Water officials to County: There’s enough water for 1,220 new homes in Canyon Country

The Castaic Lake spillway. Katharine Lotze/Signal
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Local water officials were urged by their advisors Wednesday to tell to Los Angeles County public works officials there’s enough water to meet the needs of more than 1,200 homes waiting to be built near Vasquez Canyon Road.

Keith Abercrombie, retail manager of Santa Clarita Water Division, recommended to members of the Castaic Lake Water Agency board that there is enough water to proceed with the construction of the homes slated to become part of the Skyline Ranch Project.

Seven years ago, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the construction of 1,260 homes as part of the Skyline Ranch Project on close to 2,200 acres in Canyon Country, stretching about one mile from the edge of the Angeles National Forest south to Sierra Highway.

On Dec. 20, county officials officially reduced the size of the project by 40 homes dropping it to 1,220.

Conditional on the project moving forward, however, was the assurance by water officials that the Santa Clarita Valley has enough water to meet the demand of the new residents – in good times and bad.

In their report to the board Wednesday Abercrombie, along with members of CLWA’s Retail Operations Committee, recommended board members adopt their official pledge on the availability of water for the Skyline Ranch Project.

The official pledge is called a Water Supply Verification report and is required by state law any time more than 500 homes are to be built as part of one project.

Abercrombie and the committee also recommended the board send a copy of the water promise report to Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, giving the housing project the green light to proceed.

“A Water Supply Verification evaluates projected supplies and demands for water over a 20 year time horizon, and evaluates the sufficiency of said supplies to meet projected demand from the project in addition to all existing and planned future uses,” Abercrombie told The Signal Wednesday.

He said the report prepared by the Santa Clarita Water Division – owned by the CLWA and one of three main water retailers in the SCV – includes “analyses of existing and projected demands during normal, single-dry, and multiple-dry year types over a 20 year time horizon as required.”

The state law – SB221 – which demands such an assessment be carried out before any of the 1,220 homes are built expects evaluations of drought periods when water availability dries up.

In light of that consideration, Abercrombie said: “The WSV (verification) concludes that the total water supplies available to SCWD will be sufficient to meet the projected demand associated with the Project in addition to SCWD’s existing and planned future uses.”

Under the approved plan, about 80 percent of the project — 1,770 acres — will be preserved open space.

Pardee Homes, the project’s developer, expects to build about three houses per acre on 400 acres.

The Skyline Ranch plan also comes with: an 11-acre park, an elementary school, 25 open space lots, 13 debris basins and four water tanks.

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