Metropolitan’s water recycling project, infrastructure investments
will help region navigate hotter, drier climate
Several Metropolitan projects critical to ensuring reliable water supplies for Southern California in the face of drought and climate change will receive $130 million in state funding, as a result of legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Metropolitan’s Pure Water Southern California project – anticipated to be one of the world’s largest water recycling facilities when complete – will receive $80 million from the FY 2022/23 state budget. The funding will help accelerate the project’s design, construction and operations.
In addition, $50 million has been provided to Metropolitan for a set of drought emergency mitigation projects to move locally stored water into parts of Southern California that depend on extremely limited supplies from the State Water Project from Northern California. Without access to alternative supplies, these communities have faced significant mandatory conservation measures since June.
“The state legislature and Gov. Newsom are essential partners in our efforts to protect Southern California’s people, economy and environment by making our water supply more reliable and resilient,” Metropolitan board Chairwoman Gloria D. Gray said. “I want to extend my deepest appreciation to the Governor and our legislative leaders for prioritizing water in this budget and helping us respond to this water crisis and those we will face in the future. We are grateful for their support and these investments.”
The new funds come on top of a significant financial commitment the state made over the past two years to increase the reliability of California’s water supplies. Last year, the legislature authorized $5.2 billion in multi-year funding to minimize the impacts of the drought and help water agencies prepare for a warmer and drier future. The FY 2022-23 budget allocated an additional $2.7 billion.
“I want to sincerely thank Gov. Newsom, pro Tem Atkins, Speaker Rendon and the state legislature for supporting Metropolitan’s work to secure Southern California’s water supply and respond to climate change,” Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil said. “Metropolitan has been making vitally important investments in new local supplies and projects that will improve the flexibility of our water delivery system, but every day of this drought is a reminder that we have to move faster. The state’s support will help us get there.”
About half of the water used in Southern California is imported from the Colorado River and the Northern Sierra, via the state project. The availability of both of those imported supplies has been dramatically reduced as a result of drought and climate change, the effects of which are expected to worsen in coming decades.
Collectively, this multi-year funding will support urban drought relief, urban and agricultural conservation, drinking and wastewater infrastructure, recycled water, efforts to address PFAS contamination, implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and fish and wildlife protection and nature-based solutions.
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.