February 2023

Board of Director Meetings

Monday, February 13, 2023; 8 a.m. - The February 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: March Board Meeting – Monday, March 13, 2023;

8 a.m.

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Major Storm Events have Improved State and Local Water Supplies but Drought Continues in Southern California

Starting on December 26, 2022, a series of 9 atmospheric rivers brought significant amounts of rain and snow to California and the San Gabriel Valley over a 3-4 week period. 80% of a full seasonal snowpack, well above normal for this time of year, was deposited in California during these storms, and the snow water equivalent has risen to approximately 215%. Runoff from the snowpack will serve us well long-term as warm, dry conditions return in the spring, summer and fall. Statewide, precipitation over these 3 weeks was 11.2 inches, which is 46% of a full water year. Reservoirs have risen significantly compared to a month ago, but many remain below historical averages.


Local groundwater, which we rely on for about 80% of the water we use, has yet to show much improvement, but local reservoir levels have risen significantly. The need for conservation continues as we remain in drought about halfway through the snow and rain season.

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) shows chances of drought removal or improvement for central and northern California, Oregon, Idaho, and the northern Rockies, with drought remaining in southern California, Nevada, and Utah. 

California Department of Water Resources Increases State Water Project Supplies to State Water Contractors (SGVMWD) for 2023

Recent storms have boosted the reservoirs, snowpack and river flows that feed the state aqueduct. Thus, on January 26, 2023, the California Department of Water Resources, which operates the State Water Project (SWP) which delivers imported water from northern to central and southern California, announced an increase from its initial 5% allocation to 30% for 2023 for public water agencies (such as SGVMWD) who receive water from the Stater Water Project (State Water Project Increase Statement). For SGVMWD, this represents an increase from 1,440 acre-feet to 8,640 acre-feet of water available to replenish local groundwater for our member cities.


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.

Board of Directors' News

Board of Directors' Officer Selection

In a busy start to the New Year, the Board met twice in January to first select and appoint Mike Eng to the vacant Division III – Monterey Park Board position, and to later conduct regular business. Key actions relative to Board operations included the following:

  • Director Mark Paulson was elected by the Board to serve as Board President
  • Director Steven Placido was elected to serve as Vice President
  • Director Miles Prince was elected to serve as Secretary
  • Director Bruce Knoles was elected to serve as Treasurer
  • Committee assignments remained the same as the prior year with Director Eng replacing former Director Wong on the Administrative/Finance Committee and the External Affairs Committee.
  • For a listing of all Committee assignments, please refer to our website

Mike Eng Appointed to the Board to Represent

Division III - Monterey Park

In January, Mike Eng was appointed and sworn in to serve as the new Board Member representing Division III – Monterey Park. Director 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. 


Director 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.

Director 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.




Operations Update


The District is gearing up to accept deliveries from the State Water Project that were increased by the Department of Water Resources from 5% to 30% after improved rain, snow and runoff conditions following recent storms. The increase means the District will receive 8,640 acre-feet of imported water to use for replenishment of groundwater in the Main San Gabriel Basin. In January, the District utilized its pipeline and personnel to deliver 178 AF of water to Covina Irrigating Company on behalf of Three Valleys Municipal Water District.


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.



Storms Improve State and Local Water Supplies...But, Local Groundwater Shortages and Drought Conditions Persist

Similar to last year, while storm totals this year exceed last year’s to date, we may still revert to dry conditions and it’s important to remember 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 how our local drought and water supply conditions have improved since last month. While drought conditions have improved, local groundwater (which provides 80% of the water we use) remains below desired levels and time will tell if rainfall, statewide snowpack and reservoir levels can be sustained.

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 February 1, 2023, the level increased slightly to 179.4 feet above mean sea level from 178.9 feet above mean sea level in early January. 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 (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 – On January 23, 2023, the California Department of Water Resources increased State Water Project allocations to State Water Contractors such as SGVMWD for 2023 to 30%, after initially planning 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.

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 February 1, 2023, the DPW headquarters location in Alhambra had recorded 19.67 inches of rain, about 103% of average (average annual rainfall at this location is 17.83 inches).


Statewide Snow Pack – as of February 1, 2023, the snow water equivalent was 33.7 inches, which is 128% of the April 1 average and 205% of normal for this date (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.


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 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 January 30, 2023, storage levels at Shasta Lake, the state’s largest reservoir, were 56% of capacity and 87% of the historical average for this date, and storage levels at Lake Oroville, the state’s second largest reservoir, were 64% of capacity and 111% of the historical average. Shasta Lake has risen about 60 inches following recent storms and its water level is at its highest point in 2.5 years. 

Locally, San Gabriel Reservoir was at 254% of average and 76% of capacity, and Cogswell Reservoir was at 206% of average and 45% of capacity. During the current drought, 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

2023 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. Since January 2022, EcoTech has performed 257 site assessments. 236 weather-based “smart” controllers have been installed in 215 properties and 5,766 sprinkler nozzles have been upgraded to water-efficient rotating nozzles. The approximate cost/value per landscape to date is $1,136. Funding is limited, so please review the informational flyers below and on our website and act as soon as possible.


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. 

On Sunday, January 29, 2023, the District supported and attended the Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival, celebrating the Year of the Rabbit (pictured below). We had students from Alhambra High School volunteering with us throughout the day. We gave out traditional red envelopes with the District's new year's greetings and conservation giveaways throughout the day. Despite the rain, the festival was very well attended. The Lunar New Year festival ran in conjunction with the weekly Alhambra's Farmers market. 

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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