Southern California’s Metropolitan is prepared to go it alone to make a Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Work

The Desert Sun’s Janet Wilson has an important update on progress toward a Colorado River water use reduction plan – the poorly named “Drought Contingency Plan”:

With a Monday deadline looming, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has offered to break an impasse on a seven-state Colorado River drought contingency package by contributing necessary water from its own reserves on behalf of the Imperial Irrigation District. It’s not help that IID is seeking, but Metropolitan general manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said he had no choice.

Now that Arizona finally seems to have its act together, the Imperial Irrigation District has become the lone holdout in piecing together the DCP. Behind the scenes, Met has been putting together its own Plan B: a DCP in which Met makes all the California contributions itself rather than having the deal depend on 250,000 acre feet from IID.

This suggests something fascinating. After some real struggles in the early 2000s as Met was forced to reduce its water use as California cut its Colorado River water use from 5-plus million acre feet per year to 4.4 million acre feet per year, Met is now acting like it thinks it has plenty of water – or at least, enough to shoulder the DCP burden without Imperial’s help.


  1. Don’t forget, as I posted in comments on your two previous posts, that the IID is holding out due to Salton Sea rehab desire. (IMO, that horse has long ago left the climate change barn.)

  2. Even with a new WOTUS it might get down to whom is the major detriment to aquatic species not necessarily A/F.
    The Slaton Sea does much to mitigate much of MUD’s depletions and degradations along the Coast. MUD shouldn’t be viewed as benevolent, the cost to mitigate out MUD’s operations would be a tidy sum. We might need to translate the value of the water forfeited as to what the true cost might be for their other depletions.

  3. As I commented on in the previous post… this reveals just how afraid MWD is of the feds stepping in to manage (or attempt to manage) the river, and it also demonstrates how much water can really be conserved when a bit of pressure is exerted. In this case, it’s more than one fifth of the structural deficit. Imagine what could be done if we had MWD and IID both contributing 250 kaf (as well as others buckle down and get serious).

Comments are closed.