May 2022

Board of Director Meetings

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

Monday, May 11, 2022; 8 a.m. 

Join via GoToMeeting: https://meet.goto.com/752862981

or dial-in: +1 (571) 317-3112 Access Code: 752-862-981

Save the Date: June Board Meeting - Monday, June 13th, 2022; 8 a.m.

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May is Water Awareness Month:

Greater Conservation is Needed as Water Supply

Shortages Prompt Stringent Water Use Restrictions!

With hot and dry summer weather approaching, the San Gabriel Valley and California are facing worsening drought, reduced imported water deliveries and low groundwater levels. Despite needed rain and snow in April across the Sierra, precipitation in the majority of the State is still below average to date. As a result, for the first time since mandatory water use restrictions in 2015, the State and local water suppliers are drastically increasing water use restrictions affecting one-third of Southern Californians and parts of the San Gabriel Valley.

The average person in Southern California uses about 125 gallons of water per day, but the amount needs to be closer to 80 gallons per day. That equates to a 35% reduction in consumption. A major concern is that water conservation efforts have been lagging. Last month we reported that data from the State Water Resources Control Board showed California overall, especially in southern California, was 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.

Water conservation works and is the cheapest means of saving water. Thus, 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 voluntarily. 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




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 significantly 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 5% allocation means the District will be able to deliver only 1,440 AF of water (of its planned 28,800 AF) from the SWP to underground storage in the Main San Gabriel Basin. 

In April, the District’s Devil Canyon-Azusa Pipeline continued to flow at capacity delivering 3,014 acre-feet of water on behalf of Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (USGVMWD) and Three Valleys Municipal Water District (TVMWD). 1,066 AF were delivered to Covina Irrigating Company on behalf of Three Valleys Municipal Water District, and 1,948 AF were delivered to the San Gabriel Canyon Spreading Grounds and adjacent canal on behalf of Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District. 

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.



Water Supply Challenges Worsen Across California and the

San Gabriel Valley

Summary - As shown in the graphics above, water supply conditions mostly declined in May compared to April. More than 95% of California is classified under severe or extreme drought, up from about 66% three months ago. Groundwater, rainfall, and statewide snow pack and reservoirs, each remain well below desired levels. 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 26% of its average, more than 25% lower than at the same time last 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.

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. 

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. Greater conservation is extremely important right now to avoid more stringent water use restrictions and water supply shortages.

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 29, 2022, the level is 184.6 feet above mean sea level, increased slightly from last month due to seasonal runoff. 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 May 1, rainfall year-to-date is 13.11 inches, more than ALL of the prior year’s total of 6.49 inches, but representing only 75% of normal annual precipitation. 

Statewide Snow Pack – as of May 1, 2022, statewide, the end of the year snowpack was 26% 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 March 31, 2022, (the latest data available to us), reservoir levels were at 70% of average and 48% 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) Grant Limits Removed!

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. In fact, as of April 1, 2022, we no longer have limits on the amount of funds to be applied for. We are open to projects of varying levels of creativity, complexity and funding. Pictured is a summary of grants to date. Please click on chart to be directed to our website to learn more about the program and grant guidelines. Applying is easy and may be completed online. Contact us if you have any questions. Let’s partner to conserve our precious water resource! 


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:


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.

Community Outreach

Speakers’ Bureau and H2Owl Appearances

With extra caution for pandemic and health-related safety, the District’ outreach program is in full swing with the District supporting and attending a variety of 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. To request a meeting or presentation with your group, please contact Evelyn Reyes, External Affairs Manager (626-969-7911 or ereyes@sgvmwd.com).

Outreach Highlights from April

We are enthused and exhilarated by the pent-up desire of our member city leaders and residents to appreciate and protect the environment and recognize Earth Day. There is so much goodwill and desire to learn and adopt best practices with respect to water conservation. Events in April really brought to life our theme of “Saving Water…it’s a good thing”.

Ty Teissere of Greywater Action, long-time partners of the District, presenting at Sierra Madre's Earth Day Festival

Alhambra High School ERAS (Environmental Resources Awareness Society) with SGVMWD Director Thomas Wong at the Alhambra ECO Fair and 626 Golden Streets

SGVMWD Director Miles Prince joined the Sierra Madre City Council for the ribbon cutting of the Sierra Madre Water Distribution Solar Energy Project on Earth Day.


San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District www.sgvmwd.com

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