State Launches Audit of Sexual Harassment Policies at Powerful Southern California Water Agency

State authorities approved an audit of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California over its handling of sexual harassment complaints, following allegations that leaders at the powerful water agency tolerated bullying and abuse of women in the workforce.

The audit was adopted during a hearing Wednesday afternoon of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee and comes after a Times investigation earlier this year found a pattern of complaints from women enrolled in the district’s trades apprenticeship program.

Editorial: Sexual Misconduct at the Metropolitan Water District Hints at Deeper Problems

What does sexual harassment have to do with our water supply? Far more than you might think.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California imports, stores and sells the drinking water used by nearly half of the people in this state. As a consequence, the MWD is at the center of the state’s battle with ongoing drought, the agricultural sector’s demands for irrigation water and the degrading natural environment’s inability to sustain iconic species such as migrating salmon.

On top of those challenges, the organization is in the midst of a rare leadership change, as a search to replace departing General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger moves closer to a conclusion and as the MWD approaches its second century.

‘They Thought I Was So Low’: Women Say They Were Harassed, Bullied, Ignored at Powerful Water Agency

Miranda Grow loves the challenge of working with her hands. She’d had experience in carpentry and construction, and fulfilled a career dream when she was accepted as a mechanic apprentice at a large water district, relishing the behind-the-scenes work to deliver clean water to faucets and shower heads across Southern California.