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Castaic Lake’s long launch ramp means it’s time to conserve water

Posted: July 7, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 7, 2014 2:00 a.m.

If you’ve been to Castaic Lake recently, you may have noticed you’re seeing a lot more of the launch ramp than usual. These days, that launch ramp is loooooong.

The reason for this apparent stretching is, of course, obvious: There’s a lot less water in the lake than is normally the case. The “normal” water line is visible, ringing the lake far above the current water level. California’s ongoing drought is no secret, and there’s been little relief so far this year as we brace for the hottest months of 2014.

That’s why we at the Castaic Lake Water Agency are asking everyone to conserve as much water as possible this summer. If you think conditions are bad now, wait until mid-August. Ugh.

The lake is the terminus of the West Branch of the State Water Project, from which we receive about half of our water supply. The other half of our water supply comes from local groundwater. The water level in the lake provides a good measuring stick for just how severely this drought has impacted California and our region. This year the state has only allocated 5 percent of our State Water Project contract amount and we and other water agencies are having to rely on stored supplies such as those at Castaic Lake.

As of June 23, the lake’s water level had dropped 84 feet below its full level — and by the end of this summer it’s expected to drop another 23 feet, so it will be down by easily more than 100 feet.

The numbers are even more staggering when put in terms of water volume, using the water industry’s standard unit of measurement, the “acre-foot,” which is equivalent to the amount of water needed to cover an acre one foot deep.

The lake’s “full” capacity is 323,702 acre-feet. Its storage volume as of June 23 was 165,733 acre-feet — so, just over half of capacity. By the end of summer, it’s expected to draw down to 137,000 acre-feet, about 42 percent of capacity.

The lake’s level, of course, isn’t the sole indicator of the status of the SCV’s water supply. CLWA is just one “client” of this State Water Project lake, which primarily holds supplies that are being drawn down for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. And, CLWA and the local water retailers have other sources as part of the SCV’s diverse water supply portfolio, including local groundwater, stored water left from previous years and sources of imported water other than the State Water Project.

All told, we remain fortunate relative to some other areas, where water shortages have hit crisis levels. Here in the SCV, at least right now, mandatory rationing is not being implemented.

But the drought is real, and so is our need to conserve. This summer, CLWA is asking everyone in the SCV to do their part. For example, you can help maximize our available water supplies — and stave off draconian steps like rationing — by adopting some or all of these practices in your home and/or business:

• Reduce your landscape irrigation by one-third. According to some estimates, many property owners already overwater by 50 percent anyway.

• Install a weather-based irrigation controller, which senses weather conditions and automatically provides your landscape the proper amount of irrigation. If you visit the SCV Family of Water Suppliers’ website at, you can even complete an online class and get a free weather-based controller.

• Install high-efficiency sprinkler nozzles available from your local water retailers.

The SCV Family of Water Suppliers’ site also includes a wide variety of indoor and outdoor conservation tips — just click on the green tab labeled “Helpful Tips & Support.” It contains a wealth of tips that can help you do your part to comply with the governor’s call to reduce water use by 20 percent during this critical drought period.  Recognizing that about two-thirds of water use by SCV residents is for landscape irrigation, an easy way to achieve the 20 percent goal is to simply reduce your irrigation times by a third.

CLWA and your local water retailers are working hard to improve our community’s water use efficiency, both now and well into the future, as we consider everything from conservation incentives like free irrigation controllers to long-term water supply enhancement initiatives like recycled water for irrigation.

We’re looking at every option, because California’s need to use water efficiently will of course extend beyond this drought. That need is accompanied by a variety of issues that must be dealt with at the statewide level, and CLWA is an active participant in those discussions.

We’re in this, together, for the long haul. Meanwhile, hopefully we’ll soon see a wet rainy season — or two or three — which will shorten the long haul down and up the Castaic Lake launch ramp.

Tom Campbell is the President of the Castaic Lake Water Agency Board of Directors. 



projalice11: Posted: July 7, 2014 11:24 a.m.

BINGO Mr. Campbell:

It’s time to conserve water ..


chefgirl358: Posted: July 7, 2014 1:18 p.m.

What is "staggering" is that this city, water agency, etc., continue to approve new building projects. How on EARTH did the 20,000 homes for Newhall Ranch get approved? Where EXACTLY is that water going to come from?

Nitesho: Posted: July 7, 2014 1:37 p.m.

