California Water Supplier Cuts Delivery To 19 Million People This Summer

Coburn Palmer

California is so dry it may soon have to be renamed the Brown State, and recent decisions to cut back on residential water supplies may not be enough.

Tuesday this week, one of California's largest water suppliers decided to cut deliveries to 19 million people in the southland by 15 percent, but that's not enough, according to some water board members.

The Metropolitan Water District, which services 26 local water agencies, voted to cut the water deliveries, starting in June, in the hopes that affected communities would up their conservation efforts to avoid stiff penalties.

However, board member Judy Abdo from the city of Santa Monica told the Guardian more cuts were needed.

"To me, it's like spending down our savings account and hoping to win the lottery to pay it back."

The 15 percent cut in water deliveries is in line with Gov. Jerry Brown's call for the state to reduce water consumption by 25 percent.

It's unclear how much water the MWD will receive this year from the California State Water Project, the series of aqueducts and canals that moves water throughout the state. The board is, however, expecting its full supply from the Colorado River.

This is only the fourth time the water district has enacted such drastic cuts to water deliveries.

The first time was in 1977, when they cut deliveries by 10 percent. The second time was in 1990 for 17 percent, but that cut in water delivery only lasted a few months because a series of spring storms in March saved the state from further conservation. The last cut to water deliveries was in 2009, when a ten percent cut was ordered, according to the LA Times.

California is in the midst of a severe drought, affecting both residents and agriculture alike, but the farmers haven't been asked to cut back their water consumption, even though they consume 80 percent of the state's water.

Previous cutback to the state's farmers has reduced their draw from the California Water Project to zero, forcing them to rely almost entirely on groundwater supplies.

Water regulators have passed a number of new restrictions in the hopes of staving off the megadrought affecting the state, according to an Inquisitr report.

The water board will revisit the issue in December after additional regulations and cutbacks have taken effect to determine if further reductions are necessary.