Here in the Santa Clarita Valley, we are fortunate to enjoy a high quality of life. We pride ourselves on having created a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family, which can be attributed in part to maintaining a reliable supply of high-quality water.
At the SCV Water Agency, our vision statement even underscores our commitment to that principle: “Exemplary water management for a high quality of life in the Santa Clarita Valley.”
Yet the reliability of that water is less certain in the future.
At SCV Water, we serve over one-quarter of a million customers throughout the valley, and up to 50% of our water supply each year is imported from the State Water Project, which is owned and operated by the California Department of Water Resources.
To get this clean, reliable, quality water at a reasonable cost, community leaders in the Santa Clarita Valley in the 1960s decided to participate in the SWP, which brings snowmelt from the Sierra Nevadas to our area.
This water travels over 400 miles through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and then into the California Aqueduct to get to your kitchen faucet. SCV Water is one participating agency in the SWP, which serves 27 million people. There is a plan in place to modernize this state water conveyance, known as the Delta Conveyance Project, which would help our community enhance water supply resiliency.
It has been known for decades that modernization of the SWP is needed to address the fragility of the existing Delta conveyance system.
In recent years, we have learned more about the threats to the stability of the SWP, including climate change, the rising sea level, and the risk of earthquakes that would disrupt water supply.
Modernizing this 1960s-era infrastructure for the 21st Century will help us protect the investment the community has already made in the SWP and meet our long-term water supply needs.
For example, if the Delta Conveyance Project had been operational during the rain events of January 2023, the improved SWP could have transported an additional 228,000 acre-feet of water while still meeting fishery and water quality requirements.
That’s enough water to supply about 2.3 million people for a year and is equivalent to approximately 40% of the total State Water Project exports in water year 2022.
SCV Water continues to develop projects to maximize local water supply, such as through groundwater recharge and recycled water projects. However, these options are limited.
Certainly, conservation will always be a way of life, both in and out of drought. Our active conservation, rebate and incentive programs are testimony to SCV Water’s full commitment to conservation.
Even with the existing programs in place, the Delta Conveyance Project would significantly increase the reliability of our water supply.
SCV Water’s participation in the Delta Conveyance Project supports the long-term success of the State Water Project and your water supply agency.
Matt Stone is the general manager of SCV Water and was previously general manager of the Castaic Lake Water Agency since 2015. He serves on the board of the State Water Contractors and previously served as chairman of the Urban Water Institute.