Where does Southern California get its water?

For 40 million people in the Western U.S., including 19 million in Southern California, each drop of water is a 300-mile journey that begins on the Colorado River.

“We have staff that are taking water from the Colorado River, conveying it to Southern California, treating that water, distributing it to our customers which are our member agencies. We’ve got power that we manage. We’ve got water quality laboratories that we test water in, we have safety and regulatory services,” said Mickey Chaudhuri, Assistant Group Manager of MWD.

Ethnic Media Services and the Metropolitan Water District (MWD), which distributes water to several local agencies, took international journalists on a fellowship tour to get a first-hand look at how water is delivered from the Colorado River to our communities.

Aside from quenching thirst, agriculture, and flood protection, the hoover dam also uses the Colorado River water that passes through to keep the lights on.

“All the rest of generators supply power for the grid, so it’s roughly half goes to California a quarter goes to Arizona and a quarter goes to Nevada,” said Mark Cook, Hoover Dam Manager.

Using a mix of nature and technology gravity then helps bring the water south to the California-Arizona border to Parker Dam, and the California river aqueducts.

Throughout this journey, the waters can make for scenic backdrops.

“We’re taking a trip down the copper basin. So water from the Colorado River goes from the aqueduct, goes into the basin, and from copper basin, it goes to Iron Mountain –from the iron mountain it goes to another series, and this water that boating through will end up in our faucets and sinks in about 3 days.

This water will soon travel to storage facilities, like the 4-mile long Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet, before its tested and distributed by local water companies.

In an effort to maintain water quality, MWD, along with local, federal, and state officials, create new projects often. They also look at laws surrounding water and conservation.

“Every year there is a new set of legislative proposals out there that represents challenges for us, and we’re constantly trying to work with Sacramento and the folks up in Sacramento — and to understand some of the ideas on how they might impact us or benefit us,” said Deven Upadhyay, Metropolitan Chief Operating Officer.

Earlier this month, Filipino America California congressman TJ Cox wrote a letter to the environmental protection agency, urging them to review quality of California’s water resources.

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