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California Briefing / SOUTHLAND

Agency issues alert on water

June 11, 2008|Tami Abdollah

The Metropolitan Water District board reiterated its call for conservation Tuesday by issuing a Water Supply Alert throughout Southern California. Last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed a statewide drought, warning that the state's water supply was falling dangerously low because of below-average rainfall and court-ordered water restrictions in Northern California aimed at protecting endangered fish.

The water district, which serves about 19 million people, has used nearly half of its dry-year reserves over the last couple of years, withdrawing supplies from surface and groundwater storage to meet current water demands, said Bob Muir, a district spokesman.

"What we're hoping to do now by declaring a water supply alert is we're hoping people will reduce their use of water, eliminate waste and in turn shore up and sustain the water we have in reserves," Muir said.

The district's resolution asked cities, counties and water agencies throughout Southern California to reintroduce drought ordinances to encourage conservation. Muir said for the moment such an alert is still a voluntary measure, but without improvements water rationing throughout the region could be imposed in the future.

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