15-day watering ban begins for parts of L.A. County

A lawn is watered by a sprinkler
A sprinkler waters a lawn in Los Angeles in May. A 15-day outdoor watering ban is now in effect for 4 million Los Angeles County residents as crews make emergency repairs to a pipeline.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

A 15-day outdoor watering ban took effect for 4 million Los Angeles County residents on Tuesday as crews make emergency repairs to a pipeline that delivers water to Southern Californians, according to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

The 36-mile Upper Feeder pipeline, which carries water from the Colorado River to Southern California, began leaking earlier this year, officials said. The agency made temporary repairs and continued using the pipeline at a reduced capacity but scheduled permanent repairs to be made from Tuesday to Sept. 20, during which the pipeline will be offline.

“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,” Brent Yamasaki, MWD operations manager, said in a statement. “While we do this work, we need people who normally get water from this pipeline to eliminate their outdoor water use to stretch the limited available water supplies. We don’t take this call lightly, but it is what is needed at this time.”

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The ban affects people in Beverly Hills, Glendale, Burbank, Malibu, Long Beach, Pasadena, San Fernando and Torrance, in addition to residents in the Central Basin Municipal Water District, Three Valleys Municipal Water District, Foothill Municipal Water District and West Basin Municipal Water District. Residents can view the shutdown map on the Metropolitan Water District website to learn more. Residents of the city of Los Angeles and others served by the L.A. Department of Water and Power are not affected, though they are subject to other restrictions.


About 6 million residents of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties have been limited to outdoor watering one day a week since June 1. Consumers under emergency conservation will have to continue adhering to the water rules.

The leak was discovered in April and the pipeline has been operating at a reduced capacity ever since, according to Adel Hagekhalil, MWD general manager. Staff built a 108-inch pipeline connection that is needed to permanently repair the pipeline.

“The temporary fix we have in place has allowed us to operate the pipeline at a reduced capacity over the summer, but it is not intended to last long term,” Hagekhalil said. “We cannot delay this repair any further — doing so risks a failure and the potential for an unplanned, emergency situation.”

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Burbank will be offering free recycled water during the shutdown at George Izay Park as part of the city’s “H20 to Go” program. The recycled water is not safe for drinking and is intended to be used to irrigate trees, plants and gardens.

During the shutdown, officials recommend residents eliminate all outdoor irrigation, stop mowing their lawns and minimize the use of their lawns for parking vehicles and recreation. People are encouraged to put a bucket in their showers to collect water as it warms, then use that water for plants and hot spots on their lawns that are under excessive stress.


The agency also urged people not to leave the water running while washing dishes, and instead fill the sink or a bucket with water to wash their dishes. The used water can then be used to irrigate trees and grass.