Water quality board amends plans for Santa Clara River

Denny Orellana and his son Michael, 9, take a look at the rain-filled Santa Clara River during a walk in Canyon Country last January. Tom Cruze/for The Signal

The Los Angeles Regional Water Control Board amended its Water Quality Control Plan  Dec. 8 to help expand the number of planned recycled water projects in the Santa Clarita Valley.

In its vote, the board changed its plan to include the Salt and Nutrient Management Plan (SNMP) for the Upper Santa Clara River Basin.

That plan includes the levels of salts and nutrients beneficial for drinking water supplies, landscape irrigation and industrial uses.

“It’s an approval by a regulatory agency that will help us in the future to develop recycled water in our area,” said Dirk Marks, Castaic Lake Water Agency’s (CLWA) water resource manager.  “Right now we have a relatively limited area of recycled water we use.”

According to Marks, CLWA has a “limited area of recycled water use” and mainly uses recycled water at city medians and at some golf courses.

The approved amendment will allow the agency to expand its recycled water usage from 450 acre-feet per year to about 10,000 acre-feet per year at locations like landscape irrigation, medians, hills, homeowners associations’ slopes and more, according to Marks.

“This is a good step forward for us being able to develop recycled water in the future,” Marks said.

The approval will assist in the permitting process for recycled water projects, like Phase II of CLWA’s Recycled Water Program, which is part of the planned, long-term water supply for Santa Clarita Valley.

The Regional Water Board’s Upper Santa Clara River Basin plan lies underneath the Santa Clarita Valley and includes the Alluvial Aquifer and Saugus Formation Aquifer for groundwater production.

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