October 2023

Board of Director Meetings

Monday, October 9, 2023; 8 a.m. - The October 2023 Board of Directors meeting will be held at the District’s headquarters office located at 1402 N. Vosburg Drive, Azusa, California 91702. Board members and staff will attend the meeting in person. Due to limited spacing, we are still making the meeting available to the public via video conference.

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Meeting ID: 890 1330 6120

Passcode: 512838

Dial by your location (669) 444-9171

Save the Date: October Board Meeting – Monday, November 13, 2023; 8 a.m.

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Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Available

Each year the District produces an Annual Report focusing on accomplishments in the most recent fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) and a look forward to major goals and objectives for the new year. It features a letter from Board President Mark Paulson and General Manager Darin Kasamoto, as well as information about how we are working with water managers throughout the San Gabriel Valley to maximize the benefits of last winter’s storms and to maintain our water supply improvements. 

Please review our Annual Report below and contact us at 626-969-7911 or info@sgvmwd.com if you’d like us to mail you a printed copy.

READ: 2022-2023 Annual Report

El Niño Conditions are Strengthening - What Does That Mean for the San Gabriel Valley?

Peru is where El Niño got its name, signifying the baby Jesus and onset of Pacific Ocean warmth around Christmas. El Niño, the warm phase of the El Niño-La Niña Southern Oscillation pattern, is a major driver of weather worldwide and is often associated with hotter global temperatures and wetter conditions in portions of California. In El Niño years, warmer waters in the eastern Pacific create an active jet stream over the southern U.S. in the winter, leading to higher chances of cool and wet weather in the southwest and warmer and drier weather in the northwest.

The heavy precipitation we’ve experienced this year came at the tail end of a La Niña condition which is usually associated with drought conditions. Now, scientists with NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) indicate global ocean and surface temperatures have surged to record levels in the past few months, strengthening an El Niño condition which may lead to heavy rain in some coastal areas of California. In a recent El Niño forecast by the NOAA, there is a greater than 95% chance that El Niño continues across the Northern Hemisphere through the winter or 2023 into 2024, with the chance of a strong El Niño increasing to 71%. NOAA speculates that the coming winter could even bring a “super El Niño” situation like 1997-1998.

This may be good news for our local water supply conditions so plant your water-wise vegetation soon and keep your rain barrels handy! And, please continue to use water wisely!




Operations Update


Following the April 20, 2023, announcement that State Water Project (SWP) allocations to state water contractors, such as SGVMWD, were being increased to 100% of plan for the first time since 2006, the benefits have continued to flow to the Main San Gabriel Basin and our member cities. The increase means the District will be allocated 28,800 acre-feet of imported water in 2023 to deliver and use for replenishment of groundwater in the Main San Gabriel Basin.

We are working closely with state and county water agencies to utilize available capacity to deliver imported water. With water delivery capacity at times challenged by the abundance of stormwater runoff and snow melt throughout the state, scheduling deliveries is complicated and requires smart water management. Some of the 2023 water deliveries will likely need to carry over into the next calendar year.

In September, the District delivered 1,848 acre-feet (AF) of water to cyclic storage and 811 AF to CIC on behalf of Three Valleys Municipal Water District. Three important facility maintenance projects remain in progress: the Hydro 24-inch Butterfly Valve Replacement Project; the San Gabriel Flow Control Structure 30-inch Ball Valve Replacement Project and Schedule I Pipeline Continuity Bonding and Corrosion Assessment Validation Project. On May 15th, the District began generating power at its San Dimas Hydroelectric Facility for the City of Azusa. Power generation in September was 590.2 MWh.

Imported water supplements local groundwater supplies in the Main San Gabriel Basin, the primary sources of water for the District’s member cities of Alhambra, Azusa, and Monterey Park. The planned allocation may be adjusted in the future based on hydrological conditions.



As a New "Water Year" Begins, California and the San Gabriel Valley are Virtually Drought-Free!

New “water year” recordkeeping began statewide and in the San Gabriel Valley on October 1, and the state is nearly 100% free of drought, a big improvement since earlier this year. In the San Gabriel Valley, we received nearly 40 inches of rain in the past 12 months, compared to an historic average of about 18 inches of rain per “water year.” After the wet winter of 2022-2023, drought conditions returned in early summer only to be done in by sudden late summer storms like Hurricane Hilary, causing some regions such as Southern California to record the wettest summer on record.

