Pipeline leak prompts watering ban in parts of L.A. County

Drought-stricken Los Angeles County lawns will be a little thirstier for 15 days in September when officials halt outdoor irrigation in several areas to fix a leaking pipeline, Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District announced Monday.

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

“We must complete this urgent repair to ensure this infrastructure can continue to serve Southern California in the short term and for years to come,” said Brent Yamasaki, MWD water system operations manager, in a statement. “While we do this work, we need people who normally draw water from this pipeline to eliminate their outdoor water use to augment the limited water supplies available.”

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

The agency is urging affected residents to stop all outdoor watering during the shutdown and to exercise caution when using it indoors by limiting showering to 5 minutes or less, among other water-saving measures.

“We do not take this call lightly, but it is what we need at this time,” Yamasaki said.

Agency spokeswoman Rebecca Kimitch said the shutdown was not related to critical drought conditions on the Colorado River, which is shrinking to new lows due to climate change and chronic overuse.

Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir located along this river, was at 27% of its capacity as of Monday, but the seven river-dependent states have so far failed to come up with a plan to drastically reduce its use.

Right now, “this is about shutting down a leaky line,” Kimitch said.

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

Residents who depend on the agency’s other main source, the State Water Project, are already subject to reduced watering limits and are being asked to adhere to those schedules during the shutdown. These include rules for outdoor watering two days a week for areas served by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Energy.

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


General landscaping

  • Delay replanting until after September 20th.
  • Avoid fertilizing lawns and plants before shutdown.
  • Pull weeds in your garden to make more water available to your plants.
  • Set your sprinkler timer to Off on the evening of September 5th.


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

Shrubs/Flowers/Ground Cover

  • Water deeply and early on September 5, or the last day of hand watering in your community before closure.
  • Add mulch around your plants 3 inches from the trunk. do not water mulch; When watering, pull it away and put it back in
  • If possible, shade your plants with a sun cloth, canopy tents or parasols.
  • Water succulents and other desert plants normally. Overwatering could harm them.


  • On September 5th, or the last day your community allows hand-watering before the closure, irrigate your trees and shrubs deeply by hand-watering, attaching drip hoses, or watering in a slow trickle using a regular hose. Water until soil is soaked to a depth of 8-12 inches.
  • Surround the tree with mulch before watering to retain moisture. Make sure the mulch is 3 inches from the trunk.



  • Eliminate all outdoor watering.
  • Remember that two weeks without watering is not going to kill your lawn. Although you will see yellowing, it will improve once your previous watering schedule is resumed.
  • Don’t mow your lawn. Minimize the use of your lawn for playing and vehicle parking.


  • Put a bucket in your shower to catch water when the shower gets warmer. Application for indoor plants, sensitive outdoor plants and areas of the lawn that can be subjected to excessive stress (hot spots).
  • Take a short shower (maximum 5 minutes).
  • Do not run water when washing dishes. Fill a small container or bucket with water to wash your dishes in. When you’re done, use that water on trees and grass.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-08-15/pipeline-leak-prompts-watering-ban-in-parts-of-l-a-county Pipeline leak prompts watering ban in parts of L.A. County

Alley Einstein

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