Crescenta Valley Water for Today and Tomorrow
Earlier this month Mike Lawler’s Viewpoints articles provided a brief history of water development in CV and the events that led to the formation of the Crescenta Valley Water District including the inheritance of pipelines and wells dating back to the 1930s. Since the formation of CVWD in 1950, the District has evolved and its mission has grown to include groundwater treatment and wastewater collection. Over this period, CV has experienced the droughts of 1975-77, 1989-91 and the most severe drought since settlers arrived in CV, the ongoing drought that began in 2007.
In 1955, the District began using imported water as a supplemental water supply. Other events have occurred which have impacted or threatened our local water supply. Prior to the 1980s most homes and businesses in CV had septic systems for wastewater disposal. While the septic systems returned water to the Verdugo Groundwater Basin, sustaining our water supply aquifer, they also contributed nitrogen in the form of nitrate which must be removed to meet drinking water standards. The District removes nitrate from six wells at the Glenwood Nitrate Treatment Plant. In 2006 the gasoline additive MTBE was detected in the District’s groundwater. Over the next two years a few of the District’s wells were shut down while the District evaluated measures to correct this potentially expensive problem. The District was successful, through legal action, to negotiate an agreement with the oil companies to provide funds to mitigate accrued expenses and potential future liabilities related to MTBE contamination. As CVWD continued to monitor water quality the amount of MTBE declined to well below drinking water standards by 2011. The funding provided for MTBE treatment is currently held in a reserve account for future use if needed.
Today the District operates the water supply system with 88 miles of pipeline, 19 reservoirs with a storage capacity of 17 million gallons, 12 wells and three pump stations. The District’s wastewater collection system has 70 miles of sewer pipeline which convey wastewater to The City of Los Angeles Wastewater Treatment Plants.
The impact of the current drought on California is significant and has focused our community on the importance of our vital water supply and the need for water use efficiency. The CV community response to the call for water conservation has been substantial, exceeding the state mandated conservation goal by nearly 10%. This is a significant achievement as we look to the future and the need to effectively manage our local water resources.
CVWD is planning for the future to address the challenges of sustainable groundwater supply, reliability of supplemental imported water supply, aging water system infrastructure and climate change. With groundwater levels at record lows, CVWD is evaluating several projects and initiatives to improve the long term sustainability of our local water supply and reduce reliance on imported water. The District has an active program to improve our groundwater production capability through the activation of new and rehabilitated wells. Evaluations of projects to capture additional stormwater for percolation into the aquifer and deliver recycled water for irrigation at parks are in progress.
CVWD has pipelines that are over 70 years old, operating well beyond their useful life. Just last week, water pipelines ruptured at five different locations. Over the past four years CVWD has increased annual funding for infrastructure replacement from $500,000 to $2,000,000. This amount is proposed to increase in CVWD’s long term financial plan.
CV’s community involvement is essential in the District’s efforts to address the challenges of sustainable water supply, infrastructure for reliability, and the long term financial stability for the future. In this regard, CVWD has scheduled a public workshop to provide information on the District, its finances, and the recently initiated Water and Sewer Rate Study. The community workshop will be held on Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. in the CVWD board room, 2700 Foothill Blvd. www.cvwd.com