The late-season storms, coupled with cooler temperatures, higher humidity and greater cloud cover, led to less evaporation, helping keep soil moisture at record high levels in areas that really needed it. In addition, all major reservoirs in California are in good shape thanks to the winter’s deep snowpack. And, imported water allocations from the State Water Project are at 100% for the first time since 2006, meaning there is more imported water flowing to our area to help replenish groundwater levels. 

The graphics above show the marked improvement from January through October 2023 in state and local reservoir, snowpack and groundwater conditions, including significant lessening of drought conditions statewide. Local groundwater, which improves more slowly due to the time it takes stormwater runoff to percolate down to groundwater levels, has risen more than 50 feet year-to-date!

The Main San Gabriel Basin captured more than 95% of stormwater to supplement local groundwater supplies in the storm surge earlier this year, which is much different than other watersheds that convey the majority of their stormwater to the Pacific Ocean as a flood control measure. Data from Watermaster reveal that of the more than 500,000 acre-feet of stormwater captured this year, about 300,000 AF came from the San Gabriel River watershed.

We must remember we live in a region where most years are dry, infrastructure is aging, drought will return, and climate change makes the work of water planning and delivery challenging. The reality remains that we use more water than Mother Nature provides and if we’re not in a drought, we are probably either getting into one or recovering from one. 

We need to sustain our focus on investments in long-term water infrastructure and developing a long-term water conservation ethic that enables us to save water now, when it’s wet, for when it’s dry. It’s instructive to note that in the past 1-2 years Californians fell short of meeting the state’s voluntary 15% conservation goal and also fell short of the 25% conservation level achieved in the next most recent drought period. 

Groundwater in the Main San Gabriel Basin, the “Baldwin Park Key Well” is the indicator of local groundwater levels (see graph below – blue line includes cyclic storage; black line does not). As of October 1, 2023, the level stood at 226.9 feet above mean sea level.

Prior to the storms earlier this year, the Basin had experienced a steady decline in groundwater levels from a high of 212.5 feet above mean sea level in December 2019 and was trending downward toward the historic low of 169.4 recorded on November 21, 2018. One vertical foot is equivalent to about 8,000 acre-feet of groundwater in the Main Basin. Watermaster’s operating guidelines for replacement water or “safe yield” is between 200 and 250 feet above mean sea level. 

About 80 percent of the Valley’s water supply is furnished by local groundwater, and the Valley imports about 20 percent of the water we use from northern California and the Colorado River. A 60 percent allocation is needed to meet the demand of our member cities for replacement water. Thus, in years where the allocation dips below that amount, we see the important role that water storage and water conservation play.

Note: Groundwater use accounts for 41% of California’s total water supply (80% in the San Gabriel Valley) on an average, annual basis, and as much as 58% in a critically dry year. About 85% of public water systems rely on groundwater as their primary supply. Of water diverted and pumped in California, about 80% is used by agriculture and 20% is used by cities and towns.

Imported Water – In April, the California Department of Water Resources increased State Water Project allocations to State Water Contractors such as SGVMWD for 2023 to 100% for the first time since 2006. Imported water is used to supplement local groundwater supplies in the Main San Gabriel Basin.

Note: Two-thirds of California’s water originates in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and flows through the Delta, a large inland river delta and estuary in northern California.

Local Rainfall – the LA County Department of Public Works (DPW) reports annual rainfall levels from October 1 to September 30 of each year. As of September 30, 2023, the DPW headquarters location in Alhambra had recorded 39.64 inches of rain, about 222% of average (average annual rainfall at this location is 17.83 inches). The graph below shows both annual rainfall totals dating back to 1960, as well as the major drought cycles since then.

Drought Cycle Sept 2023

Statewide Snow Pack – as of October 1, the State is reporting 0% for its snow data, effectively starting its recordings anew as we head into the late fall and winter months. Snowpack is measured from April 1 to March 31, a 12-month period. April 1 is usually the “high point” for snow accumulation each year. What remains of the recent winter’s snowpack is one of the biggest the state has experienced since the 1950s.

