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Water talk flows at Chamber luncheon

Castaic Lake Water Agency manager speaks about $11.14 billion bond measure

Posted: December 3, 2009 8:39 p.m.
Updated: December 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.
About 75 local business men and women got a crash course in California’s water crisis over chicken and stuffing Wednesday during the monthly Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“It is our (Hurricane) Katrina in waiting ... at least for the economy of the state,” said Dan Masnada, general manager of Castaic Lake Water Agency, in reference to the condition of the San Joaquin River Delta.

Masnada was the keynote speaker for the luncheon, sponsored by Newhall land and Farming Co.

In discussing an $11.14 billion bond set to appear on the November 2010 state ballot, Masnada discussed the fragile nature of the 1,600 miles of delta levees. About half of Santa Clarita Valley’s water is provided through the State Water Project.

Many of the levees are more than 100 years old, Masnada said, and were a magnitude 6.5 earthquake to rock the delta, the result would be massive saltwater flooding, shown by Masnada in a computerized simulation.

“The water that flows through the delta ... supports half the economy of the state,” he said.

The bond on tap for next November’s ballot would fund projects including restoration of the delta ecosystem, groundwater monitoring and goals for both sustaining the delta’s water supply and rehabilitating its ecosystem.

Before Masnada’s speech, Greg Milleman, Valencia Water Co.'s vice president of administration gave an overview of the Water SMART allocation program set to launch in 2010.

Milleman said the program will create individualized “water budgets” for the company’s users, based on both their indoor and outdoor usage.

“This is not a rationing system,” he said, and added rates will not be affected in the first year. “You can use as much water as you want.”

The goal of the program, he said, is increased conservation.


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