April 25, 2024

Board adopts two-year budget, funding work to reliably provide water to Southern California

Metropolitan’s board and executive management received input from the public during a

series of meetings and workshops focused on the district’s proposed biennial budget.

Following months of public deliberations, Metropolitan’s Board of Directors adopted this month a biennial budget that will allow the district to continue delivering safe, reliable water to Southern California, while managing the financial challenges of lower water sales, partially due to climate change, and rising costs due to inflation.

The $2.4 billion annual budget includes rate increases of 8.5% for each of the next two years, charged to its 26 member agencies. It also anticipates a small increase of the voter-approved property tax Metropolitan levies, amounting to an average increase of $2-3 a month for the median value home. Balanced alongside these revenue changes, the budget also includes cost containment measures, including cutting departmental expenditures across various categories.

The biennial budget includes capital investment spending of about $636 million over the next two years to ensure the continued reliability of Metropolitan’s distribution system and to increase the system’s resiliency to better respond to climate change. It also includes nearly $100 million in funding for conservation programs over the next two years.

Read the press release.

Metropolitan is in a transformational period, facing critical decisions on

which long-term projects to invest in to help our region adapt to climate change.

At the same time, we need to rethink our business model, so we can fund these

major investments.

Metropolitan board Chair Adán Ortega, Jr.

Metropolitan makes $250 million commitment to support four local supply projects

A recent tour of the PURE Water Las Virgenes-

Triunfo demonstration facility in Calabasas.

Continuing Metropolitan’s commitment to increasing the region’s local water supplies, the board recently committed $250 million to support the advancement of four new recycled water, ocean desalination and groundwater reclamation projects. The projects will be funded through Metropolitan’s Local Resources Program, which provides economic incentives to Metropolitan’s member agencies to develop local supplies.

At full scale operations, the four projects will produce enough water for about 100,000 homes across the region.

The board approved these projects in separate agreements with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Las Virgenes Municipal Water District and Las Virgenes-Triunfo Joint Powers Authority; Eastern Municipal Water District; and Municipal Water District of Orange County and South Coast Water District.

“For decades, investments in local projects have helped strengthen Southern California’s resiliency by reducing demands for imported water supplies and decreasing the burden on our system,” said Metropolitan board’s Vice Chair of Climate Action Nancy Sutley.

Read the press release.

Metropolitan leadership visits member agencies

As part of an initiative to connect and engage with local member agency officials, Metropolitan leadership, including General Manager Hagekhalil, board Chair Ortega, Assistant General Manager Deven Upadhyay and Chief Sustainability, Resilience and Innovation Officer Liz Crosson, have been visiting board and city council meetings across Southern California since February. The leaders discuss regional and local community priorities, including water supply conditions, Metropolitan’s Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water, drought-mitigation construction projects and the board’s recent budget decisions. They have met with about half of Metropolitan’s 26 member agencies so far and are committed to visiting all by the end of the year.

Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil addresses the Santa Monica City Council, April 23.

Adaptation to climate whiplash spotlighted in Metropolitan’s 2023 Year in Review

The weather whiplash Southern California experienced in 2023 — abruptly shifting from extreme drought to record-setting precipitation — provides a preview of the challenges Metropolitan and other agencies face in the year-to-year management of water resources. The recently released 2023 Year in Review highlights Metropolitan’s year of adaptation efforts, including the development of the Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water, the construction of a new regional groundwater bank and a portfolio of drought-mitigation projects that will increase the flexibility and resilience of our water delivery system.

Read the report.

Metropolitan’s momentum toward carbon neutrality highlighted in Climate Action Plan progress report

Metropolitan’s second annual Climate Action Plan Implementation progress report features an updated greenhouse gas inventory for 2023 and plans for electrifying Metropolitan’s fleet. The district reached many milestones and made significant progress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

Read the report.

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