January 2023

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to Our Member Cities of Alhambra, Azusa, Monterey Park and Sierra Madre. We Look Forward to Serving and Working With You in 2023

Happy Lunar New Year, 新年快乐

Happy Lunar New Year to our Asian American communities. In the year of the water rabbit, we wish you all longevity, peace and prosperity in the new year.

Board of Director Meetings

Monday, January 23, 2023; 8 a.m. - The January 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 and to continue to enhance safety related to Covid-19, the public is invited to attend the meeting via video conference.

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Meeting ID: 890 1330 6120

Passcode: 512838

Dial by your location (669) 444-9171

Save the Date: February Board Meeting – Monday, February 9, 2022;

8 a.m.

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Board of Directors' News

At its December 2022 meeting, three Board members were sworn in by General Manager Darin Kasamoto after being re-elected in November elections to serve new, four-year terms. Pictured below left to right, Director Bruce Knoles (District V – Azusa), Director Mark Paulson (Division I – Alhambra), Director Miles Prince (Division IV – Sierra Madre), and General Manager Darin Kasamoto. 

Also at December’s meeting, former Director Thomas Wong, past Board president and representative for Division III – Monterey Park, was recognized by a Board Resolution for his decade of service and significant contributions to the District, its member cities and the San Gabriel Valley. To read the Board Resolution, please click here. Pictured below, left to right, are Director Steve Placido, Director Bruce Knoles, Director Mark Paulson, former Director and Board President Thomas Wong, Director Miles Prince and General Manager Darin Kasamoto. Thomas Wong was elected to the Monterey Park City Council in the City’s November 2022 municipal election and resigned his Board position in early December 2022.

Wong’s departure, and the ensuing vacancy on the District’s Board of Directors, set in motion the following actions:

  • The District accepted applications for the vacant District III - Monterey Park Board seat until December 22, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.

  • The Board of Directors interviewed candidates at its Board meeting on Monday, January 9, 2023, 8 a.m., at District headquarters, and appointed former legislator, Monterey Park mayor and councilmember, and LA Community College District Board of Trustee member, Mike Eng to fill the vacant Board seat (see article below).

  • At its January 23, 2023 Board meeting, Mike Eng will be sworn in and the full Board of Directors will vote on Board appointments for President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary, as well as committee assignments.

Board of Directors Appoints Mike Eng to Fill Division III - Monterey Park Board Vacancy

The Board of Directors of the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District voted unanimously at its January 9, 2023, board meeting to appoint former state legislator, Monterey Park City Council member and Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees member Mike Eng to fill the Division III – Monterey Park Board position vacated by former Director Thomas Wong. Wong, who served on the Board since 2012 and as its most recent president, was elected to the Monterey Park City Council in that city’s November 2022 elections. Eng will complete the four-year term begun by Wong in December 2020.


The Board expressed its appreciation that Eng and one other candidate submitted applications and interviewed in-person before the Board at its January 9, 2023 meeting. Citing Eng’s past water policy accomplishments, his working relationships at all levels of local government and community affairs, and his extensive elected official experience in the San Gabriel Valley, the Board voted 4-0 to appoint Eng to the position. 

Mike Eng served in the California State Assembly representing cities in the San Gabriel Valley. He received recognition for authoring the “Human Right to Water” legislation which said, “Californians have the right to safe, affordable accessible water.” His bill AB153 brought millions of dollars to the San Gabriel Valley to clean polluted groundwater, and he also worked on legislation leading to the 2009 State Water Bond. Eng also served as Mayor and Councilmember for the City of Monterey Park and helped lead the efforts to clean the city’s drinking water from the perchlorate pollutant. He started the region’s first Environmental Commission to address long-term environmental issues. He was also elected to the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District and chaired every Board committee.

Mike Eng started the downtown L.A. immigration law firm, Eng and Nishimura, which provided immigration legal services to thousands of families and businesses for 40 years. Mike has since retired from the firm which still exists. He earned his law degree from UCLA and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Hawaii. He has been a resident of the San Gabriel Valley for over 35 years with his wife, U.S. Representative Judy Chu.

