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Local wells replenishing slowly, surely

Posted: August 3, 2011 10:30 a.m.
Updated: August 3, 2011 10:30 a.m.

While the drought may be over, local wells are replenishing a little more slowly than wells in Northern California, but just as surely.

On Monday, the Santa Clarita Water Division — one of four local water retailers — released its latest figures for water supply in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Local wells provided the division with 584 acre-feet of water in December, and by June, the same wells were delivering almost double that amount, or at least 1,035 acre-feet of water.

The extra water found in that six-month period is enough to fill 1.96 million bathtubs, or 451 acre-feet. An acre-foot of water is one foot of water across an entire acre of land.

And, while the rate of water returning to local wells may not be as robust as that witnessed in Northern California, the slow but steady rise seen locally has water heads happy.

“Up north, where all the water is, that’s where the reservoirs are full, and where they’re really recovering,” said the division’s Retail Manager Mauricio E. Guardado Jr. “The same is true here with our local well supply — we’re recovering, but it’s a slow process.”

In March, Gov. Jerry Brown officially declared an end to the statewide drought.

Local water officials, including Guardado, say that’s no reason for Santa Clarita Valley residents to stop conserving water.

“We still need a few more years of consistent rainfall,” he said, citing a return of a healthy snowpack in Northern California. “People in Southern California have to remember that we still live in an arid environment.

“We want to encourage our customers to be water efficient.”

The Sierra Nevada Mountains received 50 percent more rain and snow than normal this past winter.

“The governor’s announcement regarding the ending of the drought is much more related to the very wet winter we experienced in 2011,” Dirk Marks, water-resources manager for the Castaic Lake Water Agency, said Tuesday.

“We did not experience any reduction in the availability of groundwater during the drought,” he said.  “The aquifers remained within their normal operating range.”

Ongoing conservation efforts encouraged by the agency and the local water purveyors through such programs as the toilet-rebate program have helped to keep water in local wells.

“The quantity of water taken from the groundwater basin by the retail purveyors actually decreased during the drought due to our customers conserving water,” Dirks said.


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