A golden morning at Gene Camp, taken on this week's employee inspection trip.
Photo by Teresa Gonzalez .
A weekly newsletter by and for Metropolitan employees
January 21, 2020
A Partnership for Colorado River Sustainability
Last month, Metropolitan signed a landmark, seven-year seasonal land fallowing agreement with Bard Water District that will provide Colorado River water to California cities and farms.

Bard Water District is in the southeastern corner of California, bordering Yuma, Arizona. It receives Colorado River water, which is diverted from the All-American Canal.

After completing a successful voluntary seasonal fallowing pilot program in 2016 and 2017, Metropolitan proposed a long-term seasonal fallowing agreement with Bard that will run through 2026. Under the agreement, Bard farmers will be paid not to grow water-intensive crops from April through July. The water that is saved will be made available to Metropolitan.

Metropolitan will pay $452 per fallowed acre - up to $1.4 million annually – with 75% of the payments going to farmers and 25% to Bard Water District to improve its water delivery system.

This agreement means Metropolitan now has partnerships in place with every agricultural entity in California that uses Colorado River water including Imperial Irrigation District, Palo Verde Irrigation District, Coachella Valley Water District and the Quechan Indian Tribe.

“This agreement is an innovative approach to preserve California agriculture while ensuring water reliability for our urban communities,” according to GM Kightlinger .

The program will make up to 6,000 acre-feet of water available each year for Met’s service area. That's enough for about 18,000 households.
The Year in Review: 2018/19 Annual Report
The 2019 Annual Report is out, capping another busy year for Metropolitan.

Covering the 2018/19 fiscal year, the report touches upon the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan, the election of Chairwoman Gloria Gray, the success of popular conservation rebates, progress on the Regional Recycled Water Advanced Purification Center, operations and repair projects, stewardship activities and major additions to Metropolitan's water storage reserves.

The 2019 hardcovers that were distributed to directors and executive staff last week had a new twist – a full-color dust-jacket (designed by Irma Macias of the Graphic Design Team) that featured a picture of Diamond Valley Lake. The dust jacket will make it easier to distinguish copies from each other. The limited softcover “blue books” have retained their sky-blue shade.

External Affairs' Thair Peterson and Administrative Services' Marva Farrar led the project.

An electronic, fully-searchable version of the Annual Report is here .

The report lists each member agency and sub-agency, and directors who have served on the board. With chapters broken down by groups, the report covers water deliveries and transactions, Delta and Colorado River issues, water transfers and local resources. There are also chapters devoted to engineering, legal and financial issues, outreach, legislation, administration, real estate, technology, human resources, audit and ethics.

Meanwhile, a project is underway to put the entire collection of Annual Reports online. Stay tuned. 
Talk About a Metropolitan Power Couple
Between them, Manny and Veronica Villarreal have more than 55 years of service to Metropolitan and both have vitally important roles at the desert facilities. 

“Our families knew each other but  Manny had to ask his boss (who was my father) if we could date,” Veronica jokes. “We were married just six months later and recently celebrated our 24th anniversary.”

Veronica is Guest Services Team Manager serving all desert facilities from Intake to Hinds. She coordinates logistics, meals and lodging for other teams, arrangements for board inspection trips as well as visits by employees, officials and others. “I strive to make everyone’s experience memorable with great customer service, great meals and of course - you can’t forget the cookies!” she says.  Veronica has been with Metropolitan for 25 years, but her connection goes back even further - her dad (now retired) was the O&M Supervisor at Gene Camp. And her special brand of hospitality also extends outside of work - she loves to entertain and cook for her large family.

Manny , a 30-year Met employee, is an O&M Tech IV on the desert’s coating team which helps protect equipment from the harsh desert conditions. Manny started as a utility worker at the Iron Mountain pumping plant in the 1980s. One of his first projects was the CRA pump rehabilitation program. Now, he’s working on the next phase of CRA rehabilitation, coming full circle. His craftsmanship is also evident in his skilled work on desert housing, concrete repairs and other projects in the CRA pipelines and canals. 

“Despite working together, we can leave work at work, and reflect on the many blessing bestowed upon us,” says Veronica
New hires, transfers, promotions & retirements are posted here each month.
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