Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
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Colorado River Cooperation: Maintaining Lake Mead
Feb. 4, 2015
By General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger

Metropolitan was formed back in 1928 to bring a reliable supply of Colorado River water to the fast-growing Southland. Today the river represents about 25 percent of Southern California’s overall water supply. It is and will continue to be an essential baseline supply for the region, as it is for water agencies in seven western states and the Republic of Mexico. A recently signed agreement is an encouraging sign that the states and interests in the lower Colorado basin that depend on this supply can work together, cooperatively, toward long-term solutions.

The level of Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam has dropped in recent years, a result of an unprecedented 14-year overall drought on the river. In December Metropolitan entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with other key Lower Basin water interests: The federal Bureau of Reclamation, the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the Arizona Department of Water Resources, the Colorado River Board of California and the Colorado River Commission of Nevada.

The MOU calls for pilot drought response actions with the goal of developing between 1.5 and 3 million acre-feet of water between now and 2019 with the goal of protecting Lake Mead from reaching critically low reservoir levels. Metropolitan, for example, will use best efforts to create 300,000 acre-feet of storage between now and 2017. Central Arizona, 345,000 acre-feet. Reclamation, 50,000 acre-feet.  Options for developing these supplies include the development of new conservation programs, reductions in water use, reductions in off-stream storage of Colorado River water and other actions.

The MOU is intended to show that new programs are possible and that cooperative agreements among the states are powerful management tools for the Colorado River. Working together is a key ingredient to making sure the river can meet its many missions.


Archived Blogs

Nov. 10, 2014 - A Water Tunnel on Time and Under Budget

Oct. 8, 2014 - Latest on BDCP: Some “Hard-Earned Progress”

Aug. 21, 2014 - Water Supply Conditions: Into the “Yellow”

June 18, 2014 - On Several Fronts, Promising Signs of Water Progress

May 22, 2014 - Conservation: Lowering Use is Key in Warm Weather

Mar. 13, 2014 - Ops: Surviving the 1977 Drought

Feb. 24, 2014 - Surviving a Zero Allocation – Leave it to the “Ops” team

Jan. 16, 2014 - What MET's Looking for

Dec. 17, 2013 - Water Progress in Northern California

Nov. 1, 2013 - A State Water Action Plan That Fits the Times

Oct. 23, 2013 - It’s dry out there, so watch your water use

Page updated: February 4, 2015