As California experiences exceptionally dry conditions for a third consecutive year, Santa Clarita Valley Water said the SCV is prepared for a potential drought.
“(SCV Water) and this community on the whole has done a really exceptional job of preparing itself for droughts,” said SCV Water’s Director of Water Resources Dirk Marks. “We have several groundwater banking programs, which we are accessing this year.”
SCV data show that SCV residents have done their part to conserve water.
“The conservation mandate from the state required us to reduce our gallons per capita day by 20% by 2020 and our customers achieved a 25% (reduction),” said Matt Dickens, sustainability manager at SCV Water. “So those types of successes coupled with planning and banking and storage and flexible storage really set us up in a good position, at least at this point in time.”
This week, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a regional drought emergency in two northern California counties.
He also directed state agencies to “bolster drought resilience and prepare for impacts on communities, businesses and ecosystems if dry conditions extend to a third year,” according to a press release from the governor’s office Wednesday.
Several local factors indicate that a drought emergency may become a reality in the SCV if current conditions persist.
Marks said local precipitation levels are tracking at historic lows and that the entire state has witnessed low precipitation this year, which has resulted in a smaller snowpack and a smaller water allocation from the State Water Project.
SCV Water is further challenged by reduced local water supplies due to PFAS – human-made chemicals found in a wide range of products used by consumers. The water agency operates a facility – opened last year – to treat the contaminated local water supply.
“The soil moisture content in the mountains is pretty dry so it’s not contributing to the runoff into the streams that support the reservoirs that provide us our water supply,” Marks added.
Despite these water challenges, Marks and Dickens are optimistic.
Marks said water demand in the SCV has “declined significantly” over the past decade through implementing conservation measures.
It’s a lesson from the multi-year drought less than a decade ago that’s still applicable today, Dickens said.
“There’s ample opportunity to improve water use efficiency and achieve conservation through very cost-effective, easy things to do, without impacting the utility of the water service,” said Dickens.
Dickens recommended finding and fixing leaks, reducing irrigation runoff and watering to the weather.
For more information about conservation, visit yourscvwater.com/save-water-money/residential/ and yourscvwater.com/conservation-tips/.