January 26, 2024

Metropolitan launches construction of new water tunnel, celebrates student who named machinery

Contest winner Jessica Wang, center with flowers, poses in front of the Rachel Carson Tunnel Boring Machine

alongside her third-grade classmates and teachers from Victoriano Elementary.

A tunnel boring machine that will help complete a water pipeline to serve growing western Riverside County communities is now named for 20th century environmentalist Rachel Carson, thanks to third-grade Moreno Valley student Jessica Wang. Wang’s submission was chosen by Metropolitan in a recent contest open to students in grades 3-12 at local schools.

Metropolitan launched the tunnel project and celebrated the winning name on Thursday at the March Field Air Museum. The new mile-long portion of the Perris Valley Pipeline is being installed under the museum, starting with the tunnel excavation by the 13-ton, 16.5-foot-long machine, newly named by Wang.

L to R: Metropolitan board Director Jeff Armstrong, Victoriano Elementary teacher Raissa Jeffery, Metropolitan GM Adel Hagekhalil, contest winner Jessica Wang, Metropolitan board Director Brenda Dennstedt and Metropolitan Chief Engineer John Bednarski

The Rachel Carson Tunnel Boring Machine will begin excavating the tunnel for the pipeline extension in early February, moving 30-40 feet per day. The pipeline currently delivers water to communities in western Riverside County. The new tunnel will expand the delivery of water to these communities.

“This student involvement reminds us that our future relies on the fresh ideas and innovation of our next generation. I applaud our youth for engaging with us and learning about the importance of their local water infrastructure,” said Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil. “Through our infrastructure investments, Metropolitan is ensuring safe and reliable water for all, with no one left behind, while uplifting our communities.”

Read the press release.

First snow survey of 2024 reveals below-average conditions

Photo courtesy of DWR.

Following a relatively dry start to California’s water year, the Department of Water Resources conducted its first manual snow survey of the season at Philips Station. Results of the Jan. 2 survey revealed three inches of snow water equivalent, representing 30% of the annual average for this Northern Sierra location.

With strong El Niño conditions continuing in the Pacific and statewide reservoirs still at above-average levels following last year’s exceptionally wet winter, the outlook for the remainder of California’s 2024 water year remains uncertain.

“Though our state’s snowpack is below normal for this time of year, there’s still time in the coming months for additional storms to build a healthy snowpack,” said General Manager Hagekhalil. “But the reality that the weather whiplash can quickly swing us from a wet year to a dry year requires us to be prepared should 2024 remain dry.”

Read the full statement.

Metropolitan hosts Delta Counties Coalition delegation for tour of local and regional Southern California projects

2024 Delta Counties Coalition Visit

As part of an ongoing discussion on how to work together to achieve a resilient water supply for all of California with minimal impact to the environment, Metropolitan hosted representatives from the Delta Counties Coalition for a tour of current and future water projects in the Southland.

The delegation, which included Delta Counties supervisors, visited Diamond Valley Lake, the Grace F. Napolitano Pure Water Southern California Innovation Center in Carson and several other stops across Metropolitan's service area, from Jan. 16-18.

Metropolitan’s Diamond Valley Lake is most visited location on regional augmented-reality platform 

Diamond Valley Lake is the most popular destination amongst Southern California parks and recreation destinations on the interactive educational platform SoCal Explorer 5.0. The augmented-reality mobile application, hosted by Agents of Discovery, creates interactive experiences for users by inviting them to complete location-based missions.

The application is incorporated into Metropolitan’s education field trip program at Diamond Valley Lake, where students learn about Southern California’s largest reservoir and where their water comes from.

Watch a highlight reel and learn more about Metropolitan field trips.

Metropolitan partners with KBLA Talk 1580 on climate justice campaign

Metropolitan is partnering with KBLA Talk 1580 for a historic 12-month, $2 million climate justice campaign that aims to include voices of communities of color in the climate conversation, increase climate health literacy, connect at-risk citizens with advocacy groups and highlight climate leaders of color.

The campaign, launched during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, will include climate-themed broadcasts and special programs over the next year.

KBLA 1580 Climate Justice Campaign Launch

Photo courtesy of KBLA Talk 1580.

“This sponsorship reflects Metropolitan’s commitment to bring everyone across our diverse region into the conversation about water and the need to conserve and invest in this precious resource to ensure it is accessible to all communities,” said Metropolitan Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Liji Thomas.

Learn more about the climate justice campaign.

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