June 28, 2018 – Monterey Park, California: The San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District hosted a briefing about local water supplies for Asian media representatives. With the hot and dry summer months leading to increased water usage, the District, Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster and the cities of Alhambra and Monterey Park each called upon residents and businesses to continue practicing the water conservation techniques that were so successful at the height of the recent 5-year drought. Presentations at the meeting highlighted how we manage local water supplies, the status of local groundwater supplies in the aftermath of the recent, severe drought and a variety of incentives for water conservation by residents (houses, apartments and condominiums) and businesses.
About 77% of the water used in the San Gabriel Valley is local groundwater; the remainder is imported from northern California and the Colorado River. While the most recent drought was declared “over” at the State level in 2017, local San Gabriel Valley groundwater supplies have not recovered as well and remain near historic low levels. We are again in a protracted dry spell, with the Valley receiving only about 5 inches of rain so far this year, which is 32% of normal. By contrast, last year at this time we’d received nearly 20 inches of rain.
Thomas Wong, President, San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District Board of Directors, stated, “We survived the most recent drought through a combination of smart water management and aggressive water conservation. With rainfall declining once again, we need to reinforce water efficiency and conservation to preserve our precious groundwater and imported water supplies. Conservation is the key – every gallon we save is a gallon we don’t need to pay for, import, recycle, desalinate or treat.”
Tony Zampiello, Executive Officer, Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster, indicated, “Low rainfall totals and a decline in subsequent run-off are straining groundwater supplies throughout the Basin. Only the addition of water imported from northern California has prevented our groundwater supplies from dropping to historic lows. This supplemental water, coupled with widespread conservation, makes San Gabriel Valley’s water supply more resilient.”
Richard Gonzales, Water Utility Manager, City of Monterey Park, stated, “Local groundwater is a very precious resource. Imported water, Monterey Park’s new water treatment facility and water conservation help make our water supply more reliable.” David Dolphin, Deputy Director of Utilities, City of Alhambra, said, “Alhambra continues to emphasize smart water usage and conservation through its Water Shortage Plan, Phase I – Voluntary Conservation. Details are available on Alhambra’s website: http://library.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/California/alhambra/titlexvwater/chapter1525watershortageplan?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:alhambra_ca$anc=JD_15.25.080.”
To assist in motivating and rewarding water conservation efforts by stakeholders, Director Wong emphasized several District programs. The Water District offers financial rebates to residential and business stakeholders in Alhambra, Monterey Park and Sierra Madre (for rebates in Azusa, please visit www.ci.azusa.ca.us/517/rebates) for the purchase of water-saving equipment such as efficient washing machines, “smart” irrigation controllers, high-efficiency toilets, waterless urinals, rain barrels and revolving sprinkler heads. The District also recently introduced a new conservation brochure and website section targeted to owners, managers and residents of apartments, condominiums and multi-family dwellings.
The District also offers a community grant program entitled “Opportunities for Water Leadership” whereby community organizations may apply for grants ranging from $200-2,000 to perform water conservation projects. Nearly a dozen grants were awarded in the past year. The “O.W.L.” Grant Program, named after the District’s water conservation mascot, H2Owl, is open to schools, teachers, students, clubs, athletic teams, scouting organizations and other non-profit organizations interested in performing conservation-related service projects. Interested groups may call 626-969-7911 for additional information.
About the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District
The mission of the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District is to provide reliable supplemental water for the communities of Alhambra, Azusa, Monterey Park and Sierra Madre in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner.
The District was formed in 1959 after winning approval from the voters of Alhambra, Azusa, Monterey Park, and Sierra Madre. In anticipation of its long-term water needs, the District entered into a contract with the State of California Department of Water Resources in 1962 for the import of 25,000 acre-feet of water per year (now 28,800 acre-feet per year) from the State Water Project to supplement local water supplies in the San Gabriel Valley. The District is one of 29 State Water Contractors who obtain water from the State Water Project. The District operates the 38-mile Devil Canyon-Azusa pipeline which connects to the State Water Project, as well as several other facilities including a hydroelectric plant. The District also provides extensive public education and water conservation services throughout its service area. The Board of Directors meets regularly the second Monday of each month at 8 a.m. at District headquarters in Azusa. For more information please visit our website: www.sgvmwd.org.