Adel Hagekhalil, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, issues the following statement on the California Department of Water Resources’ announcement to decrease the State Water Project allocation to 5 percent.
“California is seeing drought conditions like we’ve never seen before – simply put, nature has changed faster than anything we expected. Today’s announcement by the state is another stark indicator of our increasingly stressed water supply and the gravity of the situation we are facing. On average, 30 percent of the water we use in Southern California comes from the State Water Project. But through three years of low allocations, we’re getting a fraction of what we used to receive – lower deliveries than any time in history.
“Unfortunately, so far the level of conservation we’re seeing from the public is not matching the severity of these conditions. We all need to take this drought more seriously and significantly step up our water-saving efforts to help preserve our dropping storage levels and ensure we have the water we need into the summer and fall. Some communities are particularly reliant on SWP supplies, including parts of Ventura, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. The residents and businesses in these communities especially need to reduce their water use immediately.
“While Metropolitan and its member agencies are making new supply investments that will help in future droughts, we need greater conservation now to get through these historic conditions. “We also need the partnership of the state and the federal government to create climate resilient local water supplies and storage to adapt to the changing climate.”
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.