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UPDATE: Amid drought, California agency won't allot water

Posted: January 31, 2014 1:01 p.m.
Updated: January 31, 2014 6:22 p.m.

Water levels down an estimated 75 feet can be seen as viewed near the dam at Lake Piru on Jan. 17. Signal photo by Dan Watson.

 

A commission made up of officials from Santa Clarita, Los Angeles County and Santa Clarita Valley water representatives will meet Tuesday to discuss ways to encourage and enhance local water conservation efforts as the state grapples with its most crippling drought in recent memory.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Committee in Santa Clarita City Hall, members will consider whether to declare a “Stage 1 Drought,” according to the commission’s agenda.

Such a declaration would entail encouraging water conservation efforts locally, according to Castaic Lake Water Agency General Manager Dan Masnada.

“This is about us being smart,” he said Friday. “It’s not about doing anything draconian.”

Some water conservation methods include reducing the amount of days you water your lawn or landscaping, or even simply turning off the water when you brush your teeth, Masnada said.

The committee may consider other actions to reduce water consumption, Masnada said.

State officials on Friday announced they won’t allocate water to agencies that serve 25 million people and nearly 1 million acres of farmland.

The Castaic Lake Water Agency is one of the agencies that contracts with the State Water Project and “provides about half of the water that Santa Clarita households and businesses use,” according to its website.

The announcement Friday marks the first time in the 54-year history of the State Water Project that such an action has been taken. State Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin said the action was being taken to conserve the little water than remains behind the dams in the state’s vast system of reservoirs.

“Simply put, there’s not enough water in the system right now for customers to expect any water this season from the project,” Cowin said in a statement that was released as numerous state and federal officials announced a variety of actions related to California’s drought.

In November, the California Department of Water Resources notified water agencies contracting with the state that they would receive 5 percent of the Northern California water they requested.

“The good news is the winter is still not over and with some precipitation we would hope to get back the 5 percent, and maybe even more,” Masnada said.

Most of the 29 agencies serving the towns and farms that draw from the State Water Project have other, local sources of water. But the total cut-off of state water deliveries this spring and summer could have a national impact because it will affect farms in one of the nation’s richest agricultural belts.

“These actions will protect us all in the long run,” Cowin said during a news conference.

Friday’s action comes after Gov. Jerry Brown made an official drought declaration, clearing the way for state and federal agencies to coordinate efforts to preserve water and send it to where it is needed most. The governor urged Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent.

It also reflects the severity of the dry conditions in the nation’s most populous state. Officials say 2013 was the state’s driest calendar year since records started being kept, and this year is heading in the same direction.

A snow survey on Thursday in the Sierra Nevada, one of the state’s key water sources, found the water content in the meager snowpack is just 12 percent of normal. Reservoirs are lower than they were at the same time in 1977, which is one of the two previous driest water years on record.

“There’s no need to panic,” Masnada said, pointing to local water reserves. “But we’re going to be working with all the other stakeholders to advocate to our customers and valley residents and businesses to do everything they can to conserve.”

Comments

michael: Posted: January 31, 2014 6:47 p.m.

And we continue to develop housing etc. when it appears water will be an ongoing challenge. This behavior will only change when we are in a panic.


Allan_Cameron: Posted: February 1, 2014 9:38 p.m.

It is the Castaic Lake Water Agency that actually supported the proposal to give (that's right, GIVE) for free, to limited interests located to our west, our precious Saugus Deep Aquifer ground water.

To make up for the loss of this "gift water", it was also part of this proposal that all of us buy 500 dollar per acre State Water Project water to replace the 100 dollar per acre foot Saugus Aquifer ground water that we were going to actually give away.

Castaic Lake Water Agency actually allocated 150 thousand taxpayer dollars to start building the systems to start the give away.

The problem is that the project that would have given away our water never was approved. What has happened to the taxpayers 150 thousand dollars?

Of course, the other parts of the chloride scam have also fallen apart. The bogus idea that we could just buy replacement water from the Castaic Lake Water Agency has now been revealed to be the scam that thoughtful people always understood it to be.

There will be no routine supplies of State Water project water to purchase.


hopeful: Posted: February 1, 2014 9:03 a.m.

If a pipeline could be built to transport oil across the U.S., why can't a pipeline be built to transport water?


oldman: Posted: February 1, 2014 9:42 a.m.

http://www.nrdc.org/water/management/pipelines-project.asp


castaicjack: Posted: February 1, 2014 10:17 a.m.

Sure, we'll get pipelines to get the water to the developers to put in 20,000 homes along the 126 and 20,000 more up at Lebec and 1,045 homes in Castaic. YOU just have to pay for it...


hopeful: Posted: February 1, 2014 12:19 p.m.

oldman - thanks for the link! It seems like most of the possible water pipelines drain already limited water supplies though. Although it might not be financially feasible, it would be nice to have a water pipeline that can run from the eastern U.S. to the Colorado River area, since the Colorado River feeds the Western states.

I don't follow the weather enough, but it does seem that when the West is in a drought, there is flooding somewhere else in the U.S., and it sure would be nice to even out the water throughout the U.S.

I know, this probably isn't realistic, but it sure would help not only residents, but our farmers and ranchers.


chico: Posted: February 1, 2014 3:23 p.m.

So many solar panels are reflecting back into the atmosphere in California that the rays are actually 'cooking' water vapor in the air - making things drier.

ergo, the drought is Moonbeam's fault.



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