February 3, 2023

Adel Hagekhalil, General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, makes the following statement regarding the California Department of Water Resources’ initial allocation of 5 percent for the State Water Resources project plus additional supplies to meet health and safety requirements:

“After the three driest years in state history, we’re certainly hoping for some respite this winter. But the harsh reality is that we must be prepared for this historic drought to continue. This first allocation is a key indicator of what Southern California should be ready for in the coming months: Very limited supplies from the state water project For the fourth straight year, this vital supply — the source of on average 30 percent of the region’s water — could be on a remain a trickle.

“In response, Metropolitan will continue our emergency drought restrictions in communities that depend on water from government projects, requiring them to either limit outdoor watering to one day per week or live within volumetric limits. But the nearly seven million people who live in these communities are not the only ones who will be affected by low allocations of federal supplies. The rest of Southern California must also immediately reduce its consumption of imported supplies from Metropolitan. Our other imported water source – the Colorado River – is also facing increasing constraints as a result of a 22-year drought and changing climate. Despite our ongoing efforts to reduce reliance on the Colorado River, we are already preparing for further reductions there as early as next year.

“These decreases in our two imported water sources mean that everyone across Southern California must take action to expand the limited water we have. Our initial request for increased region-wide protection will be voluntary, but if we don’t see significant rainfall this winter, Metropolitan may implement a region-wide water supply distribution plan that will mandate mandatory region-wide restrictions.

“Metropolitan is doing everything we can to mitigate the immediate crisis and make investments to provide more tools than just emergency preparedness. We’re accelerating the development of one of the world’s largest recycled water projects, exploring new storage options and investing in the resilience of our distribution system. But now we need the help of the public. We can get through this by working together.”

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-run cooperative that, along with its 26 cities and retail suppliers, provides water to 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies and supports members in developing enhanced water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource management programs.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221201006044/en/

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