O’Farrell, Koretz, Krekorian Lead Los Angeles City Council in Unanimous Action to Address Historic Drought Emergency

Councilmembers’ actions will help conserve water and protect ratepayers in L.A.

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles City Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell, Paul Koretz, and Paul Krekorian today led the City Council in calling for a comprehensive series of reports and actions related to ratepayer funds, conservation, and the drought emergency currently affecting California and the Western United States.

“There is great urgency to take a more proactive approach to conserving water, which is why my colleagues and I introduced this motion,” said Councilmember O’Farrell, the chair of the City Council’s Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and River Committee. “We are not going to shy away from our responsibility in facing the challenge before us, and we will make sure that we do everything we can to address this emergency, conserve water, improve infrastructure, and protect ratepayers’ dollars.”

“Back in 2015, at the previous height of drought, I asked LADWP to identify our top water users in the City, contact them, and help them dramatically reduce their use. Most weren’t aware of their high water use and just needed education and advice,” said Councilmember Koretz, co-author of the drought motion. “Today, I asked LADWP to do the same again. I don’t want to see some neighborhoods doing a lot and some doing a little. We are all in this together and the only way out is together.”

“Los Angeles is already a national leader in water conservation.  Angelenos have saved enough water over the last 20 years to serve a million people,” said Councilmember Krekorian. “Yet water shortages continue to endanger public safety, our economy, our clean energy goals, and our quality of life.  This motion is a vital first step to addressing what is now an existential threat to the City of Los Angeles, and all of us need to embrace the commitment to conservation with urgency.

For the third consecutive year, California remains in a historic drought, and the three month period of January-March 2022 was the driest start to a year ever recorded in the state. Throughout California, snowpacks are at 20% of normal levels, and key reservoirs are at 30%, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association predicts that the state will remain in a moderate to severe drought throughout this summer. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) has declared a water shortage on the State Reservoir Project, meaning that a majority of Angelenos will not have adequate supplemental resources from MWD to assist them throughout the year.


The City of Los Angeles is currently in Phase 3 of its water conservation ordinance, which limits outdoor watering with sprinklers to two days a week for eight minutes per station per watering day, and includes a refocused public outreach campaign to educate the public on how each Angeleno can play role in conserving water.


The actions unanimously approved today by the City Council will require LADWP and MWD to report on several key issues, including: 1) current and projected water drought conditions statewide from all sources, and the corresponding impact to LADWP consumers; 2) the impact of the drought on hydroelectric resources in Los Angeles; 3) the expansion of large scale water recycling projects and budgetary programs to increase water conservation, as well as to expand water supply; and 4) the potential implications for meeting the “LA100” goals of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035. These reports will now be generated and heard by the Council’s Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and River committee, chaired by O’Farrell.

“We are in an unprecedented situation where the sources that normally make up 90% of the city’s water supply are extremely limited due to the worsening drought,” said Martin Adams, General Manager and Chief Engineer, LADWP. “We applaud the Council’s action to help underscore the need for every Angeleno to do their part, accelerate our development of new local water resources, and stay ahead of this issue to ensure that this city has the reliable water supplies it needs to survive and thrive.”