The Metropolitan Water District is calling on Southern Californians to stop outdoor watering for a full 15 days so they can make emergency repairs on a critical imported water pipeline. The shutdown, which would start on Sept. 6, is projected to affect more than 4 million people, including water customers in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Long Beach, Pasadena, San Fernando, Torrance, and those served by the Central Basin Municipal Water District, Foothill Municipal Water District, Three Valleys Municipal Water District, and the West Basin Municipal Water District. The area also covers 6 million people where households has been limited to one-day irrigation.
“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 use to stretch the limited available water supplies,” Brent Yamasaki, operations manager of Metropolitan Water System, said in a statement. “We don’t take this call lightly, but it is what is needed at this time.”
The pipeline in need of repairs is the 36-mile Upper Feeder pipeline, which delivers Colorado River water into the region. Temporary repairs were made after a leak was discovered in the pipeline earlier this year, and it has been operating at reduced capacity since then. MWD officials have designed and developed a more permanent solution, and the pipeline will be shut down from Sept. 6 through Sept. 20 so it can be repaired.
MWD officials say during the shut down, they are calling on all residents and business owners to eliminate all outdoor watering. Two weeks of no watering may lead to a lawn getting more yellow, but MWD officials say it won’t die, particularly if residents prepare by aerating their lawns, adding compost, and avoid mowing in the run up to the pipeline shutdown.
Other outdoor tips the MWD had were to delay new plantings until after Sept. 20, avoid fertilizing lawns and plants before the shutdown, weed gardens so more water can get to plants, and to water deeply and early on the morning of Sept. 5, the last day hand watering will be allowed. Adding mulch and shading plants with a sun cloth, canopy tents, or umbrellas can also help plants and trees retain moisture.