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Southern California water officials declare unprecedented water shortage

Any water suppliers that fail to comply could face large fines from the MWD for exceeding their monthly allocations

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Weymouth Filtration Plant in La Verne, Calif. (Photo Credit: Metropolitan Water District of Southern Calif.)

LOS ANGELES – Officials of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California declared an unprecedented water shortage emergency Tuesday, imposing drought restrictions that for the first time will limit outdoor watering to just one day a week in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties that are home to roughly 6 million Californians.

“The past three years are projected to be the driest in our state’s history, leading to drought conditions unlike anything we’ve experienced before,” an agency spokesperson wrote on Twitter.

“We are seeing conditions unlike anything we have seen before,” said Adel Hagekhalil, the district’s general manager. “We need serious demand reductions.”

The MWD’s board has never before taken such a step and the resolution adopted by the water wholesaler marks the first widespread water restrictions imposed in Southern California during this most recent period of extreme drought.

With the state’s major reservoirs at low levels, the MWD has been left without enough water to meet demands in parts of Southern California, officials said.

MWD’s board voted to adopt the emergency measures to “reduce non-essential water use” in certain areas. Cities and smaller water suppliers that get water from MWD are required to start restricting outdoor watering to one day a week, or to find other ways to cut usage to a new monthly allocation limit.

Any water suppliers that fail to comply could face large fines from the MWD for exceeding their monthly allocations.

The State Water Project delivers water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to farmlands and cities to the south. The project includes canals, pipelines, reservoirs and pumping facilities, which transport water to approximately 27 million Californians.

After a record dry start to 2022, California water officials slashed the project’s expected deliveries this year to just 5% of full allocations.

Areas that depend heavily or entirely on the State Water Project include northwestern L.A. County and Ventura County, parts of the San Gabriel Valley and parts of the Inland Empire.

The MWD imports water from the State Water Project and the Colorado River, serving 26 public water agencies across six counties that supply 19 million people, about half the state’s population.

Outdoor watering restrictions requiring major cutbacks in areas that depend on the limited supplies from the drought-ravaged State Water Project will take effect June 1.

UPDATE:

The Metropolitan Water District said Wednesday that the unprecedented decision to reduce outdoor watering to one day a week for about 6 million Southern Californians could be followed by even stricter actions in September if conditions don’t improve, including a total ban in some areas.

“If we don’t see cutbacks, or conditions do not get better, the Metropolitan board has given me the authority to ban all watering as soon as Sept. 1,” MWD general manager Adel Hagekhalil said Wednesday. “We know what this means to communities, we know what we are requiring here, but we’re facing a challenge. We do not have the supply to meet the normal demands that we have.”

Additional reporting from the Los Angeles Times and wire services

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Southern California

Triple A: Gas Prices Drop on Increased Production, Economic Worries

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $6.38, which is six cents lower than last week

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Screenshot/YouTube

LOS ANGELES – Gas prices dropped as local refineries reported their second-highest California-blend gasoline production levels of 2022 and economic concerns pushed down oil prices, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $6.38, which is six cents lower than last week.

The average national price is $4.94, which is seven cents lower than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $6.40 per gallon, which is six cents lower than last week, 30 cents higher than last month, and $2.14 higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $6.32, which is five cents lower than last week, 30 cents higher than last month, and $2.09 higher than last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $6.32, which is three cents lower than last week, 29 cents higher than last month and is $2.10 higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $6.29, which is four cents lower than last week, 30 cents higher than last month and $2.11 higher than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $6.36 average price is the same as last Thursday, 36 cents higher than last month and $2.22 higher than a year ago today.

“The state’s refineries produced more California-blend gasoline last week than in any other week since January of this year, according to the California Energy Commission,” said Auto Club spokesman Doug Shupe. “At the same time, Oil Price Information Service says concerns about the U.S. economy are pushing down oil and wholesale gasoline prices.”

The Auto Club reminds drivers they can save money on gasoline by shopping around virtually using a tool like the AAA Mobile app, which shows users the cheapest gas prices near them. AAA members can also take advantage of discounted gas prices at participating Shell gas stations by joining the Shell Fuel Rewards® program.

