latest news A Guide to Sweeping Southern California Water Restrictions

Brown lawns. Concerns about the dying tree. Big fines.

Drought and climate change are imposing unprecedented water restrictions in parts of Southern California and millions of residents are wondering what’s happening now.

Here’s a guide to what we know.

The plan

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Water District ordered that outdoor water use be limited to just one day a week for about 6 million people in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties. The restrictions will take effect on June 1 and will apply to areas that rely on water from the drought-ravaged State Water Project.

6 million people affected

The regulations do not cover all of Southern California. According to a map presented Tuesday by MWD, the areas include a large swath of Ventura County as well as the San Fernando Valley, Westside Los Angeles, sections of the San Gabriel Valley and southwestern San Francisco County. Bernardino.

A worsening drought

At the heart of the crisis is a worsening drought that has gripped California and the American Southwest. The extreme drought has left Southern California with a dwindling water supply. “These areas are dependent on extremely limited supplies from Northern California, and there is not enough supply available to meet normal demands in these areas for the remainder of the year,” said Adel Hagekhalil, director general of the MWD.

What could be next?

Officials have warned that even greater restrictions on water supplies in parts of Southern California could arise if conditions do not improve. “If we don’t see reductions, or if conditions don’t improve, the metropolitan council has given me the power to ban all watering from September 1,” Hagekhalil said.

Brown lawns, tree protection

With outdoor watering very limited, officials expect some lawns will need browning. “We cannot afford green lawns,” Hagekhalil said. There are exceptions to the new rules, however, which aim to protect the area’s trees, which provide valuable shade and help stave off the dangerous health effects of heat. “The fact is, we don’t want to see our beautiful and important forest cover suffer because of these restrictions,” said Deven Upadhyay, chief operating officer of MWD. “People should be able to continue watering their trees by hand.”

How to keep?

We’ve all been through this exercise so many times that some of the obvious water-saving measures have become almost second nature. Less lawn watering. Shorter showers. Fewer hot flashes. But as you cut back on your water use at home, experts warn that pinches and tucks alone can’t pull us out of the multi-year drought we find ourselves in.

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