Adel Hagekhalil, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and Gloria D. Gray, chairwoman of Metropolitan’s Board of Directors, issue the following statement on the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $4 billion for drought relief programs in the Colorado River Basin and elsewhere.
General Manager Hagekhalil:
“With drought and climate change threatening the water supply of more than 40 million people across the Southwest, this federal support is critical to help address the imbalance of the Colorado River. Through their efforts, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla are helping ensure that communities already struggling from the effects of climate change will have the water resources they need in the next few years, while we seek longer-term solutions. To keep Lake Mead from plummeting to even lower depths, Colorado River Basin water users need to immediately reduce their use of the river’s water. This funding will help that immediate need by funding fallowing programs and system efficiency programs on farms and turf-removal and other conservation programs in urban communities. It also will provide much-needed resources in ongoing discussions related to the environmental restoration of the Salton Sea. And, while the priority for these funds is the Colorado River Basin, federal dollars could also be made available for drought-relief programs throughout California.”
“Everyone who relies on Colorado River water, including communities across Southern California, must immediately do more to conserve. By directing federal dollars toward these conservation efforts, Senators Feinstein and Padilla, and many others, have helped ensure their success in both urban and agricultural communities across the Southwest. We need to address the immediate challenge on the river so the seven Basin states can focus on longer-term solutions, bringing sustainability back to the river through permanent reductions in current use and development of new supplies.”
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.