November 30, 2023

Metropolitan receives $38 million state grant to increase turf rebate, bolster other partnerships

L to R: Metropolitan board Vice Chair Michael Camacho; Metropolitan Director John Morris; Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth; Metropolitan board Chair Adán Ortega, Jr.; Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil; Metropolitan Director Jeff Armstrong; Metropolitan Director Marsha Ramos; and Metropolitan Water Efficiency Manager Bill McDonnell.

Businesses and institutions gearing up to comply with a new state ban on using potable drinking water to irrigate non-functional lawns will soon get additional help from Metropolitan to transform turf into more sustainable landscaping, thanks to a state grant. The California Department of Water Resources presented a $38 million check to Metropolitan officials earlier this month as part of its Urban Community Drought Relief program.

The grant will help Metropolitan increase its turf replacement rebate for businesses and institutions from $2 to $3 a square foot in 2024. The funds will help offset costs to convert up to 30 million square feet of non-functional turf into water-efficient landscaping. In total, the program has directly resulted in the removal of about 218 million square feet of grass, saving enough water to serve about 68,000 households annually.

The state funding also supports two interagency water conservation initiatives. The first is a partnership between Metropolitan and SoCal Gas to provide no-cost direct installation of high efficiency fixtures, such as weather-based irrigation controllers and more efficient clothes washers, to income-eligible households. The second is a Metropolitan-sponsored program to support local public fire departments in purchasing water-recirculating units that conserve water during essential training exercises.

Read the press release.

“The state’s foresight and support will enable us all to become more resilient as we face climate whiplash and a future of hotter and drier droughts.”

Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil

Pure Water Southern California names recycled water facility in honor of Grace F. Napolitano

Honoring the visionary leadership and legacy of the retiring congresswoman who championed water issues, Metropolitan dedicated on Nov. 2 the Grace F. Napolitano Pure Water Southern California Innovation Center, the demonstration plant of the regional recycled water program it is developing in partnership with the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts. Throughout her distinguished career, Congresswoman Napolitano has supported and secured funding for recycled water projects and fought to ensure that every Southern Californian has access to safe, reliable drinking water.

Read the press release.

Congresswoman Napolitano speaking at the

Nov. 2 dedication ceremony.

Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water joint task force established

Metropolitan’s Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water is a coordinated regional planning effort to secure our collective water future amid a changing climate. Its goal is to increase water reliability for Metropolitan’s 26 member agencies, as well as promote water affordability for communities across our service area.

A newly formed CAMP4W joint task force, composed of Metropolitan board directors and general managers from Metropolitan’s member agencies, met for the first time on Nov. 21. The task force setup enables Metropolitan and its member agencies to collaborate publicly as they identify regional needs and investment priorities. Over the next year, the task force will develop and propose a regional plan to make the financial and infrastructure investments that will enable Southern California’s communities, environment and economy to thrive despite the potential impacts of a changing climate.

Watch a video on CAMP4W.

Metropolitan honored for leadership in advanced water treatment certification

Metropolitan was honored on Tuesday, Nov. 28, for its continuing support of the Advanced Water Treatment Certification program, co-sponsored by the California-Nevada section of the American Water Works Association and the California Water Environment Association.

Since its inception in 2019, the program has certified over 200 drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment and water reuse operators. Metropolitan's nine operators who have completed the certification program also were recognized during the presentation.

Metropolitan awarded for satellite monitoring of algal blooms in lakes

Principal Limnologist Seyoum Gebremariam, IT Architect Jonathan Houck, and Senior IT GIS Analyst Seth Potter

A digital dashboard that uses satellite-based data to monitor cyanobacterial blooms in lakes has received commendation from the Center for Digital Government. Developed by Metropolitan's Information Technology and Water System Operations staff, the Lake Explorer Dashboard allows water-quality analysts to track the extent and intensity of the blooms.

Read the press release on the 2023 Government Experience Awards. 

Metropolitan employees recognized for advocacy, commitment to water quality

The dedication of Metropolitan’s staff was on display in awards ceremonies from multiple California water associations this month. Rupam Soni was named the 2023 Recycled Water Advocate of the Year by WateReuse California, while Edgar Dymally was presented with the 18th Annual Emissary Award at the Association of California Water Agencies Fall Conference.

A team manager for community relations, Rupam Soni was named the 2023 Recycled Water Advocate of the Year for her leadership in community outreach efforts for the Pure Water Southern California program and her advocacy of potable reuse at local, regional and state levels.

Watch a highlight reel.

A senior environmental scientist and current chair of ACWA's Water Quality Committee, Edgar Dymally was presented with the 18th annual ACWA Emissary Award for being a collaborative and respected voice on issues related to drinking water quality.

Read the press release.

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