Metropolitan Board revises California water incentives

Metropolitan Water District has increased the financial incentive for water agencies to develop recycled water, recovered groundwater and desalinated seawater supplies.

The aim of the incentive is the aggressive development of local water resources throughout Southern California.

The board of directors of Water District has approved a range of renewals to the Local Resources Program, including lifting of maximum incentive to $340 per acre-foot from $250 per acre-foot.

Ongoing and new efforts to locally produce these resources and lower water demands play a fundamental role in the long-term water plan. However, the costs to develop and maintain these supplies are a significant hurdle to initiating new projects, said, Randy Record, chairman, Metropolitan board.


The increased incentive will go a long way toward making these local investments more cost-effective and sustainable throughout the six-county service area, Record said.

Metropolitan offers financial incentives for local water recycling and groundwater clean-up projects from 1982. The Local Resources Program helps to minimize the imported deliveries from Northern California and the Colorado River, improving the reliability of Southern California’s future supplies.

Metropolitan has so far provided $490 million in incentives for nearly 2 million acre-feet of recycled water and 720,000 acre-feet of recovered groundwater supplies and development to meet drinking water quality standards.

Under the program, 99 total projects were designed out of which 85 are in operation. Metropolitan’s Local Resources Program is responsible for the development of half of the recycled and recovered supplies produced in the Southland.

Further actions are needed to expand available local supplies for the region and become even more drought-ready. Since 2011, authorities are working with member public agencies to identify what actions can be taken to stimulate additional local resource projects and increase future supply reliability, said, Debra C. Man, chief operating officer, assistant general manager, Metropolitan.

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, Man said.

The seawater desalination projects will replace a separate desalination program established by the district in 20011. Besides, the board has approved for adding reimbursable services, offering various technical and financial aspects to boost project development.

Vishal Kawadkar
[email protected]