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Water officials extend savings for dry days

Despite recent rains, local officials vote to continue water-banking contracts with outside sources

Posted: January 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Despite recent heavy rains that swelled water levels, local water officials voted this week to keep out-of-town water reserves in their cache.

Saving money for a rainy day may be a fine strategy for many in the Santa Clarita Valley.

If you’re a water-resource manager at the Castaic Lake Water Agency, however, you might recommend saving water for drier days, and in the worst-case scenario, for times of multiyear drought.

The agency’s board of directors passed a resolution Wednesday to extend two water-banking contracts that were set to expire.

Each contract ensures that vast amounts of water are stored for the agency in Kern County groundwater for at least 10 years.

One of those contracts expires next year, the other in 2014.

“It gives the agency some flexibility in managing water, allowing it to extract water when needed over a period of time,” Water Resources Manager Dirk Marks said Thursday.

Marks cautioned against being overly optimistic about last month’s record rainfall.

The agency supplies water for homes and businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley by selling to four local water purveyors.

Half of Santa Clarita’s water comes from Northern California through the agency’s agreements under the State Water Project. The other half comes from local wells.

To ensure the Santa Clarita Valley stays green, and has enough water in times of protracted drought, the agency has been signing deals with out-of-town water agencies to bank water in the past decade.

The extension will extend the agency’s two agreements with the Semitropic Water Storage District for another 10 years.

In 2002, the agency stored 24,000 acre-feet of water in Kern County groundwater. That’s enough water to fill more than 104 million bathtubs.

In 2004, it signed a second agreement with the same firm for 35,000 acre-feet of water, enough to fill more than 152 million bathtubs.

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