Sunrise over Union Station. Photo by Sal Vazquez.
A weekly newsletter by and for Metropolitan employees
September 4, 2018
Banking on Our SWP Groundwater Programs
Metropolitan imports water via the State Water Project and Colorado River Aqueduct, and Southern California relies on local sources to make up much of the difference.

But adding to this reliable water portfolio is the State Water Project groundwater banking programs, including five projects Metropolitan uses outside our service area. Three are in the Central Valley and two are in the high desert along the East Branch of the California Aqueduct. 

These natural underground reservoirs help manage demands. “With these programs, we can take surplus conditions when they exist and convert to dry year reliability,” WRM’s Supply Acquisition Manager James Bodnar told the Board’s Water Planning and Stewardship Committee in a presentation last month. “They are a valuable asset in our water portfolio.” Click here to view the full presentation.

To date, these five projects have recovered about 1.1 million acre-feet of water to meet Southern California's needs. The programs are like having another Diamond Valley Lake in terms of the amount of water that can be stored and recovered for use in droughts or emergencies.

To highlight the value of the banks, James reminded the directors of a 2016 failure of a section of the California Aqueduct. To make repairs, water in that section of the aqueduct stopped flowing. Groundwater banks provide downstream storage to help avoid interruptions in water supplies. The program is also cost effective. At about $300 per acre-foot including ‘put,’ ‘take,’ and energy costs for pumping, they are less expensive than many other sources of supply. 
WSIP Project at Cedars-Sinai Lands in Spotlight
Sometimes the water-saving ideas we’re looking for are right below our feet. With that message, Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti and officials from Metropolitan and Los Angeles DWP celebrated a new groundwater treatment system at Cedars-Sinai hospital made possible with Met's support.

Due to a high groundwater basin under the hospital, Cedars-Sinai for years pumped groundwater and dumped it into the sewer to prevent seepage and maintain the building’s integrity.

With the new treatment system, the water now gets pumped through filters that clean it so it can be used by the massive cooling towers and air conditioning system in the hospital. The project was honored earlier this year with the Water Efficiency Project of the Year  award from the LA Better Building Council.

The project will receive about $168,000 from Metropolitan’s Water Savings Incentive Program, which encourages conservation at businesses and industrial facilities by providing a cash incentive for water-saving technologies and devices.   The program is one among many in Metropolitan’s $43 million annual effort to help Southern California conserve water. 

At an August 23 press event, Mayor Garcetti and Brad Coffey , Water Resources Management Group Manager, praised the project as a great example for other businesses. Held on the rooftop of the hospital’s Taper Imaging Center, the event was attended by officials from Cedars-Sinai and LADWP, which contributed $155,000 to the project.

Playing the Part on Stage and at Metropolitan
Legislative Services Section Manager Nathan Purkiss grew up in a theater household. His dad was a Director at Orange Coast College and Nathan often performed in plays and musicals. After getting a theater degree from NYU, he moved to Hollywood and had parts in local theater, film and television including a Beach Boys video and a small part in the soap, “The Young and the Restless.”

Nathan left Hollywood for a job with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. There, his work focused on the Hetch Hetchy water system and securing legislative permit approvals for a Water System Improvement Program. In 2012, he came to work at Metropolitan.

Moving from a Northern California agency to Southern California might seem like a big departure in world views, but Nathan has found many similarities in the goals of both agencies. “What I found most striking about Metropolitan's support for California WaterFix was how similar the project is to some of the issues I worked on in San Francisco,” he said. “It’s about investing in systems that ensure reliability for the future needs of the regions, and communicating the information to divers and different audiences.”

In his spare time, Nathan now works on another ‘live art’ side of the film industry at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Animation and Game Technology. He is a lead environmental artist for an interactive online game called 'City of Titans' set for launch in December 2018. Nathan specializes in 3D architecture and he has built multiple environments that will be featured in the game.
New hires, transfers, promotions & retirements 
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