Metropolitan Water District could cut supplies to customers

Before the week is through, the Metropolitan Water District could cut supplies to its customers for the first time in 18 years. KPCC’s Molly Peterson reports on what that means for Southern California.

Molly Peterson: Metropolitan serves 24 customer agencies from Santa Barbara to San Diego, including the L.A. Department of Water and Power and several Inland Empire agencies. Last week Met staff recommended a 20 percent increase in what customer agencies pay and a 10 percent cut in what they get.

Water from the Sacramento River Delta is incredibly scarce thanks to a court ruling limiting pumping for ecological reasons. Water from the Colorado River is slowing too. People whose local agencies are Metropolitan customers will feel the effects in varying ways – depending on what each agency did to shore up supplies from other places.

Agencies that get Metropolitan water wholesale each set their own rates and usually pass their costs on to customers. In Los Angeles, residents have reduced their use 5 percent under mostly voluntary restrictions.

An aggressive outreach campaign in Long Beach has taken that city’s water use to 10 year lows in recent months. The Metropolitan board of directors plans to consider rationing at its meeting tomorrow.