Pipeline leak leads to watering ban in parts of LA County

Drought-stricken lawns in Los Angeles County will be a bit thirstier for 15 days in September when authorities suspend outdoor watering in several areas to fix a leaking pipeline, California’s Metropolitan Water District announced Monday from South.

The emergency repair will shut down the 36-mile Upper Feeder Pipeline – which carries water from the Colorado River to Southern California – from September 6 to 20, MWD said. The leak was discovered earlier this year and the pipeline has been operating at reduced capacity as part of a temporary fix while officials designed a more permanent solution.

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(Southern California Metropolitan Water District)

“We need to make this urgent repair to ensure this infrastructure can continue to serve Southern California now and for years to come,” said Brent Yamasaki, MWD’s water system operations manager, in a statement. “While we do this work, we need people who normally get water from this pipeline to eliminate their use of outside water to stretch the limited available water supplies.”

More than 4 million people will be affected by the shutdown in cities including Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Long Beach, Pasadena, San Fernando and Torrance, as well as areas served by the Central Basin Municipal Water District, Foothill Municipal Water District, Three Valleys Municipal Water District and West Basin Municipal Water District, MWD said.

Agency asks affected residents to eliminate all outdoor watering during shutdown and exercise caution about indoor use by limiting showers to 5 minutes or less, among other water-saving measures .

“We don’t take this call lightly, but it’s what we need right now,” Yamasaki said.

Agency spokeswoman Rebecca Kimitch said the shutdown was unrelated to critical drought conditions on the Colorado River, which is shrinking to new lows due to climate change and chronic overuse. .

Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir located along this river, was at 27% capacity on Monday, but the seven states dependent on the river have so far failed to come up with a plan to drastically reduce their usage.

Right now, “this is a shutdown on a leaky pipe,” Kimitch said.

The Colorado River is one of the two main sources of the MWD, which supplies water to more than two dozen Southern California agencies.

Residents who rely on the agency’s other main source, the State Water Project, are already under reduced watering limits and are asked to maintain those schedules during the shutdown. This includes two-day-a-week outdoor watering rules for areas served by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

The MWD has provided the following guidance for areas affected by the upcoming shutdown:


General landscaping

  • Delay new plantings after September 20.
  • Avoid fertilizing lawns and plants before closing time.
  • Weed your garden to help make more water available for your plants.
  • Set your sprinkler timer to the “off” position on the evening of September 5th.


  • Aerate your lawn and add compost two weeks before closing.
  • Set mowers for a higher cut or avoid mowing. Longer grass helps reduce evaporation.
  • Regularly water your lawn according to your agency’s watering schedule.

Shrubs/flowers/ground cover

  • Water deeply and early in the morning of September 5 or the last day that hand watering is allowed in your community before closing.
  • Add mulch around your plants 3 inches from the stem. Do not irrigate the mulch; remove it during watering and then put it back in place
  • Where possible, shade your plants with sun shade, canopy tents or umbrellas.
  • Water succulents and other desert plants as usual. Excessive watering could harm them.


  • On September 5 or the last day that hand watering is allowed in your community before closing, water your trees and shrubs thoroughly by hand, installing soaker hoses, or watering with a regular hose with a slow trickle. Water until the soil is soaked to a depth of 8 to 12 inches.
  • Mulch the tree before watering to better retain moisture. Make sure the mulch is 3 inches from the trunk.



  • Eliminate all exterior watering.
  • Remember that two weeks without watering will not kill your lawn. Although you will see some yellowing, it will improve once your previous watering schedule resumes.
  • Do not mow your lawn. Minimize the use of your lawn for playing, parking vehicles.

On the inside

  • Put a bucket in your shower to catch the water as the shower heats up. Use for indoor plants, sensitive outdoor plants and areas of the lawn that may be under excessive stress (hot spots).
  • Take short showers (5 minutes maximum).
  • Don’t let the water run when you wash the dishes. Fill a small trash can or bucket with water to wash your dishes. When you are done, use this water for trees and grass.
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