September 2021

Board of Director Meetings

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

Monday, September 13, 2021; 8 a.m. 

Join via GoToMeeting: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/318712597

or dial-in: (646) 749-3122

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Rising to the Climate Challenge

Opinion Editorial

By SGVMWD Board President, Thomas Wong

President Wong has authored an Op-Ed which focuses on the need for bold action on and investment in water infrastructure projects which would improve drought and water resilience.

Citing investments in water infrastructure by SGVMWD in its member cities, by both the District and the State in the Delta Conveyance Project, by County voters who passed Measure W in 2018, and the U.S. Senate’s recently passed, bipartisan $8.3 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, President Wong concludes, “Our leaders at the global, federal, regional and local levels must act urgently and collaboratively to address the climate crisis and ensure the sustainability of our communities. We have no time to waste."

Read the entire Op-Ed >





State Water Project Imported Water Update

As dry, severe drought conditions spread throughout California, State Water Project deliveries are projected to be reduced to zero percent of planned amounts in 2022, a reduction from 5 percent in 2021. 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.

The graph shows how imported water allocations from the state vary from year to year and demonstrates the challenges faced by water managers.


SGVMWD Operations and Local Water Delivery Update

In May, the District completed delivery of all 1,440 acre-feet (5%) of its allotted 28,800 acre-feet of imported water to the San Gabriel Canyon spreading grounds which is used to replenish declining groundwater supplies in the Main San Gabriel Basin. The District has continued ongoing maintenance and repairs to equipment, computer systems and pipeline/water delivery infrastructure. 

In addition, the District has begun long-range infrastructure planning which includes development of a conditions assessment, an asset management plan and a financing plan.

Update: SGVMWD Infrastructure Loans to Member Cities


In 2020, the District approved $8 million of zero-interest loans to member cities for water-related infrastructure and pandemic relief projects. Sierra Madre plans to utilize a $2.8 million zero-interest loan to fund water main replacement projects in fiscal years 2021, 2022 and 2023. The first of their projects has already begun as shown in the photo of Sierra Madre Mayor Rachelle Arizmendi and SGVMWD Board Member Miles Prince reviewing plans at a construction site.  


Monterey Park will apply their four million zero-interest loan for construction of a PFAS/PFOA water treatment facility, which will coast approximately six million dollars. Pictured is initial construction of Monterey Park's facility with existing water treatment vessels in the foreground and the new PFAS/PFOA vessel construction to the rear of the photo. We will provide updates on these projects in future editions of the newsletter.




Water supplies statewide and in the San Gabriel Valley (local groundwater) remain below normal and average as shown by the bleak pictures of the local, San Gabriel Reservoir in the nearby San Gabriel Mountains (below left), and the State’s second largest reservoir, Lake Oroville, which is less than 50% full (below right). 

The past two years have been the driest in nearly half a century (since 1976-1977). Warming temperatures are a major contributor to worsening drought conditions as temperatures are about two degrees hotter, on average, now than 50 years ago. This results in greater evaporation during precipitation events, less melting snow feeding rivers and reservoirs, and soil moisture drying out before soaking into the ground. Computer models show that in the future, dry years will be drier, and wet years will be wetter.

San Gabriel Reservoir 2021.png

San Gabriel Reservoir


Lake Oroville

The State's second largest reservoir

Key Well ElevChart_Aug2021.png

Local Groundwater – in the Main San Gabriel Basin, the “Baldwin Park Key Well” is the indicator of groundwater levels (see graph – blue line includes cyclic storage; black line does not). As of September 3, 2021, the level is 187 feet above mean sea level. The Basin has experienced a fairly steady decline from 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.

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, .27 inches of rain have fallen year to date; .20 inches are normal. Rainfall totals for the year ended June 30, 2021 were 6.49 inches compared to a season normal of 17.38 inches (37% of normal).

