Adel Hagekhalil, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, issues the following statement on the Bureau of Reclamation’s announcement today on the Basin States’ effort to develop a plan to reduce demands on the Colorado River by 2 to 4 million acre-feet:
General Manager Hagekhalil:
“The dire situation on the Colorado River requires an unprecedented response. Reducing water demands by 2 to 4 million acre-feet as Commissioner Touton requested is challenging, but further declines in Lake Mead’s elevation put all Lower Basin states in danger. We have worked earnestly with our colleagues in the basin to develop an aggressive but realistic plan to reduce demands. We’re not there yet, but we are committed to working with our partners to develop a viable plan. We have no choice. Building on our history of partnerships, with federal funding and Reclamation’s support, we will build reliability back into our Colorado River supplies with a workable and inclusive plan.
“We appreciate the Commissioner’s support today in giving us a limited extension to meet the goal and to provide resources to help us implement a plan. We also understand that if we don’t succeed, Reclamation will implement its own approach to stabilize Lake Mead and Lake Powell.
“As these discussions continue, we urgently call on everyone who relies on Colorado River water, including communities across Southern California, to prepare for reduced supplies from this source, permanently. This is not simply a drought that will end, allowing reservoir levels to recover on their own – this is a drying of the Colorado River Basin. We are all going to have to live with less. Working together, we know we can meet that challenge.”
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative that, along with its 26 cities and retail suppliers, provides 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.