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January 2024

Board of Director Meetings


Monday, January 8, 2024; 8 a.m. - The January 2024 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.


Join Zoom Meeting

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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 12, 2024; 8 a.m.

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FEATURE ARTICLES

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Delta Conveyance Project Receives Environmental Approvals Needed to Move Potential Modernization of State Water Project/Imported Water Infrastructure to Engineering, Design and Permitting Phase

In December 2023, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) approved the Delta Conveyance Project, a modernization of the State Water Project infrastructure that delivers water to southern California to supplement local groundwater supplies. DWR has now “certified” the Project’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and completed an extensive environmental review. The San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District was one of 17 public water agencies to support the environmental review process, providing $2.68 million of funding.


Due to recurring drought and climate change, as well as aging infrastructure that is susceptible to earthquakes, the Delta Conveyance Project is a key part of California’s Water Resiliency Portfolio and the Governor’s Water Supply Strategy. Among the Project’s benefits are capturing and moving more water during wet seasons; minimizing future losses from climate-driven weather extremes; protecting against earthquakes disrupting water supplies; and protecting sensitive ecosystems in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The Project would yield about 500,000 acre-feet of water per year, which is enough for about 5.2 million people. Karla Nemeth, Director of the California Department of Water Resources stated, “the State Water Project is one of the most affordable sources of water in California, and we need to help local water agencies in protecting both reliability and affordability for their ratepayers.” 


The completion of the environmental review process for the Project included several years of environmental studies, public outreach, public comments and responses to those comments. The Delta Construction Authority will provide a new cost estimate and a benefit-cost analysis in mid-2024.

Click For More Information on the Delta Conveyance Project

OPERATIONS &

INFRASTRUCTURE

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Operations Update

 

State Water Project (SWP) allocations to state water contractors for 2023, such as SGVMWD, were increased to 100% of plan for the first time since 2006, helping stabilize water supplies statewide and in the San Gabriel Valley. The District was allocated 28,800 acre-feet of imported water in 2023 to deliver and use for replenishment of groundwater in the Main San Gabriel Basin. Some of the District’s allocation will be carried over into 2024 as capacity to deliver and store water in the Basin was limited late in 2023 due to high volumes of water in the system.


The state has forecasted allocations at 10% of requested supplies for 2024 as current conditions are dry and the hoped-for wet El Niño weather conditions have yet to materialize. Imported water is used to supplement local groundwater supplies in the Main San Gabriel Basin.

We are working closely with state and county water agencies to utilize available capacity in reservoirs, pipelines and spreading grounds to deliver the 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.


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.


In November, the District delivered 646 acre-feet (AF) of water to cyclic storage and 148 AF. Power generation in November was 485 MWh and 225 MWh in December.  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.

WATER SUPPLY CONDITIONS

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California is Experiencing a Slow Start to the New

"Water Year"


Jan 2024 dashboard

With the start of 2024, California’s and the San Gabriel Valley’s water supply conditions remain much improved. The graphs above show what a difference a year makes! However, the forecasted wet “El Niño” weather condition has yet to materialize and we are experiencing a dry start to the “water year” compared to last year’s record rain and snowfall. In fact, local rainfall is only 13.2% of average and the statewide snow pack is at its lowest level in ten years, at only 9% of the April 1 average and 25% of normal. 


Our improved water supply conditions result from Statewide rainfall being 141% of average in the 12 months ended September 30, the 10th wettest year since recordkeeping began 128 years ago. And imported water allocations from the State Water Project were at 100% in 2023 for the first time since 2006, meaning there was more imported water flowing to our area to help replenish groundwater levels. 


One of the most important indicators for the San Gabriel Valley is local groundwater which improves more slowly due to the time it takes stormwater runoff to percolate down to groundwater levels. Our local groundwater levels have risen more than 40 feet since January 2023.


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, we use more water than Mother Nature provides, infrastructure is aging, drought will return, and climate change makes the work of water planning and delivery challenging. We need to sustain our focus on investments in long-term water infrastructure and developing a long-term water conservation ethic. 


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 January 1, 2024, the level stood at 224.1 feet above mean sea level, more than 40 feet higher than a year ago.


Prior to the storms in early 2023, 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. 


Note: 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. 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 2023, 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. Those deliveries have been maximized as much as the delivery and storage “system” can handle, and some of the District’s allocation is being carried over into 2024. 


As presented earlier, the state has forecasted allocations at 10% of requested supplies for 2024 as current conditions are dry and the hoped-for wet El Niño weather conditions have yet to materialize. A final allocation plan is usually determined in May or June. 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 January 1, the DPW headquarters location in Alhambra had recorded 2.36 inches of rain since October 1, 2023, when our new “water year” began, representing 13.2% of average. We have a long way to go to match the last “water year” total of nearly 40 inches of precipitation (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 the first snow survey of the season in early January, the State is reporting about 8 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 2.4 inches, which is 9% of the historical April 1 “peak,” and 25% of normal. This is the lowest snow reading in 10 years. By comparison, the January 2023 snow survey showed a water content of 177% of average…and several major storms followed in February and March. 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.


Given above average reservoir levels, forecasted El Niño conditions, and a dry start to the water year, California needs to be prepared for both dry and flood conditions in the months ahead. 


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 October 31, 2023, (the latest statewide data available to us), reservoir levels were 125% of average and 66% of capacity. Most reservoirs in the state are above average. As of January 1, storage levels at Shasta Lake, the state’s largest reservoir, were 68% of capacity and 116% of the historical average for this date, and storage levels at Lake Oroville, the state’s second largest reservoir, were 68% of capacity and 130% of the historical average.


Locally, both San Gabriel Reservoir and Cogswell Reservoir were concluding sediment removal. San Gabriel Reservoir is at 128% of average, and Cogswell Reservoir is at 73% of average. Lake Silverwood, which rests above San Bernardino and is adjacent to the start of the District’s Devil Canyon-Azusa Pipeline, is filled to about 90% of capacity and 101% of average. 


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.

GRANTS &

REBATES

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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

EDUCATION &

CONSERVATION

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Water Saving Tips for the Winter Months


Cooler temperatures and winter storms are on their way! It’s still a good time to follow smart water-saving practices. Please consider three actions related to our precious water resource this winter. 


  • First, reset your irrigation controllers and systems to water less frequently and in smaller amounts as the weather is cooler, rainier and sunshine is not as intense. When it rains, turn off your watering system for a few days. 
  • Second, purchase a rain barrel that can capture stormwater for re-use around your property. If you purchase a rain barrel, the District will provide you a rebate of up to $35.
  • And third, plant California Native Plants and other drought-resistant vegetation to give your plants and their roots a head start before next year’s warmer spring and summer months (check our website for plant recommendations customized for each of our member cities: Alhambra, Azusa, Monterey Park and Sierra Madre).

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

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2024 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).

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San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District www.sgvmwd.com

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