October 26, 2023

Metropolitan celebrates first water deliveries to High Desert Water Bank 

On Monday, Metropolitan and the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency celebrated the completion of the first stage of the High Desert Water Bank in Lancaster. A collaboration between the two agencies, the project represents Metropolitan’s largest investment in groundwater storage to date. Once operating at full capacity, the water bank will provide Metropolitan an additional storage capacity of 280,000 acre-feet of water, which is comparable in size to Castaic Lake, nearly double the size of Lake Perris and four times the capacity of Big Bear Lake.

The water bank also provides Metropolitan the ability to store up to 70,000 acre-feet in wet years and draw up to 70,000 acre-feet in dry ones. That’s enough water to serve the annual needs of 210,000 Southern California households. 

L to R: AVEK GM Matt Knudson; AVEK Chair George Lane; Metropolitan Chair Adán Ortega, Jr.; Metropolitan GM Adel Hagekhalil

Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil said the water bank exemplifies the investment and partnership-driven approach that Metropolitan is taking to ensure water supply reliability in a changing climate. “This is smart water management,” Hagekhalil said. “This is the future of water management in the 21st century.”

Read the press release.

“This investment makes all our communities better prepared for the weather extremes that we increasingly confront. We know that climate change will bring more of the dramatic swings between wet and dry that we saw over the last few years, so we must take every opportunity to store water when it is available. 

Metropolitan board Chair Adán Ortega, Jr.

Lower Basin States announce record-setting water conservation in 2023

Lake Mead water level as of July 2023,

courtesy of USBR.

The Bureau of Reclamation on Wednesday released a revised draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement as part of efforts to update the operating guidelines for the Colorado River. The report indicated that the wet year and commitments by the Lower Basin States to cut water use is enough for now to address the Colorado River system.

Prior to Wednesday’s release, the Arizona Department of Water Resources, the Colorado River Board of California and the Southern Nevada Water Authority announced on Oct. 19 that Arizona, Nevada and California are on track to voluntarily conserve more than 1 million acre-feet of water from the Colorado River in 2023. The water conserved by these three states is being stored in Lake Mead for the benefit of the entire Colorado River system.

By the end of 2023, California will contribute 700,000 acre-feet to this collective voluntary conservation effort. “California is committed to leading with our water users, Basin States and Basin Tribes to ensure the sustainability of the Colorado River now and into the future,” said J.B. Hamby, California’s Colorado River commissioner and chairman of the Colorado River Board of California.

Read the press release.

Metropolitan celebrates 20th anniversary of Quantification Settlement Agreement 

Metropolitan board members and staff earlier this month celebrated the 20th anniversary of the 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement between Metropolitan, the Imperial Irrigation District and Coachella Valley Water District for the Colorado River.

The QSA, which mandated an 800,000 acre-feet reduction in California’s yearly apportionment from the Colorado River, facilitated water transfers and exchanges between farms and cities, funded the lining of the All-American and Coachella canals to help reduce seepage and led to new agricultural conservation in California and partnerships Metropolitan.

Metropolitan directors and staff celebrate

the 20th anniversary of the QSA on Oct. 9.

These innovative early partnerships established a successful model for multi-agency and multi-state collaboration. Learn more about Metropolitan’s collaborative partnerships with agricultural and tribal stakeholders, as well as our commitment to the long-term sustainability of the Colorado River.

Gov. Newsom signs Metropolitan’s co-sponsored AB 1572 into law

On Oct. 14, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law

AB 1572, state legislation banning the use of potable water for the irrigation of non-functional turf on commercial, industrial, municipal and institutional properties. Introduced by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Burbank), the bill was co-sponsored by Metropolitan, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Heal the Bay. The bill exempts multi-family residential properties, properties that irrigate decorative or non-functional turf using recycled water and turf used for recreational purposes.

“Today California embarks on a new chapter for water supply resiliency,” said General Manager Hagekhalil. “Up to 70 percent of all water used in Southern California is for outdoor irrigation, much of it on lawns that are never walked on or played on. We can no longer use our precious water resources on grass that serves no functional purpose.”

Read the press release.

Metropolitan’s Dual Certification Water-Efficient Landscaper Program

receives 2023 WaterSense Excellence Award from EPA

Metropolitan earned its first WaterSense Excellence Award from the U.S. Environment Protection Agency for the growth of its dual certification water-efficient landscaper program.

Developed through a partnership with the California Landscape Contractors’ Association, this one-of-a-kind program offers landscape professionals the opportunity to obtain two nationally recognized EPA WaterSense professional certifications through one course and one written test: the CLCA Water Management Certification Program and the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper Program. Participation has doubled in each of the first three years of this program’s existence, with Metropolitan certifying 270 landscape professionals to date.

Metropolitan Resource Specialist

Krista Guerrero accepts the award.

”Thanks to this program, hundreds of landscaping professionals are now equipped with industry-leading, water-efficient landscape training to help create more sustainable and resilient communities throughout Southern California,” said Metropolitan Resources Specialist Krista Guerrero accepting the award on

Oct. 5.


Read the EPA’s press release.

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