The state's latest Sierra snow survey recorded 131 inches of snow, double the previous month,
Photo by California Dept. of Water Resources
A weekly newsletter by and for Metropolitan employees
March 25, 2019
Seven States Sign
Drought Contingency Plan
It was years in the making and came down to the wire, but thanks in large part to Metropolitan’s leadership, the seven states in the Colorado River Basin have approved a Drought Contingency Plan. The plan will help ensure the river’s sustainability, and provides a bridge solution as work continues to address longer-term challenges that strain the river.

Brenda Burman, Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (and former Metropolitan employee) made the announcement last Tuesday after meeting with state representatives in Phoenix. Congressional hearings on the DCP begin this week in the House and the Senate.

Many credited the action of Metropolitan’s board as the linchpin that allowed the deal to finally come together. The plan’s future became uncertain after the Imperial Irrigation District, which has largest entitlement to the river’s water, did not approve the agreement. 

With a federal deadline looming, Metropolitan's board, in a unanimous vote at the March meeting, agreed to contribute additional water to Lake Mead, if necessary, to keep the deal alive.

This contribution, together with those from other water agencies and states, are a key element of the plan to prevent Lake Mead and Lake Powell, from hitting critically low levels.

“As historic drought and climate change have caused the river’s reservoirs to reach record lows, we’ve worked with other states and agencies to find a way to put the river on a path of sustainability,” GM Kightlinger said in a statement following the announcement. “And now we are asking Congress to support this path of collaboration and collective commitment to protect the Colorado River.
What's Lurking at the Bottom of Lake Mead?
Speaking of Lake Mead, it's the largest reservoir in the United States. If full, it would measure 112 miles long. But what’s at the bottom of the lake might be just as amazing.

In 1948, a B-29 Superfortress, a massive four-engine plane developed as a bomber for World War II, crashed into the water and has stayed there ever since. You've probably never heard of it because it was kept classified by the U.S. government for 50 years. 

The bomber was conducting a top-secret operation, testing missile guidance systems for the escalating Cold War. It was returning to California from the Grand Canyon when it had engine issues. As the plane dropped in altitude, the glassy surface of Lake Mead made it difficult for the pilots to know how close they were. They hit the water - skipping across the lake like a stone. Luckily, the crew of five survived and made it to shore in life rafts.

Today, the Superfortress lives 170 feet below the surface only to be seen by divers willing to brave the cold, pitch-black water at the bottom of the lake. The plane appears intact, minus some damage from the crash. 

However, one unforeseen threat to the plane is the appearance of Quagga mussels, which have thrived at the crash site, attaching themselves to the B-29. 

Because the plane is in the recreational area of the lake, it’s the responsibility of the National Park Service, who regularly employs divers to assess its condition. Want to learn more? Below is a video produced by the NPS.
Support for All Things SCADA
Chuck Lane is one of Metropolitan's experts when it comes to SCADA – the supervisory control and data acquisition system that controls everything from water treatment to distribution to data collection.

“When people think SCADA, they often think of Chuck Lane ,” says Water Treatment Section Manager Heather Collins .

Chuck left the aerospace industry in 1987 to join Met as an electrician at Lake Skinner.
He began working as a SCADA technician about two years into his career, before being promoted into a SCADA engineering position.

In that role, he provided technical system support to teams across the district. At the same time, he continued advancing his education. After six years of classes and passing two eight-hour exams, Chuck became a licensed professional engineer in control systems.  

“I like solving problems and fixing things that are broken,” Chuck said. “At Met, I feel like I’m a part of something that’s very important for a thriving Southern California.”

In 2016, Chuck was promoted to a team manager in Water System Operations. He manages seven instrumentation and control technicians who are responsible for control systems, including the instrumentation that collects water quality and regulatory data at the Mills Treatment Plant and its surrounding facilities.

Although he’s no longer on the SCADA team that manages Met's global system, Chuck is still leaned upon heavily, Heather said. She also praised his collaborative management style.

In his free time, the father of seven and grandfather of 17 enjoys volunteering at church and traveling with his wife of 22 years in their motor home. 
New hires, transfers, promotions & retirements are posted here each month.   
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