MWD pushes incentive for water recycling, desalination, groundwater cleanup investments
The board of directors at California's Metropolitan Water District has increased the financial incentive for water agencies to develop and produce recycled water, recovered groundwater and desalinated seawater supplies to become more aggressive in developing local water resources.
LOS ANGELES, CA, Oct. 16, 2014 -- This week, the board of directors at California's Metropolitan Water District (MWD) increased the financial incentive for water agencies to develop and produce recycled water, recovered groundwater and desalinated seawater supplies, in an effort to become more aggressive in developing local water resources throughout the southern part of the state.
The board approved a series of refinements to MWD's Local Resources Program, which provides economic incentives for recycling and groundwater recovery efforts throughout its service area, including increasing the maximum incentive to $340 per acre-foot from $250 per acre-foot for water produced. The program aims to reduce the region's reliance on Metropolitan's imported deliveries from Northern California and the Colorado River and help improve the reliability of Southern California's future supplies.
"Ongoing and new efforts to locally produce these resources and lower water demands plays a fundamental role in our long-term water plan. However, the costs to develop and maintain these supplies are a significant hurdle to initiating new projects," said Board Chairman Randy Record. "The increased incentive will go a long way toward making these local investments more cost-effective and sustainable throughout our six-county service area."
Over the years, MWD has provided about $490 million in incentives to develop more than 2 million acre-feet of recycled water and 720,000 acre-feet of recovered groundwater supplies that otherwise would not meet drinking water quality standards. (An acre-foot of water is nearly 326,000 gallons, about the amount used by two typical Southland households in and around the home in a year.) Of the 99 projects under the program, 85 are in operation. Today, more than half of the recycled and recovered supplies produced in the Southland have been developed through MWD's Local Resources Program.
"We recognize that more can be done to expand available local supplies for the region and become even more drought-ready," said Debra C. Man, MWD's COO and assistant general manager. "Since 2011, we've been working with our member public agencies to identify what actions can be taken to stimulate additional local resource projects and increase future supply reliability. These revisions to the regional program will make local projects more viable and help the region meet the statewide goal of reducing residential per-capita water use 20 percent by the year 2020."
The inclusion of seawater desalination projects under MWD's Local Resources Program replaces a separate desalination program established by the district in 2001. Among the other refinements approved by the board is the addition of reimbursable services to the program. Under this component, Metropolitan would offer a variety of technical and financial services to accelerate development of local projects.
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. For more information, visit www.mwdh2o.com.