West San Gabriel Valley groundwater storage project will improve supply

A 3-billion-gallon groundwater storage project in the west San Gabriel Valley has officially received statewide bond funds through the Metropolitan Water District.

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 12, 2003 -- The reliability of Southern California's water supplies was further enhanced Wednesday as a 3-billion-gallon groundwater storage project in the west San Gabriel Valley became the latest in a series of Southland programs to receive statewide bond funds granted to the Metropolitan Water District.

During ceremonies at Metropolitan's board of directors meeting, MWD Chairman Phillip J. Pace and Chief Executive Officer Ronald R. Gastelum joined officials from Foothill Municipal Water District in signing a 25-year agreement to store water in an aquifer underlying La Canada Flintridge, Altadena and La Crescenta.

"This project is one of several planned by Metropolitan and its 26 member public agencies to help shore up the region's water supply reliability," said Pace, who was joined at the ceremony by James T. Edwards, Foothill's representative on Metropolitan's board, and Arthur Littlejohns, FMWD's board president.

"It's also a good business arrangement. It brings together two entities that can help fulfill each other's needs and serves as a model for similar future arrangements," Pace said.

Foothill's agreement was one of two groundwater storage projects authorized by Metropolitan's board today to receive Proposition 13 funds.

The state allocated Metropolitan $45 million from Prop. 13 to help develop groundwater storage projects in Southern California. Under the authorized agreement, Foothill will receive $1.7 million from Prop. 13. In a related action, Metropolitan's board also authorized Prop. 13 funds for a similar agreement with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Three Valleys Municipal Water District and Chino Basin Watermaster.

Gastelum said the Foothill agreement continues a new wave of storage projects Metropolitan is pursuing with its member agencies to bolster supply reliability in Southern California.

"Increasing groundwater storage in the region plays a large role in our diversified resource portfolio, which allows us to hedge our bets against the state's unpredictable climate, as well as any uncertainties regarding our imported supplies from the Colorado River and Northern California," Gastelum said.

The project will allow Metropolitan, in cooperation with Foothill, to store up to 9,000 acre-feet of water in the Raymond Basin during wet periods and withdraw 3,000 acre-feet per year during dry spells, droughts or emergencies. (An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons, about the amount of water used by two typical Southern California families in and around their home in a year.)

"This agreement recognizes the ties that bind our region in terms of supply reliability," said Edwards, who has represented Foothill on Metropolitan's board since May 1999.
"No agency is an island, and no single agency can provide reliability within its own context. Agreements like this provide a greater depth of supply security because they involve regional cooperation and resources," Edwards said.

The project calls for a drilling of a well, which can both inject and extract water, construction of a facility to remove pollutants, and a pump station upgrade. Construction of the new facilities is expected to begin this winter.

"This provides us with an added degree of flexibility and supply reliability, particularly during dry years and droughts," Littlejohns said.

To learn more about Metropolitan and the role groundwater storage projects like Foothill's will play in Southern California's water future, visit MWD's web site at mwdh2o.com.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving 18 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage, and other water-management programs.

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