March 2022

Board of Director Meetings

Virtual/On-Line Until Further Notice; 8 a.m., 2nd Monday of the Month

Monday, March 14, 2022; 8 a.m. 

Join via GoToMeeting: https://meet.goto.com/920134437

or dial-in: (786) 535-3211 Access Code: 920-134-437

Save the Date: April Board Meeting - Monday, April 11, 2022

Quick Links 

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Water Saving Tips




Fix A Leak Week - March 2022

The average American household wastes nearly 10,000 gallons each year from easy-to-fix water leaks—that’s the amount of water needed to wash 300 loads of laundry. Fix a Leak Week is March 14 through 20 and is sponsored by EPA’s WaterSense® program. Fixing household leaks not only saves water but reduces water utility bills—by about 10 percent. Here's three simple steps to fixing leaks: Check. Twist. Replace.

1. Check

First, check your home for leaks. Walk around your home - indoors and outdoors - with eyes and ears open to find leaks, and don’t forget to check pipes and outdoor spigots. You can also detect silent toilet leaks, a common water-wasting culprit, by adding a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank and waiting 10 minutes before flushing. If any color appears in the bowl during that time, your toilet has a leak. Visit www.epa.gov/watersense for do-it-yourself repair tips or contact a plumbing professional.

 2. Twist

Apply pipe tape to be sure plumbing fixture connections are sealed tight and give leaking faucets and showerheads a firm twist with a wrench. If you can’t stop those drops yourself, contact your favorite plumbing professional. For additional savings, twist a WaterSense labeled aerator onto each bathroom faucet to save water without noticing a difference in flow. Faucet aerators cost a few dollars or less and can save a household more than 500 gallons each year—the amount of water it takes to shower 180 times!

3. Replace

Replacing an old, inefficient showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model will shrink your household’s water footprint by 2,700 gallons annually while still letting you shower with power, thanks to EPA’s efficiency and performance criteria. With less hot water passing through, WaterSense labeled showerheads can also save enough energy to power a television for a year.

Want to do more? Visit www.epa.gov/watersense and learn more water-saving tips: www.facebook.com/EPAwatersense.




SGVMWD Operations and Local Water Delivery Update

As reported in the February e-Pipeline newsletter, in January 2022, the California Department of Water Resources increased allocations of imported water from zero to 15% of planned allocations to State Water Contractors such as SGVMWD. That was welcome news as the Main San Gabriel Basin is in need of supplemental water due to the dry winter and worsening drought conditions.

In February, the District delivered 2,909 acre-feet of water on behalf of Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (USGVMWD) and Three Valleys Municipal Water District (TVMWD). Of the total, 1,993 AF were delivered to the San Gabriel Canyon Spreading Grounds and adjacent canal on behalf of USGVMWD, and 916 AF were delivered to Covina Irrigating Company on behalf of TVMWD.

The District’s planned or full allocation is 28,800 acre-feet. 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.



Drought Emergency Remains in Effect: The First Two Months of 2022 were the Driest in a Century, Exacerbating Drought and Water Supply Conditions

As shown in the graphics above, water supply conditions that had improved slightly in February compared to January are trending in the wrong direction once again. Drought conditions are worsening, and groundwater, rainfall, and statewide snow pack and reservoirs, each remain well below desired levels long-term. 

Following a January and February that will enter records as among the driest documented in state history (January and February are supposed to be the wettest months of the year), the snow pack, and potential water run-off to reservoirs, are declining again." “With only one month left in California’s wet season and no major storms in the forecast, Californians should plan for a third year of drought conditions,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “A significantly below-average snowpack combined with already low reservoir levels make it critical that all Californians step up and conserve water every day to help the state meet the challenges of severe drought.”

“With below average precipitation and snowpack up until this point, our latest statewide snowmelt forecasts are only 66 percent of average,” said Sean de Guzman, Manager of DWR’s Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit. “That is not enough to fill up our reservoirs. Without any significant storms on the horizon, it’s safe to say we’ll end this year dry and extend this drought a third year.”

The District’s board took action to address water supply and drought conditions at its December meeting by unanimously passing a resolution, a key premise of which is, “Further, be it resolved, because the current drought is worsening, drought is “normal” and will recur, and California has not yet mandated water use restrictions, the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District calls upon all residents, businesses and government entities to commit to work together to implement water management best practices and to achieve the highest levels of voluntary water conservation.” To read the entire resolution, please click here.

Many experts compare current conditions to the serious drought of 1976-1977, however, climate change and increasingly warmer temperatures (two degrees hotter, on average, now than 50 years ago) have evaporated precipitation and melted snow pack much faster than in prior years, resulting in less melting snow feeding rivers and reservoirs, and soil moisture drying out before soaking down into the ground. Computer models show that in the future, dry years will be drier, and wet years will be wetter. As the graph below illustrates, drought is common and “normal” in the San Gabriel Valley. Conservation works and should be a “way of life.” 

5 Drought Cycles Since 1970 thru 2021.png

Local 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 March 4, 2022, the level is 181.5 feet above mean sea level, slightly above a month ago when the level was 182.0 feet above mean sea level. As recent storm runoff percolates down to groundwater levels, groundwater levels are likely to improve. The Basin has experienced a fairly steady decline from a recent high of 212.5 feet above mean sea level in December 2019. The present level is still an improvement from the historic low of 169.4 as recently as November 21, 2018. Watermaster’s operating guidelines for replacement water or “safe yield” is between 200 and 250 feet above mean sea level. Main San Gabriel Basin groundwater supplies, which account for nearly 80% of the water we use, remain below desired levels and remain in need of ongoing smart management, replenishment and conservation.