Why does the City continue to OVER water the medians and most importantly, Why are they watering at 2:00PM, in 100 degree weather? (Between Mcbean offramp / Rockewell Canyon Rd)

Maybe the City should take the brunt of this rather than THE RATE PAYERS....

lars1: Posted: July 7, 2014 3:23 p.m.

chefgirl, you have not understood my previous posts.
Here is your answer of where the water will come from.

The chloride tax scam will provide the water for the 20,000+ new homes. The chloride tax scam will be raising our property taxes hundreds of dollars each year to pay for a new water treatment plant next to the 20,000+ new homes.

The water treatment plane will use "reverse osmosis" to provide water cleaner and softer than the crappy water we receive.
Newhall Land and Farms get what they want after they buy off the city council members.

chefgirl358: Posted: July 7, 2014 5:42 p.m.

Nitesho, not only do they over water them, but they continue to actually INSTALL new medians replete with trees, plants, grass and NON-water smart sprinklers. Everytime it;s actually raining, I see the sprinklers going full blast all over town.

Lars, the $100 per home that they claim the chloride nonsense will cost won't be nearly enough to pay for all of the water needed for those homes. I agree they will try to scam us all and increase the amount to some astronomical fee instead of fighting this like they should have. This IS a huge scam, I agree with you completely. But that still doesn't answer where MORE water will come from, that only answers how they'll get money to make a new water treatment plant, but where will the water come from, there is a finite amount.

lars1: Posted: July 7, 2014 7:40 p.m.

Chefgirl, you don't get it!

Water from Northern California Y
Water from Sacramento Delta V very salty chlorides exceed limits
Pumped into Castaic Lake V
Castaic Lake V
Homes Of Santa Clarita V
Homes Wastewater V
Pumped into ground V
New wells for Newhall Ranch V
20,000+ new homes X


The average person uses 220 gallons per day. or about 1,000 gallons per house

CURRENT WATER TREATMENT 19.2 million gallons per day (mgd)

So 20,000 homes that require 1000 gallons each per day will require a total of about 20 million gallons per day. 19.32 million gallons of water is paid for by the stupid people who elected kellar, weste and mclean.

KJNorris: Posted: July 7, 2014 9:06 p.m.

Business Owners & Commercial Property Managers - It's Time to Get Serious About Saving Water!
We ALL need to cut water consumption by 20%.
Did you know that you can reduce your building's water consumption and realize cost savings-IMMEDIATELY by switching to water conserving devices and upgrading your Restrooms.
This may be done FREE, possibly including installation, through Rebates available in Metropolitan Water Districts.
Every Drop Counts!
For more information and a FREE SURVEY please contact me at

chefgirl358: Posted: July 8, 2014 12:09 a.m.

Lars, you don't get it. There may not be enough water to purchase for all of those homes! Period.

ricketzz: Posted: July 8, 2014 11:02 a.m.

These very issues are why the Newhall Ranch won't ever be what was envisioned. Spend 15 hours a week in the car for this? Why not just get a condo on Riverside or something? Kids that grew up in the suburbs love the big city culture for its perennial lack of boredom. Should their kids not have the cultural advantages of urban life (read George Carlin's autobiography about riding the subway to Times Square when he was in 4th grade; hanging out at stage doors and gathering autographs. Downright idyllic). I moved here because it's closer to the interface; I don't have a seaworthy boat.

lars1: Posted: July 8, 2014 8:26 p.m.

the water the new homes get comes from the $$$ processing plant taking our
20 million gallons per day to the new homes.

Indy: Posted: July 8, 2014 9:16 p.m.

chefgirl358 wrote: What is "staggering" is that this city, water agency, etc., continue to approve new building projects. How on EARTH did the 20,000 homes for Newhall Ranch get approved? Where EXACTLY is that water going to come from?

Indy: Remember, politicians of both parties keep promising you ‘unlimited’ growth regardless of resource constraints.

One of your fellow conservatives, Tech, ignores these constraints and believes technology will save us.

If you want a good eye opener on future growth, resources and technology limitations, try: The Crash Course by Chris Martenson.

I’ve recommended this before . . . but I’ll warn you . . . it’s not a ‘feel good’ book. Reality is real.

As far as the expanding housing market here, people that have children ‘expect’ them to live somewhere . . . since most folks don’t associate family size with what you’re addressing.

ricketzz: Posted: July 9, 2014 9:13 a.m.

The "economy" is a Ponzi scheme. If growth stops it collapses into a pile of dust. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

If technology is going to save us from technology why hasn't it started?

tech: Posted: July 9, 2014 1:08 p.m.

I don't ignore anything, Indy.

Humans will utilize technology to adapt as needed. See: History.