Statewide Snow Pack – as of September 1, 2021, statewide, the average “snow water equivalent” is 0.1 inches. Snow levels are 0% of normal for this date and 0% of the April 1 average. 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 July 31, 2021, (the latest data available to us), reservoir levels were at 60% of average and 40% 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.




Saving Water... it's a Good Thing!

The District Teams Up with Member Cities to Promote Water Conservation

The District’s water conservation and education campaign theme for 2022 is a simple and fun call to action: “Saving Water…it’s a good thing!” The message can be taken two ways: that water, itself, is a good thing; and that the act of saving water is a good thing. Regardless of your interpretation, we hope the positive theme/message for 2021 is inspiring and helpful.

As pictured, our member cities are getting the word out in the form of banners, bus shelters and lobby signs, with much more drought outreach planned. We will provide updates in future issues of the newsletter.




Sierra Madre


Monterey Park



Fall Water-Saving is Crucial to Preserve Local Groundwater Supplies!

As weather remains warm and dry into the Fall, water use remains high throughout the San Gabriel Valley, so it is an important time to save water and save money.

Shown below are water saving tips formulated for the Fall months that will also save you money. Items such as water-efficient appliances, irrigation controllers, rotating sprinkler nozzles and rain barrels are eligible for the District’s rebate program .


  • Repair leaks
  • Take shorter showers and install flow restrictors in sinks and showers
  • Install water-efficient clothes and dish washers with the help of the District’s rebate program and only run full loads
  • Consider a gray water “recycling” system for your home or business.


  • Repair leaks
  • Install rain barrels to capture storm water for use in gardens, pools and spas
  • Install covers on pools and spas to reduce evaporation
  • Adjust or turn off automatic sprinkler controls based on weather conditions
  • Remove turf, plant California Native vegetation and install drip irrigation equipment.

New and Fun Educational Materials for Schools, Teachers and Students

The District created several new educational videos (insert link), and a new, fun “Water Awareness Growth Chart.” The chart will help students learn more about groundwater, imported water, water terminology, and water conservation. The fun part is the Growth Chart is about 3-feet long and folds out so that students can keep it long-term. Please download the Growth Chart from our website or contact us (626-969-7911 or info@sgvmwd.com) and we will send to you.




In-Person Appearances at Community Events Resume

(Carefully and Safely) after Pandemic Hiatus!

With the easing of pandemic-related restrictions, the District is again supporting and participating, with the utmost care and safety, in some community events in-person as the year progresses. 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.

One of the first “live” events to occur this summer was “National Night Out” in Alhambra, where the District supported the public safety event with a booth and water conservation and education materials. 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. 




O.W.L. Grant Program for Schools and Non-Profit Organizations

The Opportunities for Water Leadership Grants (O.W.L.) are available! The Grant Program is a great way to aid educational events such as Earth Day festivals (outdoors or virtual/on-line), re-landscaping projects, waterway cleanups, tree plantings, school projects, conservation curriculum, and other civic, volunteer activities. 

The grants range from $200-$2,000 for local, creative water conservation projects. The District welcomes creative ideas from schools and non-profit organizations. We are happy to provide technical assistance to help you complete the grant application.

A recap of our grant recipients to date is shown below and included on the District’s website: Please click here to read about the Grant Program and to access the online application. For further information, please contact the District at 626-969-7911.


Rebate Program Easier than Ever with New On-line Application on the District’s New Website

The San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District has offered a rebate program for many years for a variety of water-saving appliances and equipment. Many residents have cashed in and reaped the benefits of lower water bills and money in their pockets. 

Our new website offers participants an on-line application process that is easier and faster! Please visit our new website (insert new link for www.sgvmwd.org/Conservation/Rebates). Residents who pay their water bill to the cities of Alhambra, Monterey Park and Sierra Madre are eligible to participate. If you take action today, you should be enjoying that rebate, extra cash and water savings within 8-10 weeks. If you have any questions, please call us (626-969-7911) or email us (info@sgvmwd.com). Thank you and stay safe!


San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District www.sgvmwd.com

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