Water plays a key role in the ability for any region to thrive; and to do so in good health and well-being. For the residents of the greater Antelope Valley, water has the ability to link together the communities that all have a common need. Each of us relies on this most important resource for drinking, for bathing, for household activities, and for outdoors.
One acre-foot of water is 325,850 gallons, or roughly the amount of water used annually by a single-family Antelope Valley household in the pre- drought years.
ANTELOPE VALLEY EAST KERN WATER AGENCY
AVEK is continuing to store surplus water for our customers, supplies available from the State Water Project (SWP) also known as the California Aqueduct at our local banking sites.
Our Westside Water Bank has stored almost 60,000 acre-feet (AF) in 2017 and will have up to 112,500 acre-feet banked by the end of the year. The bank is located on 1,500 acres of land. The agency will pursue the delivery of more imported water to the banking sites in the new year, anticipating a good start to our 2018 season. The smaller Eastside Water Bank is currently storing about 5 AF per day, with more
than 1,700 AF already stored at the site. The bank is a 6-acre site located east of Palmdale.
Our latest storage project, the High Desert Water Bank in the far western part of the Antelope Valley is currently recharging SWP water at a rate of about 17 AF per day during the percolation testing phase of that project. The bank, located on more than 1,500 acres. AVEK is working with Metropolitan Water District (MWD) to partner on the project and MWD envisions purchasing the entire project capacity. AVEK plans to complete the design process for this bank shortly after the Environmental document is finalized. Early construction could begin in late 2018.
As AVEK Director Frank Donato said, the water stored underground in the water banks is “almost as good as cash.” It amounts to a $14 million capital asset for the agency, he said.
PALMDALE WATER DISTRICT
Following five consecutive years of drought, many areas in the state experienced record-breaking levels of precipitation in 2017. This was particularly true in the northern Sierra Nevada mountains where Southern California gets most of its water. This increase in supply has brought much needed relief to local water suppliers and to customers, ultimately allowing for the lifting of mandatory drought restrictions.
The sudden change from drought to overabundance has highlighted the importance of capturing water during wet years like 2017 and saving it for periods of dry spells. Locally, several water storage projects are in operation or in development to enhance Antelope Valley’s future water supply and drought resilience.
In 2017, Palmdale Water District marked several milestones, including the signing of the Butte County water lease extension; completing Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) for two major projects; breaking ground for the Palmdale Regional Groundwater Recharge and Recover Project test basins; and launching a yearlong 100th anniversary celebration.
One important proactive move the PWD made was extending its water lease with Butte County for an additional 10 years. The extension ensures that PWD will continue to have the option of leasing a portion of Butte County’s surplus water from the State Water Project (SWP) allowance until 2031. Two ongoing projects also needed for future growth are the Palmdale Regional Groundwater Recharge and Recovery Project and the
Littlerock Sediment Removal Project. After several years of hearings and studies, the final EIRs for both projects were approved. Testing of the basins for the Groundwater Recharge Project has begun. The Sediment Removal Project is in its final design phase and construction of the initial grade- control structure is scheduled for summer of 2018.
Although not directly related to a water project, the second half of 2017 was spent kicking off PWD’s yearlong celebration of its 100th anniversary. Highlights include historical displays, behind-the-scenes tours of PWD facilities for the community, and the unveiling of a new PWD logo. A grand celebration is planned for July 2018.
REALIZING A VISION FOR THE GREATER ANTELOPE VALLEY:
Can you envision a single day without safe drinking water? How would you prepare that morning cup of coffee? What about brushing your teeth or showering? To have a day go by that does not include water; safe, reliable water for drinking, cooking, and bathing…can you even envision that? Water supply itself can be considered as important as water quality yet, as the World Health Organization states, one-third of the world’s populations live in countries facing moderate to high water stress, if not water scarcity, and groundwater tables are falling in every continent.
Recent drought conditions in California have challenged water suppliers in their commitment to provide an adequate amount of safe drinking water. Beyond this basic responsibility has grown the need to develop a larger vision for the future of California’s water. Groundwater continues to be the single largest local water source, but as with other regions around the world, local groundwater tables have seen a decline. In Southern California, water has always been a particularly scarce resource. Additional resources from the northern portion of the state, waters that help the communities of the greater Antelope Valley, only come as winter seasons deliver Sierra snowmelt and rain to California’s streams, rivers, and lakes. This northern supply reaches the State Water Project California Aqueduct, moving billions of gallons of water through the Valley into the developing populations and irrigated farmlands of the drier southern half of the state.
Made up of local groundwater supplies and water imported from northern California, a balanced water portfolio is a vision that is being realized in the greater Antelope Valley. A step toward this solution was taken in December of 2015 as local cities, governing counties, water agencies, valley farmers and land owners resolved years’ old disputes and are working together to manage the region’s limited source of groundwater. Capturing any available imported water supply is another part of a solution that serves to bring long-term reliability to the greater Antelope Valley. Local water banking programs have been in operation since 2010 and have stored excess water provided from the State during wet periods. This water is later recovered for delivery to customers during dry or drought periods. Programs like this provide a critical form of resource management that adds flexibility and reliability to local water supplies.
