Climate Action

Diamond Valley Lake at Dusk

Climate Action

Metropolitan isn’t just adapting to climate change as it comes, we’re taking important steps to keep it from worsening. We’ve joined state and local leaders to help minimize the effects of climate change by committing to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

Metropolitan adopted a Climate Action Plan in May 2022 to set a path to achieve the state's target goal of reducing GHG emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels and reach carbon neutrality by 2045.

The Climate Action Plan identifies actions to reduce Metropolitan’s carbon footprint in the face of climate change, increasing the district’s climate resiliency and energy independence while supporting California’s GHG reduction goals.

Metropolitan is committed to providing Annual Progress Reports on its climate action initiatives. Metropolitan's inaugural 2022 CAP Progress Report highlights Metropolitan achievements, and also features the 2021 GHG inventory.

Current projections using the Climate Action Plan are approching the target of reducing carbon dioxide

What is the Climate Action Plan?

The Climate Action Plan includes an inventory of Metropolitan’s historic and current GHG emissions, as well as a comprehensive forecast of future projected emissions. The data is used to identify feasible GHG reduction targets and measures to help Metropolitan achieve its goal. This long-term planning document guides Metropolitan's policy and planning decisions on operations, water resources, capital investments, and conservation and resource programs.  The plan also allows Metropolitan to streamline the environmental review process and mitigate GHG impacts for future capital projects under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Other key benefits:  

  • Integrates legislation and guidance from state, federal, and international sources
  • Saves Metropolitan money through energy efficiency
  • Provides dual benefit of improved operational resilience and air quality improvements

“The Climate Action Plan will ensure we are part of the solution to prevent further stresses to our climate.” 

Adel Hagekhalil, Metropolitan General Manager 

Metropolitan’s Carbon Budget

It takes a lot of energy to move water. That energy is used to transport water from our imported water sources located hundreds of miles away and to treat and distribute water throughout our service area.  Metropolitan’s GHG emissions fluctuate from year to year depending on the amount of water pumped from the Colorado River. Because pumping operations vary depending on need and availability each year, emissions in one year may not be representative of Metropolitan’s overall progress toward meeting its GHG emissions reduction targets. To account for this, Metropolitan tracks its emissions over time using a carbon budget.

How a CarbonBudget Works

To meet Metropolitan’s carbon neutrality goals, we set a GHG emissions budget, which is measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MT CO2e). This metric measures the amount of carbon dioxide and other gases that are being released into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.  As Metropolitan releases GHG emissions from our operations, those emissions deplete the carbon budget. In 2021, our carbon budget was 9 million MTCO2e, but we emitted about 5.3 million MTCO2e, demonstrating that our efforts to curb emissions are paying off.

View the Full Interactive Chart

Anticipating GHG Emissions Over Time

Recent drought years severely impacted deliveries of water to Metropolitan from the State Water Project, which carries water from Northern California to contractors throughout the state, including Metropolitan. To offset the loss of SWP supplies, Metropolitan pulled from stored reserves and increased deliveries from its Colorado River system.

By implementing some of the GHG reduction measures identified in the Climate Action Plan, Metropolitan significantly lowered emissions in comparison to previous years with similar pumping conditions and stayed well below its carbon budget overall. Some of the ways Metropolitan was able to do this included purchasing lower-carbon and carbon-free electricity, when available; developing carbon-free energy generation; improving energy efficiency; continuing water conservation efforts; and developing local water supplies.

View the Full Interactive Graph 

CAPDash logo

Track Our Progress

Metropolitan has partnered with CAPDashTM, a web-based tool that allows the public to view our progress toward our GHG emission reduction targets. Data is categorized by various strategies Metropolitan is employing, from operational fuel use to employee commuting, and is visualized in interactive charts and graphics that facilitate greater transparency.

Visit the Metropolitan CAPDashTM Portal

On the Path to Sustainability

Our Climate Action Plan helps us reach our goal of carbon neutrality, but we’ve been on the path for decades. Our environmental awareness began with our founding in 1928, when our planners and engineers designed the Colorado River Aqueduct to deliver water primarily by gravity across 242 miles of California desert to the state’s south coastal plain. Those same planners recognized the need for a reliable supply of power, investing in construction of Hoover Dam and Parker Dam, which together supply more than half of the energy needed today to power the CRA pumps with clean, carbon-free energy.

That same forward-thinking ingenuity imbues Metropolitan’s continued investments in clean energy and energy-efficient design to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar panels viewed from below at a Metropolitan facility
Opening day for an EV charging station at one of Metropolitan's facilities
Power lines running through the desert nearby Metropolitan's facilities

How To Get Involved

Visit this site for opportunities to join the conversation. Metropolitan plans to connect with the community during the Climate Action Plan process to share information and insights with interested individuals and organizations.


Follow Our Progress