The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is urging customers to conserve water amid a "dire situation" as the region faces its third drought year and a state plan to reduce allocations from 15% to 5% of the amount requested.
The State Water Project's plan to further reduce water allocations comes after a historically dry start to the year, the California Department of Water Resources said Friday.
"We want to stress to our residential and commercial customers the dire situation we are now facing in the third dry year and serious drought. We urge everyone to take a closer look at how they are using water inside and outside their home and take the necessary steps to cut down on usage."
"We are closely monitoring supply conditions and may call for additional measures to step up conservation, should that become necessary," said Anselmo Collins, LADWP's senior assistant general manager of the water system.
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.
DWR said 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.
"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."
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which supplies Los Angeles with some of its water, also urged conservation Friday amid the news that State Water Project allocations would be reduced to 5%.
"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.