But because the water supply will be impacted by the “emergency repairs,” the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is asking residents and businesses in parts of Los Angeles County to suspend outdoor watering for 15 days, beginning September 6, according to a statement released Monday.
Metropolitan says more than 4 million people will be impacted by the shutdown, including in those in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Long Beach, Pasadena and San Fernando. Some of these communities are already under mandatory restrictions implemented June 1. Those restrictions will remain in place, Metropolitan said.
“We need to make this urgent repair to ensure this infrastructure can continue serving Southern California in the immediate term and for years to come. While we do this work, we need people who normally get water from this pipeline to eliminate their outdoor water use to stretch the limited available water supplies,” Metropolitan Water System Operations Manager Brent Yamasaki said in a statement. “We don’t take this call lightly, but it is what is needed at this time.”
After the leak was found earlier this year, Metropolitan said that it “made a temporary repair and began operating the pipeline at a reduced capacity while a more permanent solution was designed and developed.” The pipeline will be down until September 20.
As Southern California — like much of the West — is facing prolonged drought conditions, residents and businesses have faced a summer of water consumption cuts and desperate urgings from officials to take conservation measures. Some counties, including LA County, have already been told to slash outdoor watering amid major supply shortages.
The pipeline carries water from the Colorado River, which supplies 40 million people and irrigates more than 5 million acres of farmland.
As climate change has fueled devastating drought conditions in the West, the river and its reservoirs have begun to dry up to critical levels. The combined aridification of the West and overuse of the river’s supply have pushed federal officials to implement mandatory water cuts. This week, the government announced the river now falls under a Tier 2 shortage condition, which means Arizona, Nevada and Mexico must cut their water usage beginning in January.
California does not yet fall under the Tier 2 cuts, but state officials are still sounding the alarm the worsening water supply and taking steps to respond as the state’s other water sources are suffering as well.