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Thirsty SCV Soaks up the Deluge

Posted: January 26, 2008 1:59 a.m.
Updated: March 28, 2008 2:02 a.m.
 
When it rains it pours, and when it does it's nothing but good news for local water agencies and drought-conscious homeowners in Santa Clarita.

More than a foot of rain fell in Newhall over the last 30 days, more than 4.3 inches in the last 12 hours alone, according to the Los Angeles County public works office.
As well, the county logged almost eight inches of rain in Bouquet Canyon since the new year.
All of it serves to replenish local natural water resources.
"The most immediate impact of the rainfall in Santa Clarita is that, hopefully, it reduces our water usage," said Bob Muir, spokesman for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. "So far, the demand on water is down as much as 20 percent."
Since about 70 percent of residential water usage goes to outdoors use - watering lawns, for example - when residents turn off their sprinklers it saves water.
"So, when it rains, people turn off their sprinklers and it drives down the demand," Muir said.
Rainwater collected from the most recent storms passing through Santa Clarita fills underground reservoirs and water basins, Muir said.
"Every drop of water is a drop of water kept in storage for dry times - capturing that water and using that water when we need it," he said.
Despite the fact that Santa Clarita motorists saw muddy torrents of Santa Clara River water rushing under McBean Parkway by the post office, they and everyone else in Southern California enjoys water imported from other water sources - at least half of our water.
Since the drought of 1991, Southland water agencies have increased their water storage tenfold, Muir points out.
Now an average of 900,000 acre-feet a year is saved, enough to fill 3.9 billion bath tubs.
The appetite and demand for water, however, continues to grow.
Water officials at the Castaic Lake Water Agency continue to explore new ways of conserving and acquiring water.
In his report to the board of directors this week, agency general manager Dan Masnada updated the board on a variety of ways in which his staff is trying to conserve water.
One of the most important water storage programs involves the Buena Vista Water Storage District and the Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Acquisition program. The Bakersfield water agency developed a water storage program in 2002 to recharge the water table using floodwater over-flow from the Kern River.
The Castaic agency - concerned about water supplies for future housing developments - wants to finalize annexation agreements with all the parties affected.
That goal - to enhance Santa Clarita's water resources - is on hold, however, pending a review of the water supply impacts stemming from the Wanger federal court decision.
In August, U.S. District Court Judge Oliver Wanger ordered the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project to reduce pumping in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in an effort to protect an endangered fish, the Delta smelt.


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