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Selling Water to Southland

July 17, 1994

* Congratulations for your comprehensive account of the historic first transfer of Central Valley Project water to urban Southern California ("Tapping Into the Heartland," July 3). Whenever treading uncharted courses, it's only natural that those who are involved express concerns.

It should be noted, however, that the Metropolitan Water District is not excluding local irrigation districts in the San Joaquin Valley in arranging voluntary water transfers. In fact, discussions now are under way with the Central California Irrigation District about incorporating the Areias dairy farm transaction into a district-to-district water transfer, and with other water agencies in the San Joaquin Valley.

Water transfers represent but one portion of the overall mix for Southern California's future water supply. The Metropolitan Water District is deeply committed to water conservation, reclamation, waste-water recycling, ground-water cleanup and ocean desalination programs. Through these and other measures, the Southland will be conserving approximately 1 million acre-feet of water annually within 15 years--water that will not need to be imported to supplement local supplies.

To put this into perspective, Southern Californians now use about 4 million acre-feet of water annually.

Despite these mammoth conservation efforts, there still will be a need for our urban region to import some additional supplies from other parts of the state where water is more abundant and less expensive. These voluntary water transactions, all with the necessary safeguards to protect the local agricultural economy, promise benefits for the entire state's urban and agricultural economy, as well as its environmental interests.

JOHN R. WODRASKA

General Manager, MWD

Los Angeles

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