California storms bring much needed water but not enough to end drought

LAKEWOOD, CA, Jan. 25, 2010 -- With storms pounding California and bringing much needed rain, many will think the drought is finally over...

LAKEWOOD, CA, Jan. 25, 2010 -- With storms pounding California and bringing much needed rain, many will think the drought is finally over. The Water Replenishment District (WRD), the groundwater management agency in southeast Los Angeles County, would like to remind everyone that, unfortunately, it is not the case.

"That is why our WIN program is vital to securing our own local water supply future, while providing a significant overall solution to the State's water supply challenge"

It is important to note that for the last three years, California has suffered a severe drought that includes sharp curtailment of water from Northern California resulting in serious water conservation measures and the unavailability of imported water for groundwater replenishment.

Groundwater is vital to south Los Angeles County because it is responsible for providing almost half of the water supply to more than 4 million residents which represents 10% of the State's population.

The region's groundwater supply is drawn from a number of aquifers that lie beneath the Los Angeles area. The Central and West Coast Basins, separated by the Newport Inglewood Uplift, is managed by WRD whose region includes a 420 square-mile area comprised of 43 cities from the South Bay to Whittier and Monterey Park to Long Beach.

The ongoing drought in the region and significant reduction of water from the Delta has meant increased reliance on groundwater to meet the area's water needs.

"This storm system will help recharge the groundwater table, but it is still not enough to make up for three years of drought. And it's not enough to make up for the lack of imported water for groundwater replenishment for the past three years," stated WRD General Manager Robb Whitaker. "That is why WRD is implementing a local, sustainable, and reliable water supply for the region through increased storm water capture, water recycling and water conservation projects," concluded Whitaker.

A key element of the water package adopted by the Legislature in November is the development of local water supplies in Southern California. Development of local water supplies will help to reduce demand for water imported through the environmentally sensitive Delta.

One example of local sustainable water supplies is the WRD's Water Independence Now (WIN) program. WIN is a suite of projects designed to completely eliminate our reliance on imported water for groundwater replenishment. WIN will help "drought proof" the region and secure a reliable source of water for south Los Angeles County.

"This large storm event is a good start to the year, but let us not forget that we have to make up for three dry years," WRD Board President Albert Robles said. "That is why our WIN program is vital to securing our own local water supply future, while providing a significant overall solution to the State's water supply challenge," concluded Robles.

Created by voters in 1959, WRD is a regional groundwater management agency that protects and preserves the quantity and quality of groundwater supplies for nearly four million residents in southern Los Angeles County or 10% of the State's population.

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