California has been in a drought for several decades, and as everyone knows, water is essential in sustaining life.
At a press conference held at the courtyard of the Burbank Water and Power’s Ron E. Davis Eco Campus on Tuesday, a half-dozen people spoke that included the Metropolitan Water District’s General Manager Adel Hagekhalil, MWD Board Chairwoman Gloria D. Gray, MWD Board Director Marsha Ramos, Burbank’s Water and Power General Manager Dawn Roth Lindell, MWD Water System Operations Manager Brent Yamasaki and MWD Resource Specialist Krista Guerrero, about the district’s calling for a 15-day suspension of outdoor watering from September 6 through the 20.
The reason is a major pipeline that delivers Colorado River water to Southern California is being repaired after a leak was discovered in April.
The cities affected are Burbank, Beverly Hills, Glendale, Long Beach, Pasadena, San Fernando, and Torrance, as well as the Foothill Municipal Water District, Central Basin Municipal Water District, Three Valleys Municipal Water District, and the West Basin Municipal Water District.
The leak was temporarily fixed as it allowed the MWD more than enough time to fabricate specialized parts for the long-time solution.
The MWD of Southern California is a state-established cooperative that, along with its 26 cities and retail suppliers, provides water for 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.
The second speaker during the 35-minute press conference was Hagekhalil.
“The temporary fix we have in place has allowed us to operate the pipeline at a reduced capacity over the summer, but it was not intended to last long-term,” he said in an earlier interview. “We cannot delay this repair any further – doing so risks a failure and the potential for an unplanned, emergency situation.”
Lindell kicked off the presser. “What people don’t realize is each city does not have its own water supply. In fact, here in Burbank, we have no water rights at all, so we all get our water from metropolitan water districts,” she said after the press conference. “It is one water. All of us need to share in its use. All of us need to be aware of the conservation needs, and all of us need to adhere to those.”
Lindell then spoke about the necessity of water.
“We’ve underpriced water for a long time. It really is liquid gold,” she said. “None of us can live without it. So, we need to take good care of it. In my lifetime, I have seen the polar ice caps melting down about 50 percent from where they were in the 80s. Just a few degrees can make a significant difference.”
At an earlier press conference, Lindell gave some sound advice.
“Residents can access recycled water for trees and plants at the George Izay Park from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday during the two-week shutdown,” she said.
Ramos also spoke afterward. “I think people need to understand that the Metropolitan Water District is very methodical and systematic in the way we approach our system maintenance,” she noted after the press conference. “We have regular shutdowns of the Colorado River to do routine maintenance on a regular basis.”
Ramos went on: “In this case, they noticed the leak was more severe than just a routine maintenance and that if we didn’t put in the fix sooner than later, the risks were way too high,” she said. “This could impact millions of Southern California, and they wouldn’t have access to water for days.”
Ramos said the 15-day suspension of outdoor watering is necessary.
“And the reason the risk was higher than normal is because we’ve been in this drought phase for a long, long time. I do believe in learning more about the impact of climate change,” she said. “The change is happening faster than we anticipated. The Colorado River is at risk. We are going to have to evaluate our outdoor lawns. There are other communities. There are other states that have made changes. We are slowly doing that with the turf replacement program MWD offers $2 per square foot to replace your outdoor turf.”
Ramos is also beaming about the city she represents on the 37-member board.
“I am very proud of our community – we are demonstrating that we can be resilient and make small sacrifices for the good of all the region,” she noted previously.
For the latest information on the shutdown, visit: mwdh2o.com/shutdown.