Here's what I've done to adapt:

• Telecommute when not on business project sites
• My wife is using the Santa Clarita Commuter bus 2-3 times a week to Beverly Hills instead of driving her 7 passenger SUV
• Installed a solar panel generating facility on our home
• Upgraded to Nest intelligent thermostats
• Installed a weather sensing irrigation control system

Beside pedantically outgassing in these forums, what have you personally done, Indy?

Save your Doomsday sandwich board. It won't be needed.

tpaul: Posted: July 9, 2014 6:59 p.m.

What is staggering is the over use of the word BINGO on all these comments.
Don't make me go back to the round-a-bout again... :)

ricketzz: Posted: July 10, 2014 9:41 a.m.

Tech. Your symbolic activities won't help enough. Drastic measures become more likely every day we dawdle. A bloody insurrection is being considered because our elected officials are playing dumb. The time for calm reaction has come and gone. This is war for the future of the species with an enemy who doesn't believe in death or facts. Their absurd faith in the cloud being is not a plan B.

tech: Posted: July 10, 2014 12:06 p.m.

Symbolic? I'm receiving tangible economic and productivity benefits now.

You can store your sandwich board as well, ricketzz. You're safer preaching revolution on internet forums.

ricketzz: Posted: July 11, 2014 10:04 a.m.

It's not about you, Tech. It was a computer model that concluded at this stage of the game the only way to get the required action on environmental degradation was by civil disobedience, resistance and disruption (including Monkeywrenching), that legislative remedies were impractical due to capitalism.

tech: Posted: July 11, 2014 1:06 p.m.

If you think "civil disobedience, resistance and disruption (including Monkeywrenching)" was the causation of environmental legislation, you're beyond help, ricketzz.

tech: Posted: July 11, 2014 1:21 p.m.

By the way, the computer models aren't faring too well against actual observed data.

They deal with the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans, argues Dyson, ignoring the effect of biology, i.e., vegetation and topsoil. Further, their predictions rest on models they fall in love with: “You sit in front of a computer screen for 10 years and you start to think of your model as being real.” Not surprisingly, these models have been “consistently and spectacularly wrong” in their predictions, write atmospheric scientists Richard McNider and John Christy — and always, amazingly, in the same direction.

ricketzz: Posted: July 13, 2014 9:44 a.m.

Tech1: I am speaking present and future, not past here. The modern environmental movement started in London, where thousands dropped dead every year from coal smoke, well into the 1960s. Is that "violent" enough for you. As I recall there were some disruptive actions around the Love Canal.

Tech2: Krauthammer can always be counted on to spew gibberish and make it sound authoritative. Please don't try to prove fact by citing opinion pieces. Please try to find the dividing line between truth and fiction; it'll do you a world of good.

tech: Posted: July 13, 2014 2:46 p.m.

London and coal obfuscation don't amount to causation of environmental policy from the "direct action" you cited.

As to the Krauthammer, why are you so intellectually lazy that you resort to poisoning the well and shooting messengers? You look foolish when you automatically discount information provided to you by intelligent people based on the source of the data. It's an error in logic you repeatedly make. Those who think critically understand science and data aren't subject to ideological litmus tests.

If you were more rigorous in your thought processes and intellectually curious, you would have noted sources and followed these links in the column:


Messrs. McNider and Christy are professors of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and fellows of the American Meteorological Society. Mr. Christy was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore.

I assume you know who Freeman Dyson is.

tech: Posted: July 13, 2014 2:54 p.m.

I have to add, given your propensities, that I found this advisory a hilarious bit of irony because you think I'm the one in need of it:

"Please try to find the dividing line between truth and fiction; it'll do you a world of good." - ricketzz

ricketzz: Posted: July 17, 2014 9:48 a.m.

Never assume I know anything. Professor Dyson hasn't expressed skepticism lately, has he. A lot of deniers cite facts and figures from years ago (Krauthammer included, BTW been reading him since the 1960s; I grew up on National Review, Soldier of Fortune, Aviation Week and Space Technology, and US News and World Report. Time-Life (and the Luce's) were too left wing for my parents.

The data cited by CK and deceivers in General are stale. In this field a year is as old as a decade. The models are constantly being tested. No one has come up with a better reason we are losing the planet. People who lie to you with stale facts are your enemy, not your neighbor up the river.

"Propensity"? Never use a five dollar word when a more common one works as well.

tech: Posted: July 18, 2014 11:55 p.m.

"Propensities" may be a $5 word to you but the size of my vocabulary provides economies of scale. The cost incurred for a mot juste is cents to your dollar. --edited.

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