Adel Hagekhalil, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, issues the following statement on the Department of Water Resources’ announcement today of a zero percent initial State Water Project allocation:
“The conditions on the State Water Project are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. While we certainly hope they improve, we must be prepared for the reality that the state project may not have any water to allocate in 2022. Parts of Southern California depend on this supply almost exclusively for their water. We are working with our member agencies serving those communities – in parts of Ventura and northern Los Angeles counties as well as the Inland Empire – to make sure residents and businesses understand the severity and complexity of the situation and are responding by reducing their water use as much as necessary. At the same time, Metropolitan will continue doing everything we can to get water from other sources to these communities.
“Metropolitan’s board last month declared a drought emergency in anticipation of the zero percent allocation. While Southern California’s diverse supply portfolio means other parts of our region can turn to water from the Colorado River and local sources during this time, the dramatic reduction of our Northern California supplies means we all must step up our conservation efforts. Earlier this year, Gov. Newsom asked all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15 percent. We all need to keep working toward this goal. Reduce the amount you are watering outside by a day, or two. Take shorter showers. Fix leaks. If we all do our part, we’ll get through this together.”
“Climate change is creating a new normal. Looking ahead, we need to increase our investments in water efficiency, recycling and storage. Southern California has done a lot, but we need to do more. And we can’t do it alone. We need our state and federal partners to help accelerate these investments through a coordinated strategy for resilient, integrated and balanced water management. We are one.”
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative that, along with its 26 cities and retail suppliers, provide water for 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.