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Californians may see mandatory water shutdowns amid drought US and world news

SACRAMENTA, Calif. (AP) – California Gov. Gavin Newsom threatened Monday to impose mandatory water restrictions if residents will not use less at their discretion as the drought drags on and the hot summer months approach.

Newsom raised this opportunity at a meeting with representatives of major water agencies, including those providing Los Angeles, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area, according to a press release from his office. The Democrat governor has avoided serious, mandatory reductions in water use, and instead prefers an approach that gives local water agencies the power to set water use rules in the cities and towns they provide.

California usually gets most of the annual rain and snow from January to March, but this year these months have been the driest in at least a century. Despite calls for conservation, water use in the state rose sharply in March – by 19% compared to the same month in 2020 – and News is now considering changing his approach.

FILE- Signs warning visitors of severe drought in Mendoza, California, on Wednesday, August 4, 2021. California Gov. Gavin Newsom threatened on Monday, May 23, 2022, to impose mandatory restrictions on water use for the entire state if people do not t start using less on your own as the drought drags on and the hotter summer months approach.

“Every water agency in the state needs to take more aggressive action to report a drought emergency and implement conservation measures,” Newsama said in a statement.

California is experiencing its third year of drought, and virtually all areas of the state are classified as severe or extreme droughts.

Last summer, News called on Californians to voluntarily cut water consumption by 15% by doing things like five-minute showers and avoiding baths, only running full-load washing machines and dishwashers and restricting water use to clean open areas, but residents far from reaching the goal.

How quickly Newsom could impose mandatory restrictions if compliance did not improve was unclear. In two months, he plans to meet again with water agencies, his office said. Spokeswoman Erin Melan said the administration would overestimate the course of compliance in just “a few weeks.” She did not suggest a metric that the administration would use to measure.

California Drought

FILE – In this photo, on July 8, 2021, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and sign translator Julia Townsend are standing on the edge of reduced Lake Lopez near Arroyo Grande, California. Newsom threatened on Monday, May 23, 2022, to impose mandatory, nationwide restrictions on water use unless people start using less on their own as the drought drags on and the hot summer months approach.

Newsom has already moved to force more protection of local water areas. He instructed the State Water Authority to consider banning the watering of ornamental lawns, such as grasses in office parks, and to force local agencies to step up their conservation efforts.

After the last drought, the state began requiring cities and other water areas to submit drought response plans detailing six levels of conservation depending on the amount of water. Newsom has asked the council to require these areas to move to “level 2” of their plans, which envisages a 20% water shortage.

Each district can set its own rules for “level 2,” and they often include things like further restricting water use for outdoor needs and paying people to install more efficient appliances or landscaping that requires less water. They should include a communication plan to encourage locals to use less water.

The council will vote on the measures on Tuesday, and they will take effect on June 10.

Last week, while visiting a water treatment plant in Los Angeles County, Newsom spoke of the need to better convey to 39 million state residents the need to save water. He included $ 100 million in his budget to report the drought.

During the last drought, from 2012 to 2016, former Gov. Jerry Brown announced a mandatory 25% reduction in total state water use, and the state water council set requirements for how much each water area had to be reduced depending on existing water use. ; areas where people used more water were asked to cut more. Failure to comply with water agencies can result in fines of up to $ 10,000 per day.

California Drought

FILE – Water flies from a sprinkler to a lawn in Sacramento, California, July 8, 2021. California Gov. Gavin Newsom threatened on Monday, May 23, 2022, to impose mandatory restrictions on water use in the state if people don’t start using less on their own because the drought is dragging on and the hotter summer months are approaching.

Newsham’s current approach gives local water areas more flexibility, and he said it’s important to recognize that different parts of the state have their own water needs.

The State Water Council has imposed some restrictions across the state, such as banning people from watering lawns for 48 hours after rain while spraying on sidewalks. People can be fined $ 500 a day for violations.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Department of Water and Energy of Los Angeles, East Bay Municipal District, Southern California Metropolitan Water District, Alameda Water District, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Valley Water, San Diego County Water Supply. Government, California Water Agencies Association, California Urban Water Agencies and the California Municipal Utilities Association. The meeting was not open to the press and the public.

Read more about the current drought situation here:

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