Southern California Will Dry up Without a Drought Solution, Says SCLC

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"Our local, regional water agencies and private water companies need to work together to devise and implement a regional water reliability strategy," Lee Harrington, Executive Director, SCLC

The Los Angeles County County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) today released the preliminary findings from its study, "Where Will We Get The Water? Assessing Southern California's Future Water Strategies."

The study was commissioned by the Southern California Leadership Council (SCLC) and other sponsors to identify and compare water supply and reliability options for the region in light of the declining supplies from our traditional water import sources, the Colorado River, the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, and the Owens River.

The preliminary findings, which still await input from the water sector include:

  • Traditional imported water sources from the Colorado River, San Joaquin/Sacramento Delta and the Owens River cannot be relied upon for increased supplies and may, in fact, diminish further. Addressing the environmental crisis and constructing a new water conveyance system in the Delta remains as a top priority.
  • Southern California must embark on a concerted self help water supply and reliability program comprised of a portfolio of locally sourced supplies and wet year supply supplements to meet its future needs. A concerted effort would literally bring in millions of additional acre feet of water.
  • Urban water conservation is one of the most promising and least costly options to extend our water supplies.
  • Local storm water capture and increased use of ground water storage are the next largest and most cost effective alternatives.
  • Interagency cooperation to share water resources and minimize unnecessary water transfers can be a no-cost or reduced-cost option to meet the region's needs and can be facilitated by the Metropolitan Water District.
  • Recycling water for domestic use and desalination, while expensive and more power intensive are viable options to ensure reliability of necessary supplies.
  • Surface storage in the San Joaquin and Sacramento watersheds offer Southern California little in the way of water reliability and if and when deliverable would be one of most expensive and energy intensive options.

"Our local, regional water agencies and private water companies need to work together to devise and implement a regional water reliability strategy which uses southern California's full array of water resources and infrastructure, including exchange programs, underground storage, and other shared services to meet our future water needs," explained Executive Director Lee Harrington, Southern California Leadership Council (SCLC).

"The Metropolitan Water District can be a value added facilitator in this effort," said MWD Chairman Timothy Brick.

"Private sector companies will partner in such efforts including the investment of needed capital for facilities," said CEO Floyd Wicks, of Golden State Water Company. Wicks also Co-Chairs the SCLC.

About Southern California Leadership Council

The Southern California Leadership Council is a business-led-and-sponsored public policy partnership for the Southern California region. The Council provides proactive leadership for a strong economy, a vital business environment and a better quality of life for everyone who lives here. Founded in 2005 as a voice for the region's business community and like-minded individuals to focus and combine their efforts, the Leadership Council's objective is to help enable public sector officials, policy makers and other civic leaders to address and solve public policy issues critical to the region's economic vitality and quality of life. The Council is comprised of business and community leaders from throughout the seven counties of Southern California and four former California governors.

Editors note: For media interviews with Lee Harrington or for more information about the Southern California Leadership Council's solution for the coexistence of international freight transit and clean air, please contact George McQuade, 818-340-5300 or 818-618-9229. The LAEDC's Preliminary Report can be found at Please direct any inquiries to Lee Harrington, SCLC or Greg Freeman, vice president of Consulting Studies Services, LAEDC.


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