The vision of water is realized: safe, reliable water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. Yes, you can prepare that morning cup of coffee, brush your teeth, and shower. With the management of water resources in the greater Antelope Valley using a combined balance of adequate supply and quality, this resource is readily available for residential, commercial, and municipal needs. Even as demand increases, a sense of responsibility to the community increases as well. Local cities, counties, land owners, and water suppliers have all envisioned, and are now realizing, what helps make a region grow and prosper: Water.
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.
-- Jim Rohn
The residents of the greater Antelope Valley know what having water discipline feels like. Our water assets and infrastructure are in great condition as a result. Success in this endeavor is in large part due to the cooperative spirit from our regional water providers to find reasonable solutions that work.
SEEING THE RELIABILITY, RESILIENCE & DIVERSITY OF THE GREATER ANTELOPE VALLEY
As the High Desert region of the Southern California began to gain popularity in the 1930’s for its out-of-the-way small town feel from Hollywood, water became a focal point for prosperity and family livelihood. With the help of a burgeoning aerospace industry, our valley saw a rapid need to develop residential neighborhoods and local businesses to support the families settling throughout the region. The small community water purveyors within the “Aerospace Valley” quickly began to feel the need to provide more water at a faster rate to their residents.
Water has always been a scarce resource due to the arid environment of Southern California. The majority of the state’s precipitation falls on the slopes of the northern mountain ranges, yet most of the population and irrigated farmlands are located in the drier, southern half, of the state. The communities here rely on the winter snowpack and rain to refill California’s streams, rivers, and lakes. Then, the California Aqueduct is used to move billions of gallons of water to the south to ensure that our valley’s residents and businesses have enough water to thrive.
Our state is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent history, yet the 2016 water year is off to a good start. While Californians’ attention is driven to the extreme conditions of flood and drought, given strong El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean, the
water suppliers of the greater Antelope Valley are building further on a diversified water portfolio. A significant part of this portfolio is water supply from local groundwater wells.
Following 16 years of litigation in the courts, local cities, governing counties, the valley’s farmers and land owners, along with the region’s water agencies became a part of the solution to local groundwater pumping. The final settlement approved by the court will help to clarify the right to pump water from local wells. All of the valley’s groundwater is within a “closed basin”. The water that either falls here or runs off from the various mountain ranges, is absorbed into the ground or evaporates. Managing this vital resource by creating a level playing field, where all parties have an allocated amount of water to pump and use, is a step that will ensure long-term water reliability.
The ever-renewing sense of responsibility to community and to the delivery of high-quality drinking water is an important aspect in making the greater Antelope Valley prosper. Growing is important, but managing our resources within a balance of residential, commercial, and municipal need is imperative. This balance is found in the reliability, resilience, and diversity of the greater Antelope Valley.
|Antelope Valley East Kern Water Agency||Water Quality Report: www.avek.org|
|Amount produced in 2012||79,000 acre feet (43,200 m&i; 5,300 ag; 31,400 Banking)|
|Amount produced in 2011||93,000 acre feet (50,000 m&i; 43,000 ag)|
|State Water Project entitlement||141,400 acre feet|
|Treatment Plant Capacity||118 million gallons per day (capable of serving nearly 500,000 people)|
|Palmdale Water District||Water Quality Report: www.palmdalewater.org|
|Amount produced in 2016||18,990 acre feet|
|State Water Project Delivered 2016||10,517 acre feet|
|State Water Project Table A Amount||21,300 acre feet|
|Water Sources 2016||51% surface water / 49% groundwater Wells|
|Customers Served in 2015||26,508 connections serving approximately 116,258 people|
|Indian Wells Valley Water District||Water Quality Report: www.iwvwd.com|
|Amount produced in 2015||7,050 acre feet|
|Amount produced in 2012||7,633 acre feet|
|Amount produced in 2011||7,364 acre feet|
|Amount produced in 2010||7,670 acre feet|
|Amount produced in 2009||8,084 acre feet|
|Amount produced in 2008||8,409 acre feet|
|Water Sources||10 ground water pumps|
|Customers Served in 2016||Approximately 12,000 connections serving approximately 30,000 people|
ANTELOPE VALLEY AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
The Antelope Valley … it’s a Breath of Fresh Air” is more than just the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District’s motto … it’s one of the top reasons why residents and businesses looking for a business-friendly community with some of the cleanest air anywhere in Southern California choose to call the Valley their home.
Based on its cleaner air quality, the AVAQMD is able to offer businesses located within its boundaries more operational flexibility and significantly lower fees than the South Coast AQMD and many other California air districts.
To learn more about the Antelope Valley’s air quality, or to register for EnviroFlash, the AVAQMD’s automated air quality notification system, visit www.avaqmd.ca.gov or call (661) 723-8070.
KERN COUNTY AIR POLLUTION CONTROL DISTRICT
The Board of Directors acts as the governing body of the East Kern Air Pollution Control District, a special district on east Kern County. The board consists of five members; three city council members and two county supervisors. Board meetings are open to the public.
Board of Directors are:
|Ed Grimes, Mayor of Tehachapi|
|Don Parris, Councilman of California City|
|Eddie Thomas, Vice-Mayor of Ridgecrest|
|Mick Gleason, Kern Co. Supervisor 1st District|
|Zack Scrivner, Kern Co. Supervisor 2nd District|
|Kern County Waste Management||661/862/8900||kerncountywaste.com/trash-collection|