Practicum Project | 2023

Incorporating sustainability and resiliency measures in large water utilities

Recurring droughts across the western United States have demonstrated a need for updated water management procedures across sectors, including for commercial businesses and residential communities. In Southern California, overreliance on imported water sources is proving to be a challenge as both the Bay-Delta in Northern California and the Colorado River have both experienced historic drought conditions, forcing water managers to significantly limit exports. Given that these water sources respectively make up some 55 percent of Southern California’s regional water supply, efficient and resilient management is critical.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), the nation’s largest wholesale water provider, is looking for ways to increase development of local, resilient, sustainable water supplies, including recycled water, groundwater remediation, stormwater capture, brackish desalination. This approach will require partnerships for standardizing infrastructure investment and development, led by the MWD’s Office of Sustainability, Resilience and Innovation (SRI). Our team will work with the SRI Office and its Local Resources Program to investigate creative partnerships for infrastructure investment and development. Results will be incorporated in real-time into the SRI planning process on a Sustainability and Resiliency Strategy, which will serve as a resource for MWD’s 26 Member Agencies in developing their own strategies and initiatives.

View our Final Report

Student Team: Ethan Choi, Steven Hong, Katarina Jowid, Malia Michelsen, Sally Min, Shirleya Williams, Julia Wu

Client: Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Advisor: Dr. Greg Pierce