Tuesday, April 19, 2022
Meeting In-person and via ZOOM
Present: Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Greg Bradbard, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Sandra Cuellar, Michelle Decker, Heather Dyer, Kevin Dyerly, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Milford Harrison, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Pam Langford, Bill Lemann, Temetry Lindsey, Darcy McNaboe, Miguel Mendoza, Jacquelyn Mercado, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Bansree Parikh, Catherine Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Elizabeth Romero, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Reggie Webb, Michael Wells, Ray Wolfe.
Guests in attendance: Patty Arlt, LaDonna DiCamillo, Arnold San Miguel.
Lowell King, Chair presiding.
Chair King asked to move minutes, reports on legislation and announcements to the end of the meeting.
Heather Dyer introduced Adel Hagekhalil, General Manager and CEO of The Southern California Metropolitan Water District (Metropolitan). Metropolitan has 26 member agencies throughout southern California serving 19 million people. They deliver 1.5 billion gallons of water daily using 830 miles of pipeline and 5 treatment plants. Metropolitan has $1.5 billion invested in local resources. They have a $1.9 billion budget with 1800 employees.
Mr. Hagekhalil thanked Inland Action for support over the years. It is a terrific partnership. He described water as the anchor in all we do: building housing, economic development, etc. Reliable water management is what is needed for growth security. Over the past 100 years we have managed with 3 aqueducts, the Colorado River and State Water Project. This worked when we had normal snowpack and rainfall. This has all be unended by the “new normal” with climate change. Snowpack is declining year to year, and this year could be our most difficult drought year. In December ’21 the Sierras got good snowfall, but January ’22 was the driest yet. February and March were no better.
Our region is dependent on State Water Project water. We need to invest in the system and build quickly. The Colorado River is stressed, and we need alternatives. Storage is the key. Creating Diamond Valley Lake was a smart investment. It aids in managing drought impacts and was a good investment at $2 billion. We need to stop relying on imported water. While we can’t conserve our way out of the current conditions, it’s critically important to both conserve and reuse/recycle.
A bold approach to infrastructure is necessary. Above and below-ground storage is needed to capture snowmelt and rainfall. Sykes Reservoir is an important project and should be a priority. Further, we need to protect our groundwater investments to assure local water supply. We build resiliency through recharging basins and recycling water. Of critical importance is the construction of the fourth aqueduct.
Mr. Hagekhalil believes in building partnerships and in the 3 I’s: Integration, Innovation and Inclusion. Broad partnerships within the watershed and with the State are important. With a lower yield per year, we need to work together to manage the future.
State and federal funds are needed to move as quickly as possible to accelerate the Delta Conveyance Project. We need to work together, in all sectors, to create reliable, long-term sources of water. Thus, we work to prepare for tomorrow.
Announcements: 1) Kristine Scott announced that the Legislative Committee would be meeting following the day’s business meeting. She also mentioned the Boys and Girls Club’s Chocolate Fantasy benefit to be held on April 30. 2) Ray Wolfe announced that the SCAQMD will file suit against the EPA to force a response to Clean Air Act attainment dates that are not feasible. 3) Michelle Decker announced that IEGO is meeting 2 Fridays a month to seek projects eligible for CERF planning projects.
M/S/P approval of April 12, 2022, minutes.
The Environment Committee met to discuss SB 2840 (Reyes). The meeting included non-committee members who had an interest in the discussion. Kristine Scott, Ken Coate and Thomas Rice had a virtual meeting with Majority Leader Reyes to discuss the bill. They report that she was open to suggestions and that it was a constructive conversation. The conclusion is that the bill has “a long way to go” and that it has much opposition. The committee recommended that Inland Action take no position at this time and that the bill would be monitored for changes as it progresses through the legislative process.
Meeting adjourned at 8:34 a.m.