U.S. Water News Online
LOS ANGELES -- Buoying developers but sinking the hopes of
slow-growth advocates, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern
California has concluded the region has enough water to accommodate
growth expected over the next 20 years.
The recently-released report was prompted by new laws requiring
that a water supply be secured before large-scale subdivisions can be
It says that if all the water projects proposed by the MWD and
local agencies are implemented, the reliability of the water supply
"could be assured beyond 20 years."
Environmentalists criticized the report, saying it relies on
controversial proposals to drain water from the Mojave Desert and
MWD Chief Executive Ron Gastelum said the agency is not seeking to
influence land-use decisions. But, he added, "For us to deny that
there is water denies our mandate" to provide water.
The MWD is the largest wholesale supplier of water in the nation
and serves a 5,200-square-mile area with 17 million residents.
Steve Zimmer, vice president of Valencia-based Newhall Ranch and
Farming Co., developer of the largest residential project in the
history of Los Angeles County, does not expect the report to end
fights waged over growth.
It could, however, remove water as the "trump card" used by
slow-growth advocates, he said.
"This report goes a long way toward proving that there is water to
help us meet our housing needs," said Don Kendall, general manager of
the Calleguas Municipal Water District in Ventura County, where
several large developments are planned.
However, Elden Hughes, a Sierra Club official, said the MWD report
relies on projects that are environmentally damaging. Among them is
one that would pump water from an aquifer beneath the Mojave Desert.
"You shouldn't bet your future on the dead bodies of endangered
species," he said.
The MWD wants to "shift water from alfalfa to urban sprawl" in
banking on the proposed sale of water from Imperial County to San
Diego, said Daniel Patterson, a biologist with the Tucson-based
Center for Biological Diversity.
Return to the
U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.