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on June 23, averages are:

June 23
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Southern California

Triple A: July 4 Holiday travel will be third busiest on record for SoCal

Nearly 3.3 million Southern Californians will travel over July Fourth weekend, which is the third highest volume for this holiday locally

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Courtesy of Triple A Auto Club of Southern California

LOS ANGELES – The Automobile Club of Southern California expects another increase in travel volume for the Independence Day holiday, continuing the trend of recovery over the past year despite continued record gas prices and increased costs.

Nearly 3.3 million Southern Californians will travel over July Fourth weekend, which is the third highest volume for this holiday locally behind 2019 and 2018. Nationally, 48 million people are expected to travel. The vast majority will travel by automobile even with the high pump prices.

By the Numbers

July 4 SoCal
July 4 US

“We expect that the recent lifting of the COVID testing requirement for air passengers re-entering the U.S. will continue the increase in demand for international vacation bookings that we are already seeing this summer,” said Heather Felix, the Auto Club’s vice president of travel products & services. “Increased costs are a factor for budgets, but working with a trusted travel advisor and being flexible with schedules and destinations can help consumers get some great travel deals.”

Top Travel Destinations

Top SoCal Destinations
July 4 International
July 4 top US destinations

Gas Prices

Near-record gas prices continue frustrating drivers in Southern California and across the country. The Auto Club recommends travelers take the following steps to maximize fuel efficiency on summer road trips:

  • Make sure tires are properly inflated
  • Get rid of extra weight not needed for road trips
  • Drive the speed limit and use cruise control when safe to do so
  • Avoid using overhead luggage racks that create drag
  • Park in the shade or use window sun visor to lessen heat build up inside vehicle
  • Download Auto Club app to find cheapest gas prices near you

Check Vehicles Before Trips to Prevent Breakdowns

The Auto Club expects to rescue nearly 65,000 motorists in Southern California alone over the Independence Day holiday period, and more than 446,000 nationwide. To avoid a breakdown on a road trip, the Auto Club recommends drivers inspect tires, batteries, belts, hoses and fluid levels, or have them inspected at a trusted mechanic such as a AAA-Approved Auto Repair facility.

Traffic Volume Expected to Peak Thursday, Friday Before Holiday

The transportation analytics firm INRIX projects that the busiest Southern California freeways on the Thursday and Friday before the holiday will include Interstate 5, Interstate 10, Interstate 405, and CA-57. To maximize fuel economy, the Auto Club recommends travelers avoid driving on Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons in Southern California. Early mornings are generally the best time to travel during holiday weekends.

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Southern California

Triple A: SoCal gas prices back off slightly from records

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $6.43, which is three cents higher than last week

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Screenshot/YouTube KCRA NBC News 3 Sacramento

LOS ANGELES – Gas prices reversed course very slightly in the last couple of days throughout Southern California after setting new daily price records all this month and signs are pointing to steeper declines ahead, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch.

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $6.43, which is three cents higher than last week and a penny below the all-time record of $6.44 set on Tuesday. The average national price is $5.01, which is four cents higher than a week ago and also a penny below the record price on Tuesday.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $6.45 per gallon, which is three cents higher than last week, 42 cents higher than last month, and $2.20 higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $6.37, which is four cents higher than last week, 41 cents higher than last month, and $2.15 higher than last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $6.36, which is four cents higher than last week, 41 cents higher than last month and is $2.14 higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $6.32, which is four cents higher than last week, 40 cents higher than last month and $2.15 higher than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $6.37 average price is five cents more than last Thursday, 46 cents higher than last month and $2.24 higher than a year ago today.

“A very volatile week for the U.S. economy and a slight downturn in consumer demand reported by the EIA, which is likely due to record high prices, have caused a plunge of nearly 60 cents on the Los Angeles wholesale gasoline market this past week,” said Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe. “Hopefully that decline will soon be reflected in price reductions at the pump.”

With almost all local gas stations charging more than $6 a gallon for regular unleaded, gas thefts have continued to victimize Southern California drivers and the resulting damage to gas tanks can cost $1,000 or more to fix. The Auto Club recommends the following tips to avoid becoming a gas theft victim:

  • Park in the garage at your home if you have one.
  • When out in public, park in a well-lit area with high traffic. If possible, park in a secure location like a fenced-in lot or parking garage.
  • When parking in a garage, find a spot near the exit or elevator as those have the most visibility and foot traffic

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on June 16, averages are:

June 16
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