Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, issues the following statement on the Bureau of Reclamations latest 24-month study on Colorado River system reservoir conditions:
Were certainly grateful that nature provided some relief to the critical conditions in the Colorado River Basin. But the Southwest wouldnt be in this encouraging position without also the successful collaboration of the Colorado River Basin states to develop the Drought Contingency Plan. The DCP wasnt just about sharing the pain of potential water cutbacks; one of its primary benefits was to incentivize storage in Lake Mead. It creates new storage opportunities for California, Arizona and Nevada and increases the flexibility to access stored water.
Today is evidence the DCP is working as we hoped. By the end of the year, the Lower Basin states and Mexico together anticipate storing an additional 700,000 acre-feet of conserved water in Lake Mead in 2019 “ a record amount that will boost the lakes elevation by nearly 9 feet. Metropolitan alone will store 400,000 acre-feet this year, bringing our total stored in the lake to nearly 1 million acre-feet, another record.
While all that storage helps keep Lake Mead out of shortage, it also helps prepare Southern California for our states next drought. Being able to store water when it is available for use in times when it is not is the key to ensuring the region has reliable water in the future. We got some reprieve from drought conditions on the Colorado River this year, but Lake Mead is still less than half full. And climate change is likely to lead to drier conditions in our future. As we begin work to resolve the water supply imbalance on the river, were pleased the DCP helped address the immediate concerns.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative that delivers water to 26 member agencies serving 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.
Rebecca Kimitch, (213) 217-6450; (202) 821-5253, mobile
Maritza Fairfield, (213) 217-6853; (909) 816-7722, mobile