December 21, 2023

Metropolitan wishes you a beautiful holiday season and a snowy new year

2023 MWD Holiday Card

Metropolitan board hosts historic meeting at Gene Camp

L to R: Metropolitan Director Cynthia Kurtz; Metropolitan Director Glen Peterson; Metropolitan Director John Morris; Metropolitan Director Gloria Cordero; Metropolitan board Vice Chair Michael Camacho; Metropolitan Director Dennis Erdman; Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil; Metropolitan Director Desi Alvarez; Metropolitan board Chair Adán Ortega, Jr.; Metropolitan Director Marty Miller; Metropolitan Director Tana McCoy; and Metropolitan Director Anthony Fellow.

For the first time since the surveying and construction of the Colorado River Aqueduct nearly 100 years ago, Metropolitan’s Board of Directors held their monthly meeting at the district’s field headquarters and desert base operations center for the Colorado River Aqueduct.

In compliance with state laws, a quorum of Metropolitan board members convened simultaneously on Dec. 5 at Metropolitan’s Gene Camp near the start of the CRA at Parker Dam and Lake Havasu and the district’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters.

Chairwoman of the Colorado River Indian Tribes Amelia Flores addressing Metropolitan's board.

Among the items discussed during the meeting was an update on housing improvements at Metropolitan’s desert facilities. Amelia Flores, chair of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, initiated the meeting with the invocation. "We've now come to a point where native peoples, tribal nations, need to be involved as we go forward planning out the river and the solutions to keep this river flowing," she said. "We have a lot of work to do together."

Bureau of Reclamation, California water users sign historic agreements to protect the Colorado River

Metropolitan recently joined the Imperial Irrigation District, San Diego County Water Authority, Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe, Palo Verde Irrigation District, Coachella Valley Water District and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to sign agreements pledging to conserve up to 1.6 million acre-feet of water in Lake Mead through the end of 2026. 

Signed on Dec. 12 during the Colorado River Water Users Association annual conference in Las Vegas, the agreements are part of the 3 million acre-feet of system conservation commitments made by Lower Basin states, including 2.3 million acre-feet funded under the federal Inflation Reduction Act. The resulting water savings will significantly reduce the chances of lakes Powell and Mead falling below critical elevations. Lake Mead is about 40 feet higher than it was projected to be at this time last year.

“This collaborative effort, including federal financial support and Metropolitan’s commitment to leave more than 400,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Mead this year, will help stabilize the reservoir while we negotiate longer-term solutions,” said Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil. “There is much work ahead. Building lasting solutions will take even greater partnership and investment from us all.”

Read the press release from the Colorado River Board of California.

State Water Project announces initial allocation for 2024

Lake Oroville Water Level as of December 2023, courtesy of DWR.

With California’s water year off to a dry start, the California Department of Water Resources announced an initial allocation of 10% of requested State Water Project supplies for 2024. The December 1 initial water supply forecast is the first allocation of the new water year. So far in October and November, storms have not brought as much rain and snow as in a normal start to the year.

It is not uncommon for the initial allocation forecast to be low following very wet years. As the winter progresses and California sees an increase in rain and snow, the forecast may increase. Southern California typically gets about 30% of its annual supplies from Northern California via the SWP.

“Regardless of the weather, we can never take our water supplies for granted. For Californians, that means being as water efficient as possible, every day,” said General Manager Hagekhalil. “For water managers, it means making strategic investments to help our communities adapt to climate change. That is precisely what Metropolitan is doing.”

Read the full statement.

New state regulations approved for direct potable reuse of recycled water that has undergone advanced purification

In a unanimous vote aimed at protecting public health while increasing California’s future climate resiliency, the State Water Resources Control Board has approved new regulations for the direct potable reuse of recycled water. While California has relied on recycled water for irrigation and groundwater replenishment for decades, the newly approved regulations outline additional advanced purification processes and monitoring that recycled water must undergo to make it safe for direct integration into drinking water systems. 

“We’re grateful to the state board for taking this important step that advances water reuse to the next level while making public health and safety a top priority. These new regulations give water managers a critical new tool as we confront the challenges of climate change,” said General Manager Hagekhalil. “Not only will these new regulations help advance large-scale water recycling projects already in development, like Pure Water Southern California, they will enable water managers across the state to consider new projects that have not yet been contemplated.”

Read the full statement, and see our Pure Water Southern California webpage to learn more about our innovative advanced water purification process.

Final Environmental Impact Report for Delta Conveyance Project released

Marking a significant milestone in the state’s effort to address the impacts that climate change is exacting on California’s water supply, DWR recently released the Final Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Delta Conveyance Project. The proposed project would modernize the state’s water system in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by featuring two new intakes and a tunnel that would minimize impacts to the community and provide greater seismic resilience.

The EIR will allow Metropolitan to conduct its own analyses and beginning in mid-2024 evaluate the potential costs and benefits of the project in support of the board’s decision-making process.

“The Delta Conveyance Project can be part of a balanced, holistic solution that includes capturing, conveying and storing water available during high flows, for use when it is dry,” said General Manager Hagekhalil. “Metropolitan will further assess the DCP through its Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water, which will guide all of our investments in infrastructure, conservation and new supplies in the years to come.”

Read the full statement, and see our updated DCP webpage for more information.

Student artists honored for selection in Metropolitan’s 2024 student art calendar

Thirty-seven kindergarten through 12th-grade students, representing 26 member and retail agencies throughout Southern California, were recognized for their inclusion in the 35th annual “Water is Life” 2024 calendar.

The talent and creativity of these student artists will be displayed through their artwork at Metropolitan’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters through January, and travel to participating member agencies throughout the year.

View the 2024 calendar.

During the Dec. 14 virtual event, students heard welcome remarks from Chair Adán Ortega, Jr.

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