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Not enough water

Posted: May 15, 2009 6:03 p.m.
Updated: May 16, 2009 4:55 a.m.
The "Small fish causes big problems in the delta" story on Sunday's front page (May 10) might have been titled, "Fish out of water and so are we."

It is disturbing to see developers stating they have rounded up sufficient water to build more houses in our area when the facts just don't support their allegations.

Newhall Ranch plans on building 21,000 homes. Using standard calculations that's 21,000 acre-feet of water per year minimum just for these homes.

Then there will be the commercial buildings, schools, parks, fire stations and the surrounding landscaped medians, parkways, common grounds and so on that all use water. Where are these water uses factored in?

Using the statistics in The Signal story, Newhall Ranch needs a minimum need of 21,000 acre-feet of water per year. Of that, 7,038 acre-feet are available from the agricultural wells on the property and 3,200 are from from the current residents of Santa Clarita via the Valencia Wastewater Treatment Plant. Another 1,600 acre-feet of "repurposed" agricultural water will be purchased from Kern County.

That adds up to 11,838 acre feet per year - 10,162 acre-feet shy of the minimum 21,000 needed for 21,000 residences.

The planned Newhall Ranch Reclamation Plant may have a capacity of 6.8 million gallons per day, but it can only produce clean water from what goes into it. Therefore, its ability to provide water depends on the ability of the project to obtain water. This water can not be factored into the equation of "available" water. This water will depend on how much water comes from existing wells and out of the area water suppliers and is used by homes and businesses in Newhall Ranch.

It must first be provided and used, then be processed and re-used.

The Valencia Wastewater Treatment Plant will provide 3,200 acre-feet of water annually for Newhall Ranch. This water is paid for by Santa Clarita homes and businesses, twice.

First, they buy the water they use and then pay the sewer fees to process it. How very kind of the residents of Santa Clarita to provide the water for Newhall Ranch.

This water should be pumped to the east, allowed to recharge the wells in the aquifer that serves the city of Santa Clarita, not Newhall Ranch.

There is a multitude of reasons many current residents of the Santa Clarita Valley are not in favor of this massive development, inlcuding traffic, air pollution, overcrowded schools and environmental impact on the Santa Clara River, but the development will probably be built regardless of these concerns.

The water issue, however, is not a matter of emotion or conjecture. It is a matter of facts. There is not enough water available. Not here, not now and if drought conditions continue, probably not from Kern County.


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