Water officials move to ensure access to stored water

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SCV Water Agency logo. Courtesy
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A dry winter and a thin snow pack have prompted SCV Water Agency officials to take steps ensuring they can draw on the water they’ve already stored.

When members of the water agency’s Water Resources and Watershed Committee meet Wednesday night they’ll review a recommendation that would allow the general manager access to money that would cover the cost of transferring stored water.

Officials anticipate the state will allocate less Northern California water for Santa Clarita Valley due to the dry winter and, as a precaution, are making sure they have access to stored water should they need it.

Dirk Marks, the agency’s director of water resources, told The Signal Tuesday: “Staff is seeking needed flexibility to access water stored in our Rosedale and Semitropic groundwater banks.”

In his memo to committee members, Marks pointed out: “Current dry hydrologic conditions being experienced in the State Water Project watershed will likely result in low water SWP allocation that would not meet imported water demands for SCV Water’s service area.

“To meet demands, SCV Water may need to access water from SCV Water’s water exchanges of banking programs,” he wrote.

“To accomplish this, the general manager would need authorization to expend funds.”

In February 2014, when he explained the drought to local water officials, Marks held up comparative aerial photographs of Northern California snow packs taken in 2013 and in 2014.

A shot of fluffy white snow on the tops of the Sierra Nevada mountain range taken Jan. 13, 2013, contrasted starkly with a barren brown photo of the same range taken Jan. 13, 2014.

What followed were two more years of drought.

In his memo to committee members this week, Marks wrote: “To date, the 2017/18 water year has been characterized by low precipitation and snow pack.  The watersheds feeding the SWP have had a third to a quarter of normal precipitation to date.

“Similarly, the snow pack in these basins currently range between 30 percent and 40 percent or normal levels for the year.”

Less water from a smaller melted snow pack promises less water set aside for Southern California by state officials.

“If very-dry conditions persist, the State Water Project may only be able to support a 10 percent allocation,” Marks pointed out in his memo to the committee, referring to the possibility the agency could receive 10 percent of the water it normally gets from the state.

So, to ensure the agency has the ability to access stored water, the general manager must be able to access stored water and in order to do that he has to be able to pay for it’s transfer.

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