March 2022 BP Well

Imported Water – in January 2022, the California Department of Water Resources raised its allocation of imported water to State Water Contractors such as SGVMWD from zero to 15% following significant precipitation in late December 2021. That water is used to supplement local groundwater supplies in the Main San Gabriel Basin. Here is a look at imported water allocations over time:

Local Rainfall – the Los Angeles Almanac reports annual rainfall levels from July 1 of each year to June 30 of each year. At the Santa Fe Dam weather station, as of March 1, rainfall year-to-date is 11.21 inches, more than ALL of the prior year’s total of 6.49 inches, but representing only 64% of normal annual precipitation. 

Statewide Snow Pack – as of March 1, 2022, statewide, the average “snow water equivalent” is 15.4 inches. Snowfall was nearly nonexistent in January and February, so snow levels are now 56% of the April 1 average (snow pack is measured from April 1 to March 31, a 12-month period), thus, April 1 is usually the “high point” for snow accumulation each year. On average, the Sierra Nevada Mountains snow pack, 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 January 31, 2022, (the latest data available to us), reservoir levels were at 76% of average and 45% of capacity. Lake Shasta, the state’s largest reservoir, is only 37% full; Lake Oroville, the state’s second largest reservoir, is only 47% full. 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. Because last year’s precipitation levels were low and the ground was so dry, the ground absorbed high levels of recent precipitation. 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.





Community Outreach

With extra caution for pandemic and health-related safety, the District is again supporting and participating in in-person community events. We look forward to an active spring outreach season. We will also be seeking to provide in-person presentations and workshops about water supply and water conservation. We are always open to providing virtual or on-line presentations, as well.

Our first major outreach event of 2022 was the Lunar New Year event in Alhambra, held on Sunday, February 20. An estimated 5,000+ people were in attendance, including Alhambra city council members, Alhambra Unified School District board members, U.S. Congresswomen Judy Chu, LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis, State Senator Susan Rubio and State Assemblymember Mike Fong. District staff, as well as mascot H2Owl, were in attendance. 

The event combined a “Year of the Tiger” celebration with the Alhambra Farmers Market. The District contributed financially to the event and provided a variety of free water conservation materials to attendees along with traditional New Year red envelopes with lucky gold (chocolate) coins in them. 

We look forward to seeing you in person, to introducing you to H2Owl and talking more about water issues! Please let us know about speaking opportunities and other events we might support with water education materials and our kid-friendly mascot. Please contact Evelyn Reyes at either 626-969-7911 or ereyes@sgvmwd.com. 




Rebates – Grants – Downloadable Materials – Videos - Guest Speakers - Events

For nearly two years, our communities have dealt carefully with challenges presented by Covid-19. The District, itself, adopted a number of precautions to protect the health and well-being of employees and key stakeholders. Those actions led to major changes and reductions in in-person conservation education and outreach to youth, schools, government, businesses and community organizations in our member cities. We maintained a modicum of communication with stakeholders through our new website, newsletter, social media and video calls and meetings.

With extra caution for public health and safety, as we move toward spring 2022, with Earth Day (April 22) and May/Water Awareness Month on the horizon, pandemic-related restrictions are easing and the District wants to re-acquaint you with its conservation/education resources and financial incentives. We invite and encourage your participation!

Here is a brief overview of programs available to residents and organizations in our member cities. Greater detail about each program is available on our website (www.sgvmwd.com) or by emailing or calling the District (info@sgvmwd.com; 626-969-7911).

Rebate Program – Save Water and Save Money!

The District has enhanced its rebate program to help you save water and money. We are offering a new rebate of up to $100 on water flow monitoring devices. These devices inform about water use in real time and can help identify leaks. In addition, we’re offering an irrigation system retrofit program that 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 take action as soon as possible. Please review the informational flyers below. 

Note that 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). 

OWL Community Grant Program (Opportunities for Water Leadership)

The District created the OWL Community Grant Program after several years of successfully funding large, highly visible, public water conservation projects in its member cities. We wanted to fund and spur creation of local, grassroots-oriented water conservation projects by providing “seed money” to help schools and non-profit groups possessing plans, inspiration and volunteers. 

Over the years, we’ve funded dozens of such projects and funding is available to expand and continue such efforts. Please visit our website through the link below and learn more about our local community grant program, examples of past grants and grant guidelines. We look forward to assisting you and working together to promote conservation as a way of life.

OWL Community Grant

Speakers’ Bureau and H2Owl Appearances

District representatives are available to make informational and educational presentations 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 a meeting or presentation with your group, please contact Evelyn Reyes, External Affairs Manager (626-969-7911 or ereyes@sgvmwd.com). 

Website, Downloadable School/Educational Materials, Videos and Links

The District revised and updated its website during the pandemic. It contains a trove of information related to water supply, water conservation, educational materials that may be downloaded, links to educational videos and links to valuable water/conservation websites.

Visit our Website

San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District www.sgvmwd.com

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