On Oct. 5, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announced that urban Californians’ water conservation declined to 17.7% in August, compared to 27% savings in August 2015, raising concerns that some Californians are abandoning their focus on conservation as the state enters a possible sixth drought year. However, this is not the case in the Crescenta Valley community where customers conserved over 20% during the summer 2016.
Calling on all Californians and water agencies “to do everything humanly possible to conserve water,” on April 1, 2015 Gov. Jerry Brown issued the first ever executive order with mandatory 25% reductions in water use. Following the driest year on record (2013), the hottest year on record (2014), and the lowest Sierra snowpack ever recorded (2015), Crescenta Valley Water District (District) faced a state mandated water conservation target of 20% (reduced to 18% in March 2016). In April 2015 CVWD moved to “Orange Water Conservation Alert,” rationing outdoor water use to two days per week in order to meet the state mandated water conservation target. The Crescenta Valley community’s response to the call for water conservation was remarkable, achieving a 26% reduction in water use over the June 2015 to May 2016 period.
In May 2016, in response to modest improvements in statewide water supply conditions, the SWRCB modified the mandated water conservation targets resulting in the elimination of the mandatory conservation target for the District. This allowed relaxation of local conservation alert level from Orange Conservation Alert to Yellow Conservation Alert allowing three days per week watering. While water use in the District’s service area has increased since 2015, the community continues to exceed the previously mandated conservation target.
The regional water supply situation is also showing signs of improvement. On Oct. 10, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) general manager Jeffrey Kightlinger stated, “The increased state supplies and local water-saving is allowing us to start rebuilding our storage by up to 500,000 acre-feet by the end of the year. That’s the first increase to regional reserves in four years.”
Like MWD, Crescenta Valley Water District is also investing in local water supply improvements to reduce our dependence on imported water delivered by MWD through the Foothill Municipal Water District. On March 3, the District, in partnership with Glendale Water and Power (Glendale), activated Well No. 16 located at the former Rockhaven Sanitarium site. Well 16 will increase the District’s groundwater production, which has been declining since 2012, by 20%.
“In addition to increasing our well pumping capacity we are also evaluating projects to capture stormwater runoff to recharge the underground aquifer,” said David Gould, District engineer. A feasibility study which evaluated stormwater capture at Crescenta Valley County Park, funded by the California Dept. of Water Resources, was completed earlier this year. The District continues to evaluate this project and is preparing grant applications to fund construction of the project.
As the District continues to invest in our local water supply, water conservation remains a high priority. Every gallon conserved reduces dependence on expensive imported water.
“Kudos to the Crescenta Valley for your outstanding water conservation performance. Keep up the good work,” said District board president Kerry Erickson.
Information regarding permitted and prohibited water use under the “Yellow Water Conservation Alert” and helpful water saving tips are available on CVWD’s website www.cvwd.com.