Southern California's main water supplier this week declared a regional drought emergency and is calling on water agencies to reduce usage, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which has 26 member agencies servicing roughly 19 million people, declared the emergency in a resolution adopted on Tuesday.
This resolution may become mandatory unless conditions improve during the winter, and by April member agencies may be hit with fees if they don't curb the use of imported water. These agencies include the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Municipal Water District of Orange County and the Inland Empire Utilities Agency.
"Conditions on the Colorado River are growing increasingly dire," Gloria Gray, who chairs the MWD board, said in a statement according to the Times. "We simply cannot continue turning to that source to make up the difference in our limited state supplies. In addition, three years of California drought are drawing down our local storage."
MWD General Manager Adel Hagekhalil added: "Since this drought began, we have been steadily increasing our call for conservation. If we don't have an extremely wet winter, we will need to elevate to our highest level — a water supply allocation for all of Southern California.
"Substantial and immediate conservation now and in the coming months will help lessen the potential severity of such an allocation."
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