LA Water Supplier Urges Conservation


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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Metropolitan Water District, which supplies some of Los Angeles' water, reiterated the need for customers to conserve water today after the California Department of Water Resources announced that allocations from the State Water Project will be reduced to just 5%.

The reduction to 5% from the previously announced 15% comes after a historically dry start to the year, the California Department of Water Resources said.

``Unfortunately, so far the level of conservation we're seeing from the public is not matching the severity of these conditions. We all need to take this drought more seriously and significantly step up our water-saving efforts to help preserve our dropping storage levels and ensure we have the water we need into the summer and fall,'' Adel Hagekhalil, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said, noting that parts of Los Angeles County is particularly reliant on SWP supplies.

``On average, 30% of the water we use in Southern California comes from the State Water Project. But through three years of low allocations, we're getting a fraction of what we used to receive -- lower deliveries than any time in history,'' Hagekhalil said.

In a normal year, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power receives about 40% of its water supply from the State Water Project, provided by the regional water wholesaler Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. During dry years, the city can receive as much as 60% of water from the SWP.

A statement from DWP on how Los Angeles customers will be affected by the decreased allocation was not immediately available.

``We are experiencing climate change whiplash in real time with extreme swings between wet and dry conditions. That means adjusting quickly based on the data and the science,'' said California Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth.

``While we had hoped for more rain and snow, DWR has been preparing for a third consecutive year of drought since October. We are continuing with a series of actions to balance the needs of endangered species, water supply conservation, and water deliveries for millions of Californians.''

DWR said that state reservoir levels are about 70% of the average, and Sierra snowpack throughout the state has fallen to 55% of the average for the date. State officials will conduct another snow survey on April 1, and a final allocation for the water year will likely be announced in May or June.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has repeatedly urged its customers to conserve water. In September, its board approved a rate increase to reflect the cost of various water supplies including purchased water to meet the demand created by customers who use large amounts of water.

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