Metropolitan Water District to overhaul long-term plan

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will hold public forums in San Diego and three other cities as it undertakes an overhaul of the region's long-term resources plan, which will provide a roadmap for maintaining water supply reliability over the next 25 years.

Beginning Tuesday in the city of Orange, Metropolitan will host the first of four public stakeholder forums as the district conducts outreach efforts to update its Integrated Resources Plan.

Through the forums, Metropolitan and its 26 member public agencies — which serve 19 million people in six counties — are soliciting input on the draft 2010 IRP from the public, local water agencies, government, business and environmental communities as well as other stakeholders.

"This input will be essential in determining the right combination of imported deliveries and continued regional and local investments in water conservation, recycling, groundwater cleanup and ocean water desalination to meet future demands. This will lead to fundamental changes in the way our water supply needs and reliability goals are met," said Debra C. Man, Metropolitan's assistant general manager and chief operating officer.

The forum in Orange will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, 100 The City Drive, followed by an Aug. 5 forum at the Ontario Airport Marriott, 2200 East Holt Blvd.

The third forum is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug.10 at the Ramada Conference Center in San Diego, 5550 Kearny Mesa Road, followed by the final session on Aug. 12 at Metropolitan's downtown Los Angeles headquarters building at 700 N. Alameda St.

Metropolitan's Board of Directors approved the district's original plan in 1996 and, with its member agencies, have since periodically updated the plan's long-term water strategies.

"Metropolitan and its member agencies have relied on IRP strategies to help diversify the region's resource mix, which has served us well for the past two decades," Man said. "However, the long-term reliability of our imported supplies continues to be weighed down by uncertainties."

Pumping restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and a series of dry years continues to limit the region's supplies from Northern California, she said. In the meantime, Metropolitan's other imported water source, the Colorado River, remains in a 10-year drought, with Lake Mead at its lowest level in more than 40 years, she said.

Man said the draft 2010 IRP proposes to maintain the district's traditional baseline imported supplies from Northern California and the Colorado River while expanding local programs to meet future demands.

Water saved through conservation, for example, is expected to be greater than any single source of supply in the years ahead, she said.

"The increasing focus on local efforts will reestablish our goal of meeting full-service demands at the retail level under all foreseeable hydrologic conditions through 2035," Man said. "We must adapt in order to remain reliable, and that means having realistic expectations on our imported supplies and looking within our service area for increasing supplies and lowering demands."

More information on the draft 2010 IRP, including the updated documents, is available on the district's Web site,

www.mwdh2o.com

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