The District’s 2021-2022 Fiscal Year Annual Report Released

The District has issued its Annual Report, which summarizes District accomplishments from our fiscal year of July 1, 2021, until June 30, 2022, including financial, operations, water supply data, outreach programs, grants, and rebates. To read our Annual Report, please click on the image.




State Announces Initial Allocation of State Water Project Supplies to State Water Contractors for 2023 – 5%

The California Department of Water Resources, which operates the State Water Project which delivers imported water from northern to central and southern California, announced an initial five percent 2023 water supply allocation for public water agencies (such as SGVMWD) who receive water from the Stater Water Project. Imported water supplements local groundwater supplies in the Main San Gabriel Basin and Raymond Basin, the primary sources of water for the District’s member cities of Alhambra, Azusa, Monterey Park, and Sierra Madre. The planned allocation may be adjusted in the future based on hydrological conditions.


This marks the third consecutive year of a 5% allocation as the state enters its fourth consecutive dry year reflecting the severity of our current drought, climate change, and less than desired water supplies. This allocation underscores the need for continued conservation and investments in enhanced water supply infrastructure.

SGVMWD Operations and Local Water Delivery Update 



The District delivered 129 acre-feet of “imported water” to the Main San Gabriel Basin at the San Gabriel Canyon Spreading Grounds in December as part of its State Water Project allocation. The District’s entire 2022 5% allocation has been delivered. 


The State has set the allocation to State Water Contractors such as the District at 5% for 2023. This will be the third consecutive year of a 5% allocation, an historic first for water contractors such as the District. A 5% allocation means the District will deliver 1,440 AF of water (of its planned 28,800 AF) from the State Water Project to underground storage in the Main San Gabriel Basin. Coupled with ongoing drought and the long-term impacts of climate change, this is a significant challenge to the Valley’s ability to supplement local groundwater supplies. 


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 plays.



Let's Hope Recent Rains End the Severe Drought...But Let's Not Plan on It!

Last year at about this time we’d experienced heavy precipitation throughout California, and many thought the drought was over. Then, from January through March 2022, we had the driest three-month period in California’s history and the drought worsened. And our local groundwater supplies, as well as water supplies from northern California that we import to supplement local supplies, continued their steady decline.

What’s the lesson in all of this? It’s that we live in a dry region where drought is normal, where water supplies are limited and where climate change makes the work of water planning and delivery far from reliable or sustainable. The reality is if we’re not in a drought, we are probably either getting into one or recovering from one.

The graphic above provides a “snapshot” of our local drought and water supply conditions. As you can see, much of the state remains in severe or extreme, local groundwater (which provides 80% of the water we use) remains well below desired levels, and rainfall, statewide snowpack and reservoir levels are below average.

The impact of recent storms statewide and in the San Gabriel Valley is encouraging, however. The Department of Water Resources conducted its first snow survey on the season on January 3, 2023. It found snow water equivalent of more than 17 inches and snowpack at 174 percent of average for that date. The succession of storms which occurred the week after this measurement are welcome and needed over an extended period of time to change the course of the current drought.

While conservation rates in the Valley and our member cities have improved in the past few months, we are not achieving the 15% voluntary reductions called for by the Governor in July 2021, or the 25% conservation levels achieved in the most recent drought. Mandatory reductions, rationing and price increases remain a possibility if water supply conditions worsen and conservation efforts lag. Please follow guidelines in your city.

It’s too early to conclude the drought is over. Let’s save water now when it’s wet…for when it’s dry. We’ll need multiple above-average rain and snow years to recover from the current drought.


Groundwater in the Main San Gabriel Basin, the “Baldwin Park Key Well” is the indicator of local groundwater levels (see graph – blue line includes cyclic storage; black line does not). As of January 6, 2023, the level declined slightly to 178.9 feet above mean sea level from 179.7 feet above mean sea level in late November. The Basin has experienced a steady decline in groundwater levels from a high of 212.5 feet above mean sea level in December 2019. Recent levels have continued trending downward toward the historic low of 169.4 recorded on November 21, 2018. Watermaster’s operating guidelines for replacement water or “safe yield” is between 200 and 250 feet above mean sea level. 


