October 30, 2008

Metropolitan General Manager’s Statement on Initial State Water Project Allocation for 2009

Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, issues the following statement regarding the California Department of Water Resource's initial 15 percent allocation of State Water Project supplies to Metropolitan for the 2009 water year:

"We are preparing for the very real possibility of water shortages and rationing throughout the region in 2009. Over the past two years, Metropolitan has depleted more than a third of its water reserves to deal with drought and court-ordered water cutbacks from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. These reserves are rapidly reaching a level that demands careful management.

"While this low initial State Water Project allocation was anticipated, it still sends a solemn message up and down California--we all must immediately reduce water use to stretch available supplies.

"Metropolitan cannot expect any short-term relief from its supply situation if it begins to rain in the Southland, in Northern California or in the Colorado River watershed. The Delta's serious environmental problems are driving court decisions and regulatory actions that are drastically limiting the ability to move water across the estuary. This is not a short-term problem that will be washed away with a few good storms.

"Throughout its 80-year history, Metropolitan has dependably met the region's imported water needs. It has been a remarkable era of water stability, thanks to astute decisions that expanded our storage facilities, enhanced conservation and increased local supplies such as recycling. But now we are facing a continuing historic dry cycle and unprecedented environmental challenges in the Delta.

"For many months, Metropolitan has closely monitored weather conditions and water storage levels. If the region faces a shortage in 2009, the district has in place an allocation formula that seeks to equitably distribute supplies, while preserving emergency reserves. Conservation is an absolute necessity. Using less and being more efficient is the new water reality in Southern California."

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving nearly 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.