Water Agencies Lift Some Restrictions Following Wet Winter: What’s Changed, What Hasn’t

Coachella Valley water agencies are lifting some drought restrictions following an exceptionally wet winter in California, although experts and officials warn that California residents should keep getting used to “conservation as a way of life.”

California Ends Some Water Limits After Storms Ease Drought

California Gov. Gavin Newsom ended some of the state’s water restrictions on Friday because a winter of relentless rain and snow has replenished the state’s reservoirs and eased fears of a shortage after three years of severe drought.

He also announced local agencies that supply water to 27 million people and many farmers would get much more from state supplies than originally planned. But Newsom did not declare an end to the drought, warning much of the state is still suffering from its lingering effects.

“Are we out of a drought? Mostly — but not completely,” Newsom said Friday from a farm northwest of Sacramento that has flooded its fields to help replenish groundwater.

Newsom said he would stop asking people to voluntarily cut their water use by 15%, a request he first made nearly two years ago while standing at the edge of a nearly dry Lopez Lake in the state’s Central Coast region — a lake that today is so full from recent storms it is almost spilling over. Californians never met Newsom’s call for that level of conservation — as of January the cumulative savings were just 6.2%.

Local Water Agencies Allocated More Water

The latest rain storms have made a dent in filling reservoirs prompting the State Water Project to allocate more water to local agencies. Deliveries from northern California could increase to 30-percent, up from just 5-percent in recent months when reservoirs were near deadpool conditions. Officials emphasize the drought though is not over.

California Set for More Brown Lawns and Water Restrictions as State Issues 5% Allocation

Californians should brace for another year of brown lawns, tight water restrictions and increased calls for conservation as state water managers Thursday warned that severely reduced allocations are once again likely in 2023.

UC Expert Helps Save Water, Increase Supply

Earlier this year, officials in Southern California declared a water shortage emergency resulting in restrictions such as limiting outdoor water use to one day of the week.

More Water Restrictions Likely as California Pledges to Cut Use of Colorado River Supply

With the Colorado River in crisis and reservoir levels continuing to decline, California water agencies that depend on the river are planning to significantly reduce their use of water from the river starting next year. As a result, officials with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California said they plan to endorse mandatory conservation measures next year to begin rationing water for cities and local agencies that supply 19 million people across six counties.

California Officials Warn of More Water Restrictions in 2023 as Fourth Year of Drought Looms

California cities and farms should brace for little or no water from the state’s big reservoirs in the coming year, a prospect that signals more water restrictions for households and more fallowed fields in the farm belt.

The warning was delivered Monday by state and federal water officials who said they are preparing for the possibility of a fourth year of drought. Both are considering, at least initially, reduced allocations for the many water agencies that contract for reservoir supplies from California’s sprawling water projects.

Water Conservation Efforts Paying Off in Santa Monica

Even as the recent 15-day watering ban in LA county ended earlier than scheduled last week, water – specifically lack of water – remains a top concern for many city officials. However, Santa Monica Water Resource Manager Sunny Wang reported to the planning commission last week that unlike some nearby municipalities, Santa Monica’s is on track to maintain the stability of the city’s water supply and eventually make the city self-sufficient in terms of water.

Stockton Residents Now Required to Reduce Water Use by 20%. See Latest Water Restrictions

The extreme heat seen throughout the west is causing household lawns to cry out for water.

In July, the Stockton City Council adopted a resolution declaring a Stage 2 Water Shortage Emergency in response to the ongoing drought and record-low reservoir levels in California.

Temporary Watering Ban Lifted in Los Angeles County as Pipeline Repair Completed Early

Southern California water officials on Monday lifted a temporary ban on outdoor watering in portions of Los Angeles County after completing emergency repairs on a critical pipeline two days early.

The 36-mile Upper Feeder pipeline, operated by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, is a major conduit for supplying water to the region from the Colorado River. Officials shut it down Sept. 6 so they could address a leak, and called on nearly 4 million residents to halt all outdoor irrigation — including sprinkling and hand watering — for 15 days while they did the work.