California recorded its driest January and February in more than 100 years, and state officials are warning of severe drought conditions, diminishing water supplies, and the increased threat of wildfires.
At the same time, the state’s aging water infrastructure and management systems were not designed to meet the current era’s demand and climate challenges. Decades of rising temperatures are shrinking the Colorado River; hundreds of thousands of Californians, most in rural and disadvantaged communities, do not have reliable access to clean drinking water; and critical infrastructure repairs are necessary to prevent structural failures such as the potentially catastrophic Oroville Dam spillway crisis.
In 2021 Congress passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill, making billions of dollars available for a wide range of infrastructure projects in California. As state leaders decide how to allocate this money, Rebuild SoCal Partnership joins local leaders in advocating for funding for projects that create good jobs while helping to better prepare for the effects of climate change and ensure we have enough water to meet our state’s future needs.
In this week’s episode of The Rebuild SoCal Zone, Adel Hagekhalil, General Manager and CEO of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, highlights a project that has the potential to do just that.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has partnered with water agencies in Southern Nevada and Central Arizona to advance one of the nation’s largest water recycling projects, located in Carson, California. The Regional Recycled Water Program would purify wastewater to produce sustainable, high-quality water that could deliver 150 million gallons/day to roughly 500,000 households. Funding from Sacramento could help accelerate this project that will not only help the state by creating a drought-proof supply of water but also create over 47,000 construction jobs.
“Investing in our water future is not only going to help us be resilient and have water for us when we need it… it’s going to make our communities better,” says Adel Hagekhalil. “Uplifting people’s lives, providing good jobs and good wages for people is what it is about.”
Read more from Adel Hagekhalil about the Regional Recycled Water Project here: Seed funding needed for major water recycling project in Southern California
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