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Climate and Environment

Las Virgenes Municipal Water District Is Requiring Residents To Cut Outdoor Usage In Half

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Residents of Agoura Hills, Calabasas and other nearby communities are being asked to cut outdoor use in half — and potentially to zero — as water supplies continue to shrink.
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Some 75,000 people in Agoura Hills, Calabasas and other nearby communities are being asked to cut their outdoor water usage in half, as the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District struggles to conserve water.

The move comes after three years of an ongoing drought and cuts to the State Water Project.

Last month, California water officials reduced the State Water Project allocation to 5% from 15%. The project includes a network of reservoirs and dams that provide water to multiple districts and millions of California residents.

The Las Virgenes district gets nearly all of its water supply from the State Water Project.

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Dave Pedersen, who manages the district, told Larry Mantle on our newsroom’s current affairs show, AirTalk, that this has never happened before.

"All of us in the water business, we pride ourselves and work very hard to plan for the future and to avoid things like this," Pedersen said.

"But what we're seeing is a change in climate that is presenting us with challenges that we never anticipated, and at a pace we never anticipated," he said.

Meanwhile, the water district's spokesperson Mike McNutt said customers need to change their behavior and ramp up conservation efforts.

"We have to be ahead of the curve when it comes to the severity of what's going to happen," he said. "We know that the summer months, starting pretty much now all the way through potentially October, it's going to be dry."

He adds that the next steps would be to prohibit outdoor watering entirely, if the water supply continues to dwindle.

The agency also plans to penalize residents who surpass their monthly water allowance.

That means price increases and — after three or more months of excessive use — the installation of flow restriction devices.

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