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The last piece of the water puzzle

Posted: September 22, 2008 7:56 p.m.
Updated: November 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Local water officials put the last piece of their overall water supply puzzle in place Monday when they agreed to replace the Sand Canyon Reservoir's dirt road with a paved one.

The reservoir went into operation a year ago and Monday night members of the Castaic Lake Water Agency's Planning and Engineering Committee agreed to recommend the board hire a company to complete the last job associated with the project.

The committee wants the board to contract Ventura-based Nye & Nelson, Inc. to build a permanent access road for just over $1 million and wants it to hire Harris and Associates as construction consultants on the job for $295,000.
Nye & Nelson was the lowest bidder of 10 companies that bid.

The 10 contenders submitted quotes ranging from $1,073,818 to $1,803,354.

A permanent access road for the reservoir caps the final project in the agency's grand plan to install infrastructure required to meet the needs of a rapidly growing community.

The reservoir and its finished road are part of the overall Sand Canyon project that includes a major conveyance pipeline, pump station and reservoir.

It expands the agency's ability to deliver imported water to its service area at the eastern edge of Santa Clarita Valley.

"The Sand Canyon project is the last major conveyance system that we needed to construct to ensure we can deliver water to the four retailers throughout the service area," said Dan Masnada, the agency's General Manager.

"Future pipeline construction will be more of an ‘infill' nature and of smaller magnitude," he said, referring to water demands created by future building developments.

The agency's Engineering and Operations Manager Brian Folsom who knows the nuts-and-bolts details of local reservoirs, drafted Monday's resolution recommending Nye & Nelson for the job.

"The existing road was used for the construction of the reservoir itself, does not provide proper drainage or erosion control and is simply a ‘dirt road'," Folsom said Monday before the meeting.

"The permanent, paved road will provide access to the site for regular maintenance and operational activities and has been designed to control site drainage and minimize erosion," he explained.

Work on the access road falls within the reservoir's budget of at least $55.5 million. At the end of July, overall expenditures for the entire project totalled $52.5 million.

The reservoir which holds about 7 million gallons, went into operation in August 2007.

Since then, Sand Canyon residents learned to live with a very visible structure on their ridge line.

"It's pretty hard to hide something like that," said Dennis Ostrom, a Sand Canyon resident who sits on the city's planning commission.

Ostrom asked Masnada about the reservoir and other water issues on several occasions and has always been satisfied with what he's heard.

"I've been a hound dog when it's come to questions about water and I haven't been able to come up with anything of a technical or monetary nature that has stumped him," Ostrom said.


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