Last week, staff from HR and Engineering were temporarily relocated to the wing at HQ as seismic upgrade work continues. More information on construction impacts and the move schedule for other staff is available on the Intramet.
A weekly newsletter by and for Metropolitan employees
January 27, 2020
Underwater Inspection Game Changer
CRA Plant Engineer Jessica Lowe  contained her grin as she watched the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) lowered into the tank at the top of the Hinds Pumping Plant delivery lines in December as part of a pilot project.

The new technology was discovered through Met’s Technology Approval Group (TAG) program. “This inspection will be much easier than strapping on a harness and being lowered down the pipe,” says Lowe .

One initial task in the CRA Delivery Line Rehabilitation Project is to visually inspect each pipe. Traditional methods involve being lowered into the steep portions of the pipes with climbing gear. According to materials engineers Armen Kutyan and Jason Pagenkopp , who perform these inspections, “properly assessing the crown of the pipe while being suspended in the dark is challenging.”

Metropolitan invited staff from the Central Arizona Project, CLEAN-17 partnership, and the CA Department of Water Resources to observe. “We always look to Metropolitan when it comes to innovation,” said Chris Buller, a DWR engineer.

The ROV technology uses an unmanned maneuverable underwater robot to collect ultra-high definition visual data. The ROV is tethered with an umbilical fiber optic cable that carries power through an array of lighting, sensors and cameras and transmits video to the operator. Complex algorithms filter turbidity and deliver 360º georeferenced photogrammetry to materials and pipeline engineers.

Delta Conveyance, Water Portfolio Plans Unveiled
Two major initiatives that will shape the future of California water management are now moving forward at the state level.

Governor Newsom has restarted plans to modernize Delta conveyance with the preparation of an environmental impact report for the proposed project. This is the first step under the CEQA process and will include several public scoping meetings to get input, including one in downtown Los Angeles on February 5.

The proposed project is a single underground tunnel with two intakes that together have a total diversion capacity of 6,000 cubic feet-per-second. Alternatives will be identified that evaluate a range of capacities.

Metropolitan supports improvements to the State Water Project in the Delta to make it more resilient to recurring drought and flooding, protect against earthquakes, and ensure a reliable water supply for Southern California.

The State's second project is the release of the draft Water Resiliency Portfolio , a collection of actions to ensure long-term water resilience and ecosystem health.

Portfolio Program Director Nancy Vogel spoke at the Met board’s Conservation and Local Resources Committee earlier this month, thanking Metropolitan for "its comprehensive and substantive comments” during the stakeholder input. “I hope you will see Met’s priorities” reflected in the document, she told the audience.
Time in Peace Corps Provided New Perspective
There was a time when WRM’s George Nishikawa lived on about 15 gallons of water per week. Laundry often was the last priority after cooking, cleaning and bathing while he served in South Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. It was a three-year stint following undergraduate studies in microbiology followed by six years working for the county of San Diego.

Peace Corps service is in George’s lineage. He is the fifth in his family to serve. During his assignment, he worked in two South African villages, Vriesgevacht and Ingwavuma. He taught Math, English and Science and trained incoming volunteers. 

His school equipment was as sparse as his water supplies. “I had a small chalkboard, some chalk and one book for an entire class of about 40 students,” George said. He also had a copy machine that never worked.

As he ended his assignment in South Africa, he applied from his village for a graduate program on his iPhone 4. George received a dual masters at Indiana University in environmental science and public administration with a focus on water management. "I came home with a bigger appreciation of water and the people who have done the work to bring water to remote areas, he said.

In 2018, George landed his “dream job” working at Metropolitan as an assistant resource specialist in the imported supply unit. “I’m amazed at how smart everyone is,” he says, “and at the same time incredibly humble.” If you have served abroad, George would love to connect. Contact him here.
New hires, transfers, promotions & retirements are posted here each month.
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