LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — For only the third time in the past 25 years, the board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District, the water wholesaler for Southern California, will consider whether to ration water supplies to its member agencies.

The board’s Water Planning and Stewardship Committee approved the drought-management plan on Monday.

With Gov. Jerry Brown mandating a 25 percent cut in water use across the state, the MWD is considering strict measures that would cut deliveries to its 26 member cities and agencies.

The amount of the cut would be based on each agency’s reliance on MWD supplies, while also taking into consideration conservation actions already being implemented. Cities and agencies that use more than their MWD allocation would have to pay punitive costs ranging from $1,480 to $2,960 per acre-foot of water.

An acre-foot is roughly the amount of water needed to serve two households for a year.

“We are serving water at a wholesale level, and so we are sending a message to our member agencies that you will have to pay a surcharge if you don’t achieve a 15 percent reduction of Metropolitan’s imported water usage,” MWD General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said.

“Most of our local cities, the governor’s order is what governs there. They have to achieve a 25 percent reduction.”

The MWD action would “implement surcharges on member agencies that don’t reduce their deliveries in order to achieve a roughly 15 percent reduction in regional deliveries,” according to an MWD staff report.

Besides limiting the amount of water it supplies to its members, the agency will also expand media campaigns to encourage conservation, work with the state for funding of rebate and conservation-incentive programs and monthly tracking of its members’ usage rates to ensure compliance.

Adopting restrictions on water deliveries “is consistent with actions taken by our member agencies and retail agencies and will assist in public outreach efforts to communicate the severity of the current drought and the need for conservation in managing through the drought,” according to the MWD report.

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