Note: Groundwater use accounts for 41% of California’s total water supply 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 – On December 1, 2022, the California Department of Water Resources announced a 5% allocation of imported water to State Water Contractors such as SGVMWD for 2023, an unprecedented third consecutive year of a 5% allocation. Imported water is used to supplement local groundwater supplies in the Main San Gabriel Basin. The graph below shows how imported water allocations fluctuate over time and how deliveries have been reduced significantly, hindering our ability to replenish local groundwater supplies in the Main San Gabriel Basin.

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 late December 2022, the DPW headquarters location in Alhambra had recorded more than 6 inches of rain, about 34% of average (the average annual rainfall at this location is 17.83 inches). By January 20th, following a succession of "atmospheric river" storms, rainfall totals stood at 18.96 inches, which represents 106% of average.


Statewide Snow Pack – as of late December 2022, the snow water equivalent was about 14 inches, which is 51% of the April 1 average and more than 100% of normal for this date (snow pack is measured from April 1 to March 31, a 12-month period). By January 10th, storm activity had pushed the snow totals over 94% of the April 1 average and over 200% of normal for the January 10th date. April 1 is usually the “high point” for snow accumulation each year. Showing the immense output of the recent "atmospheric river" storms, as of January 19, the snow totals rose to a snow water equivalent of 33.1 inches which is 126% of the April 1 average and 245% of normal for the January 19th date.


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.


Statewide Reservoir Levels – statewide, as of December 31, 2022, (the latest data available to us), reservoir levels were 76% of average and 42% of capacity, improved from one month ago. As of December 27, 2022, storage levels at Shasta Lake, the state’s largest reservoir, were 23% of average and 7% of capacity, and storage levels at Lake Oroville, the state’s second largest reservoir, were 58% of average and 30% of capacity. Both declined from November of this year. Locally, San Gabriel Reservoir was at 58% of average and 9% of capacity, and Cogswell Reservoir was at 98% of average and 11% of capacity. 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.




2023 O.W.L. Community Grant Program: Amounts are Unlimited and Available on a First-Come, First-Served Basis

Start the new year off with a commitment to obtain an O.W.L. Grant for your organization. Non-profit schools, service clubs and community/business organizations are eligible to participate in the District’s O.W.L. Community Grant Program. The purpose of the Program is to encourage grassroots, creative efforts to promote water conservation and water education. The District has funded dozens of such proposals in the past decade and looks forward to working with you! For details on the O.W.L. Grant Program, to apply for a grant online, or to learn about recent grant recipients, please visit our website (https://sgvmwd.com/water-conservation/#owl-grants). 

The District’s O.W.L. Grants Program was featured in September 2022 by ABC-Channel 7 to help encourage water conservation as part of its “Water-Wise Wednesday” community feature. The entire news segment may be viewed with the link below.

ABC 7: Save Water Wednesday Video

Rebate Program – Save Water and Save Money!


The District has enhanced its water conservation programs to help you save water and money. Our new irrigation system retrofit program features 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. The program has a value of up to $1,000 per applicant and funding is limited, so please act as soon as possible. Please review the informational flyers below.


Residents in Alhambra, Monterey Park and Sierra Madre may apply for rebates on the District’s website (www.sgvmwd.com). 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).




Cooler Weather? It’s a Great Time to Implement Water-Wise Gardening Tips in Our Member Cities


The District is offering a new water conservation resource for our member cities. Working with information provided by the California Native Plant Society, and their very informative Calscape website (www.calscape.org), the District created water-wise gardening tips customized to meet the unique climates of our four member cities – Alhambra, Azusa, Monterey Park and Sierra Madre.


Fall and winter are the best time of the year to plant new water-wise vegetation, to give plants and their roots time to become established before hot, dry weather resumes next spring and summer. The gardening tips recommend California Native plants suitable for each city, as well as local nurseries and landscape supply stores at which the plants may be purchased. As more and more residents change out their old, water-intensive lawns and gardens for hardscapes and drought-tolerant vegetation, these tips will save water and save money!


2023 Speakers' Bureau and H2Owl Appearances


With the new year upon us, the District will continue to support 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 and business/chamber meetings. 

We are also interested in attending and exhibiting at weekend/evening events in our member cities and presenting to youth and school groups. Our water conservation guru, H2Owl, is available upon request to educate and delight young people of all ages! 

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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