Note: On average, the Sierra Nevada Mountains snowpack, which is a key source of water banked in reservoirs, supplies about 30% of California’s water needs as it melts in the spring and early summer, feeding reservoirs and the water table, resulting in groundwater. The snowpack is often referred to as California’s “frozen reservoir.”


Statewide Reservoir Levels – statewide, as of August 31, 2023, (the latest statewide data available to us), reservoir levels had risen to 129% of average and 77% of capacity. As of October 1, storage levels at Shasta Lake, the state’s largest reservoir, were 73% of capacity and 131% of the historical average for this date, and storage levels at Lake Oroville, the state’s second largest reservoir, were 73% of capacity and 136% of the historical average. 

Locally, both San Gabriel Reservoir and Cogswell Reservoir are conducting sediment removal, and Lake Silverwood, which rests above San Bernardino and is adjacent to the start of the District’s Devil Canyon-Azusa Pipeline, is filled to 84% of capacity and 95% of average. During the recent drought, low precipitation levels, high temperatures, hot and dry soil, and high levels of evaporation decreased stormwater runoff from surface levels to replenish both reservoirs and local groundwater supplies.

Note: Every winter, most areas need about 12 inches of rainfall before the ground is saturated enough to get large amounts of runoff into streams and reservoirs. California’s reservoirs generally hold enough water to go one dry year without impacts but begin to empty if a wet year does not follow.




Our popular irrigation system retrofit program continues to feature 1) a FREE irrigation system inspection; 2) replacement of an existing irrigation controller with a FREE, new programmed unit; and 3) FREE installation of new sprinkler nozzles on existing pop-up spray heads. In fiscal year 2022-2023, EcoTech performed 278 site assessments and 235 properties qualified. 261 weather-based “smart” controllers were installed, and 6,517 sprinkler nozzles were upgraded to water-efficient rotating nozzles. The approximate cost/value per landscape is $1,169. According to the EPA, replacing a clock-based controller to a WaterSense labeled weather-based controller can save an average property 7,600 gallons/year. Our projected water savings were 1,983,600 gallons of water for FY 22-23!

Funding is limited, so please review the informational flyer below and on our website and act as soon as possible. Residents in all our member cities may apply for the irrigation retrofit program by contacting our partner, EcoTech Services (866-308-8391 or ecotechservices.net). 

More Rebate Info Here
PWAG CET Website




Public Information Article Featured in the LA Times

Each year the District creates public information articles that are placed in special supplements within the LA Times and San Gabriel Valley Tribune, reaching stakeholders throughout the San Gabriel Valley. Our most recent educational piece featured information about how the San Gabriel Valley and the District are working to maintain our water supply improvements. The article includes how the Basin managed a very successful stormwater capture program during last winter’s heavy rains, as well as major long-term conservation initiatives supported by the District such as the Delta Conveyance Project, the Pure Water Southern California recycled water program, and the District’s own pipeline and facilities maintenance program.

Water Saving Tips For Late Fall and Early Winter Months

As temperatures cool and winter storms are on the horizon, it's a really good time to follow smart water-saving practices.



Upcoming: City of Alhambra and Alhambra Police Department Trunk-or-Treat October 2023

Joining the Alhambra Police Department and the City of Alhambra for their Trunk-or-Treat. The Water District will be there to pass out candy on Thursday, October 26 from 5 PM-6:30 PM!

Trunk-orTreat will be at 100 S. Second St., Alhambra, CA (between Main St. and Commonwealth Ave.)

2023 Speakers' Bureau and H2Owl Appearances

The District continues to support, sponsor and attend a variety of in-person community events. District representatives are available to make informational and educational presentations (in-person and virtually) at community and business meetings, city council and school board meetings.

Our presentations cover topics such as the role of the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District; explaining drought; the importance of local groundwater; local and state water supply conditions; the State Water Project and imported water; water conservation and future water supply solutions.

To request an in-person or virtual meeting or presentation with your group, please contact Evelyn Reyes, External Affairs Manager (626-969-7911 or ereyes@sgvmwd.com).


San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District www.sgvmwd.com

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