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South state agency to ration water to districts
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District is planning to ration imported water that it supplies to more than two dozen agencies and cities, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The MWD, which serves 19 million people, will vote next week on the plan to cut water deliveries and force urban conservation amid the state’s drought, the newspaper reported Monday..

The cuts, which would take effect July 1, were proposed before Gov. Jerry Brown imposed a 25 percent mandatory restriction on urban water use last week, the newspaper reported. But they are expected to spur agencies to curb demand and help meet the governor’s conservation goals.

Local agencies that need more water than the MWD allocation will be required to pay punitive surcharges of up to $2,960 an acre-foot for the extra deliveries.

The MWD board of directors, made up of 37 representatives of the agency’s member districts, will decide the extent of the rationing — which could range from 10 to 20 percent, or 200,000 to 400,000 acre-feet less than MWD typically delivers. An acre-foot of water is enough to supply two households for one year.

The MWD said it would post proposed cutback numbers on its website Tuesday.

“We hope to partner with the state to immediately drive down water use throughout our service area,” Randy Record, chairman of the MWD board, said April 1 after the governor’s announcement. “While Southern California has added 5 million people in the past generation and at the same time decreased use of imported water, we realize that this drought requires dramatic action at this time.”

The effects will vary from area to area, the Times reported. Cities that have already been conserving, such as Los Angeles, will probably feel fewer impacts. In areas that have been slow to conserve, water districts will have to strengthen restrictions and boost local rates to avoid financial penalties the MWD will impose on excess demand.

Metropolitan last rationed deliveries in 2009 and 2010, during the previous drought.

The agency is the supplier to 26 districts. It imports water from Northern California and the Colorado River.