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December 2011
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2011 - The Year in Review

Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada

For Metropolitan, 2011 was a year of accomplishments based on a legacy of smart, long-term planning and strong collaborative efforts that has left Metropolitan well-positioned to take advantage of drought-breaking rain and snowfall the past winter and spring in the Sierra Nevada and the Colorado River watershed.

As a result, Metropolitan will begin 2012 with historic levels of water reserves of more than 3.0 million acre feet of water storage. This includes a full Diamond Valley Lake, which two years ago was more than half depleted.

Diamond Valley Lake Inlet Outlet Tower

In fact, sound planning and the benefits of Metropolitan's past and current water management decisions have allowed the district to assemble a 14-fold increase in storage capacity since the 1990s.

More broadly, Metropolitan's ongoing planning efforts and key programs have allowed the district to achieve its underlying goal of providing a reliable water supply for the 19 million people living in its six-county Southern California service area and supporting the region's $1 trillion economy. Key programs include underground water banking in the Central Valley, water transfer agreements and infrastructure improvements, particularly the Inland Feeder and Lake Mead storage.

The wet year allowed the lifting of mandatory water supply restrictions adopted by the Board of Directors two years ago. Metropolitan's 26 member agencies and residents throughout the service area responded to the call to reduce water use, with all member agencies meeting or exceeding conservation targets.

Examples of Member Agency Water Saving Programs

Metropolitan's Board also maximized the improved imported supply conditions by making 225,000 acre feet available as replenishment water to member agencies with available capacity in groundwater basins to help restock aquifers that were drawn down in recent years.

The district's commitment to water planning in the face of varying circumstances, such as changing climate patterns and environmental regulations and restrictions that impact the availability of water supplies, was reflected in Metropolitan's Long-Term Conservation Plan adopted by the board of directors in August. The conservation plan and the Updated Integrated Water Resources Plan, approved in 2010, emphasize water use efficiency and local resource development as a means of meeting increased water needs for the next 25 years.

These efforts anchor Metropolitan's strategic planning and collaboration with its member agencies to support and promote conservation and water use efficiency, as the Southland prepares to meet the statewide goal of reducing water use by 20 percent by 2020.

On another front, Metropolitan continues to play a key role in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan process that will identify a long-term solution for water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Sacramento - San Joaquin Delta

The BDCP is a comprehensive state-federal strategy to comply with the Endangered Species Act that includes public water agencies such as Metropolitan. This collaborative effort also includes the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Reclamation, the state Natural Resources Agency, the California Department of Water Resources, environmental groups, conservation organizations and other interest groups. The BDCP is slated to reach key planning milestones in 2012.

Long Term Water Resources Planning Goals

The combination of these efforts: Metropolitan's long-term planning strategy, implementation of key water supply and delivery programs, the wet year and the prospect of moving toward a balanced solution in the Delta, leave Metropolitan, its member agencies and the 19 million residents in Southern California in a positive position as 2011 concludes and the New Year begins.



This newsletter is produced by:
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
700 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012