Addressing Climate Change

The hydroelectric dam at Lake Havasu in Arizona as viewed from the shore

Addressing Climate Change

Climate change presents a monumental long-term challenge to the reliability of Southern California's water supplies. Every watershed our region depends on is becoming more stressed and less dependable. While Metropolitan has conducted long-range planning for its water resources portfolio since the mid-1990s with our Integrated Water Resources Plan we are updating our long-term projections to account for the complexities and uncertainties of climate change through our new Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water.

In addition to adapting Metropolitan's water delivery and storage capacities to meet the challenges posed by a changing climate, we also have committed as an organization to reducing our carbon footprint through our Climate Action Plan. Our recent annual progress report highlights the strides we've made as an organization to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to remain on target for achieving carbon neutrality by 2045.

CAMP4W - Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water

Extreme weather conditions in recent years - abruptly swinging the state from periods of severe and extended drought to record-setting wet seasons - have presented Southern Californians with an unsettling preview of the challenges ahead. There is no question that climate change is here and putting mounting pressure on the year-to-year management of our available water resources. To ensure the continued reliability of water supplies for the communities we serve, Metropolitan is developing our Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water. This comprehensive effort will provide the roadmap that will guide our future capital investments and business model as we confront our new climate reality in the years and decades ahead.

We are not starting from scratch. We are building on Metropolitan's Climate Action Plan to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions along with the detailed scenario planning we performed for our 2020 IRP Regional Needs Assessment, and our leading role in developing creative and cooperative regional solutions to the challenges our region faces.

CAMP4W Objectives:


  • Increase the resiliency and reliability of Southern California’s water supplies
  • Build greater flexibility into our regional water storage and delivery system
  • Ensure all member agencies have more equitable access to Metropolitan’s supplies
  • Pursue collaborative cost-sharing partnerships and promote affordability initiatives

A New Era of Collaboration & Engagement

Founded nearly a century ago to bring a new source of water for a growing Southern California, Metropolitan has long been a leader in finding innovative long-term solutions that support our member agencies and the entire region. Given the magnitude and scope of climate change, Metropolitan's commitment to collaboration and building consensus is more important than ever.

Our "stronger together" approach to creating the CAMP4W is rooted in collaboration and transparency. We are soliciting input from across Southern California about regional priorities and concerns. This feedback will inform our board's decisions regarding climate-focused capital investments and will be followed by additional rounds of engagement in the years ahead.

CAMP4W's four pillars are Stewardship & Sustainability, Regional Cooperation, Sound Investments, and Supply Reliability

“Whatever is done should be done for the benefit of the whole, and whatever is done for the benefit of the whole should be shared by the parts.” 

W.P. Whitsett, Metropolitan's first board chair, 1930 

Aerial view of a building construction site in support of the state water project


Improving System Resilience
& Reliability

The record-low water deliveries we received from the State Water Project between 2020 and 2022 revealed a vulnerability in Metropolitan's regional water delivery system that impacted six of our 26 member agencies and nearly 7 million people. Due to existing constraints of the water delivery system, as well as limited access to other local supplies, these communities were forced to rely on extremely reduced water deliveries from the SWP. Metropolitan enacted emergency drought reductions to ensure these communities had enough water to get through the extreme drought.

Our board has since made a commitment to address these inequities and fast-tracked a number of construction projects to improve water supply reliability for all member agencies. To date, we have secured $50 million from the state to help offset the cost of these projects.

Metropolitan also is analyzing additional long-term improvements that will be presented through the CAMP4W process. Our goal is to create a drought-resilient network of facilities that strengthens the region's water supply reliability.

Expanding Our Water Resource Portfolio

The challenges of the future require us to invest in more local supplies and conservation, while preserving and extending the use of our imported water supplies.

For decades, Metropolitan has incentivized local supply projects through the Local Resource Program, which offers financial incentives for member agencies to develop and expand the network of local resources across Southern California. This initiative has resulted in recycled water programs, groundwater storage initiatives and desalination projects.

Through our CAMP4W process, we are pursuing collaborative partnerships that will provide additional regional benefit at appropriate economies of scale. For example, our Pure Water Southern California regional recycling project, a joint venture with Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, could become one of the world's largest water purification programs, producing up to 150 million gallons of new water supply daily. Another partnership with Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency to develop the High Desert Water Bank could provide Metropolitan more than 91 million gallons of additional storage, with nearly 23 million gallons of those reserves accessible on an annual basis.

Ensuring Equity, Affordability & Financial Sustainability

While many Californians understand the challenges facing water reliability, most also are concerned about the cost of water. With particular attention to equity, affordability and financial sustainability, we're committed to offsetting the costs of our strategic climate adaptation investments through creative cost-sharing partnerships and the pursuit of additional state and federal funding. Since 2022, we've received more than $150 million in funding for projects that are giving us an early start on CAMP4W implementation.

CAMP4W Resources

Climate Decision-Making Framework: Evaluative Criteria and Time-Bound Targets - Committee Letter (January 18, 2024)

Climate Decision-Making Framework: Evaluative Criteria and Time-Bound Targets - Presentation (January 18, 2024)

CAMP4W Panel on Cost Containment and Offsets (January 8, 2024)

Review Proposed Evaluative Criteria and Decision-Making Framework – Committee Letter (December 19, 2023)

Review Proposed Evaluative Criteria and Decision-Making Framework – Presentation (December 19, 2023)

Development of a Decision-Making Framework and Draft Evaluative Criteria - Board Letter (November 21, 2023)

Development of a Decision-Making Framework and Draft Evaluative Criteria - Presentation (November 21, 2023)

CAMP4W Joint Task Force Membership, Objectives and Charter (November 21, 2023)

Summary of Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water Efforts to Date (November 21, 2023)

Final Draft of the 2023 Long-Range Finance Plan Needs Assessment (November 14, 2023)

CAMP4W Panel on Regulatory Requirements Impacting Affordability (November 13, 2023)

CAMP4W Panel on Household Affordability (October 24, 2023)

Review Draft 2023 Long-Range Finance Plan Needs Assessment (October 10, 2023)

Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water Workshop: Assessing Financial Costs and Investing Regionally (September 26, 2023)

Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water – Presentation (August 22, 2023)

A Survey of Member Agency Programs Offered to Disadvantaged Communities as Defined in Water Code 79505.5 (August 14, 2023)

Update on Outreach for Climate Adaptation Master Plan (July 25, 2023)

Member Agency Alignment and Gap Analysis (June 27, 2023)

Terminology and Interests (May 23, 2023)

Facilitated Discussion on Terminology and Interests (May 23, 2023)

Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water (May 23, 2023)

Annual Climate Action Plan and Update on Climate Vulnerability and Risk Assessment (May 8, 2023)

Discussion on Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water Workshops (April 25, 2023)

Next Steps on the Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water (April 11, 2023)

Potential Framework for Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water Process (February 28, 2023)

State of the Climate and Impacts on Metropolitan Water District Supplies and Operations (February 13, 2023)

How To Get Involved

Visit this site for opportunities to join the conversation. Metropolitan is connecting with interested individuals and organizations during the CAMP4W process to share information and encourage input from the diverse Southern California communities we serve.