April 2022

Board of Director Meetings

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

Monday, April 11, 2022; 8 a.m. 

Join via GoToMeeting: https://meet.goto.com/594067653

or dial-in: +1 (312) 757-3121 Access Code: 594-067-653

Save the Date: May Board Meeting - Monday, May 9, 2022; 8 a.m. (Note: the Board will review whether to conduct its May meeting either on-line or in-person at the April Board meeting. Updated information will be posted on the District’s website and in next month’s meeting announcement.)

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Greater Conservation Needed to Redress Lack of Precipitation, Reduced Imported Water Deliveries and Lower Water Conservation Levels

All signs are pointing toward worsening drought and water supply shortages as Earth Day and May/Water Awareness Month approach. Having just experienced the driest three-month period of January through March in history, along with easing of pandemic-related health restrictions, the District is renewing its efforts to reach out in-person and on-line to inform and incentivize residents and businesses to save water and to save money. 

Our efforts are compelled by worsening drought, announcement by the State in March that imported water allocations were being reduced from 15% to 5% of planned levels (imported water deliveries from the State Water Project (SWP) help replenish local groundwater supplies which provide 80% of the water we use in the San Gabriel Valley), and data from the State Water Resources Control Board that show California overall, especially in southern California, is increasing its urban water use and falling short of the State’s “voluntary” 15% water use reduction goal. 

Water savings tracked since July 2021, when the Governor called on Californians to voluntarily cut water use by 15%, were just 6.4%, less than half the target. This could lead to mandatory water use restrictions in the future.

The flyer highlighted below, which will appear in a special Los Angeles Times Earth Day supplement, provides an overview of free conservation programs offered by the District to assist residents, businesses, schools and community groups conserve water. 

Please visit our website and read further in this newsletter about the District’s rebate programs, OWL Community Grant Program, downloadable water saving tips, educational videos, direct-install irrigation systems, and our community outreach and speakers’ bureau program

The official slogan for the international Earth Day organization is, “Earth Day, It’s Not a Day, It’s a Movement.” Let’s all take action and increase our commitment to save water. Visit the official Earth Day website to learn more about this historic movement (www.earthday.org). 

Short on Time? Take a Look at these Brief, Informative and Fun Videos about Drought, Local Water Supply and Conservation

The State Water Contractors and the Department of Water Resources’ Save Our Water campaign released animated whiteboard videos in both English and Spanish to ensure all Californians understand the urgent need to conserve water during this historic drought. And the District, itself, has created two educational videos about our local groundwater supplies and water conservation. Click on the images below to watch the videos. A “Video Gallery” may be found on the District’s website.




SGVMWD Operations and Local Water Delivery Update - State Water Project Allocation Reduced to 5%

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 welcome news was somewhat reversed in March as the State reduced the allocation back to only 5% due to declining water supply conditions following the driest three-month period in our history in January, February and March, a change described as “climate whiplash” by the State Water Contractors. A 5% allocation means the District will be able to deliver 1,440 AF of water from the SWP to underground storage in the Main San Gabriel Basin. 

In March, the District’s Devil Canyon-Azusa Pipeline continued to flow at capacity, delivering 3,206 acre-feet (AF) of water on behalf of Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (Upper District) and Three Valleys Municipal Water District (TVMWD). Of the total, 2,105 AF were delivered to the San Gabriel Canyon Spreading Grounds and adjacent canal on behalf of USGVMWD, and 1,101 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 Worsens: The First Three Months of 2022 were the Driest on Record

Summary - As shown in the graphics above, water supply conditions declined in March compared to February. Drought conditions are worsening, and groundwater, rainfall, and statewide snow pack and reservoirs, each remain well below desired levels long-term. A good example of our water supply challenge is that California’s snowpack, a key source of water via spring and summer runoff, is now at 39% of its average, or 23% lower than at the same time last year. Another example is that during extended droughts, soft soils can become so dry that they soak up all new water while hard soils actually repel water, further reducing runoff to streams and reservoirs.

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. This type of feast or famine winter with big storms and long, severe dry periods is expected to increase as climate change continues. As a result, we’ll need multiple above-average rain and snow years to make up the difference rather than consecutive large events in a single year. 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 April 1, 2022, the level is 181.3 feet above mean sea level, reduced from a level of 181.7 feet one month ago. The Basin has experienced a fairly steady decline in groundwater levels from a 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 March 2022, the California Department of Water Resources reduced its allocation of imported water to State Water Contractors such as SGVMWD from zero to 5% (from 15%) due to the record-setting dry conditions from January through March of this year. Imported 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 April 1, rainfall year-to-date is 12.75 inches, more than ALL of the prior year’s total of 6.49 inches, but representing only 73% of normal annual precipitation. 

Statewide Snow Pack – as of March 31, 2022, statewide, the end of the year snowpack was 38% of the April 1 average (snow pack is measured from April 1 to March 31, a 12-month period). April 1 is usually the “high point” for snow accumulation each year. 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 February 28, 2022, (the latest data available to us), reservoir levels were at 72% of average and 46% of capacity. 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.




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 seek 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. We are very flexible with respect to project approaches and funding levels.

Over the years, we’ve funded dozens of such projects and funding is available to expand and continue such efforts. Please click on the logo above to visit our website 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 water conservation.


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). 




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 or printed, links to educational videos and links to valuable water/conservation websites. We also revised our water saving tips for inside and outside of your home. Teachers and schools find the following materials especially helpful in teaching students about conservation:


Community Outreach

Speakers’ Bureau and H2Owl Appearances

With extra caution for pandemic and health-related safety, the District is again supporting and participating in in-person community events. 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. 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. 


San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District www.sgvmwd.com

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