SoCal Developers: Bring More Water

California’s traditional sources of water no longer meet the needs of Southern California, according to a study commissioned by the Southern California Leadership Council (SCLC) and other sponsors. Bad news for developers, the study is called “Where Will We Get The Water? Assessing Southern California’s Future Water Strategies.” For several years, developers seeking project approvals in Southern California have had to demonstrate how they would supply their projects with water. While most developers have managed, some projects have suffered significant delays. When the Manhattan Beach, Calif., shoe company Skechers wanted to develop a warehouse in Riverside County, the project was delayed until the company could demonstrate how it would supply its own water as well as how it would conserve water. In the years since developers were first required to find their own water, supplies in Southern California have declined precipitously, according to Lee Harrington, executive secretary of the SCLC. “Water has become a major issue for developers,” Harrington (pictured) told CPN today. According to the report, traditional imported water sources from the Colorado River, San Joaquin/Sacramento Delta and the Owens River have been cut back, Harrington continued. Water rights to the Colorado River have been reallocated, while more water from the Owens River is being retained in the Sierras to protect ecosystems. Most crucial to Southern California is the San Joaquin/Sacramento Delta. Northern California shares that water with Southern California. But the Metropolitan Water District, Southern California’s water wholesaler has already lost about 500,000 acre feet of water from the Delta. “They haven’t been able to pump as much water as they used to because of the environmental effects on fisheries,” Harrington said. An alternative conveyance that would solve the problem is currently under discussion. Meanwhile, developers with Southern California projects must continue to bring increasingly difficult to find sources of water to the negotiating table when planning a project.