Better tasting water and new irrigation technology coming to the Antelope Valley, while water district worries about future supply issues
March 22, 2008 at 6:23 am
A trio of stories from the Antelope Valley Press.
Better tasting water on the way:
Palmdale Water District customers can look forward to better-tasting, odorless water in late fall after the agency completes disinfection improvements.
Construction is in the works for eight concrete basins, or contactors, at the district�s water treatment plant on Avenue S, just west of Sierra Highway. The contactors will be receptacles for granular activated carbon, according to Greg Dluzak, the district�s production manager.
The carbon adds one more step to the purification of tap water. District board members voted 5-0 last week for approval of a $1.53 million contract to cover the initial shipment of enough carbon for seven contactors. That price includes installation, startup and testing.
Read the full text of the article from the Antelope Valley Press by clicking here.
County waterworks agency looks for ways to plug the coming water deficit:
By 2030, projected customer demand in Waterworks District 40 is 135,600 acre-feet, [Division chief of LA Waterworks District 40] Ariki said in a recent presentation to board members of the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency. He calculated 60,360 acre-feet of imported water, or 44%, would come from AVEK; 20,000 acre-feet, or 14%, from groundwater; 13,500 acre-feet, or 10%, from use of recycled water; and 13,600 acre-feet, or 10%, dependent on customer conservation efforts.
That still leaves the district short by 28,140 acre-feet in little more than two decades, according to Ariki�s calculations. �What are we going to do about the missing piece of the pie?� he asked, pointing to a blank space on a pie graph.
�I was really thrilled when Russ said AVEK did 600,000 acre-feet of in-lieu recharge,� Ariki said, referring to a comment from the agency�s general manager, Russ Fuller, on the current condition of the groundwater table. �If we have that much water, we solved the problems,� he said with a chuckle.
�Can we claim that water as a retail agency? What claim do we have to that water? Technically, if it was done right, there should be agreement with farmers,� Ariki said. �I�ve been long enough with the county through dry periods,� he said. �I�m just saying, there is no mechanism in place for us to claim that water.�
Tom Barnes, water resources manager for the water agency, said the 600,000 acre-feet Ariki mentioned was the amount of groundwater that AVEK saved between 1976 and 2007 by encouraging farmers to use surface water from the State Water Project rather than water pumped from the ground. In those years, AVEK delivered 1.6 million acre-feet of surface water to agricultural, municipal and industrial users across the Valley, Barnes said. By persuading the farmers to stop taking groundwater, that raised the water table on the west side about 600,000 acre-feet in three decades, he said.
Ariki said the water-saving effort by AVEK is great but still leaves Waterworks District 40 on shaky ground. Because of the uncertainty of water sources, and recent shortages in supplies, Waterworks District 40 stopped issuing will-serve letters to developers seeking approval for new subdivision projects into the Valley within boundaries the county agency services.
Read the full text of this story from the Antelope Valley Press by clicking here.
New irrigation technology to be tested in the Antelope Valley:
It�s a go for a pilot program that will test water conservation measures in 2,500 homes served by the Palmdale Water District.
TurfTech Industries of Manhattan Beach has been awarded a $62,000 contract for a software program that enables water district customers to adjust their existing irrigation systems each month to avoid over-watering their lawns. The software calculates the amount of water being used and the amount actually needed to sustain a healthy lawn based on current climate and type of vegetation, plus historical weather records, officials said.
�It�s a tool for our customers to manage their irrigation program,� said Claudette Roberts, Palmdale Water District water conservation manage. �We�ll target our customers, probably (through) direct mail at first. PWD has to do some work, schedule audits and (create) a database� of customers.�
The district will select customers that are big water users - those using 50 units or more a month - to participate in the test program. Roberts said each unit equals 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons of water, meaning a customer who uses 50 units is consuming 37,400 gallons a month. Customers selected to participate in the pilot program will be advised to adjust the controllers for their irrigation systems based on information determined by the water audit conducted by TurfTech. The customers will be charged a basic fee of $25 a month, and more for larger irrigation systems, after the first six months.
In addition to saving water, she said the pilot program should stop runoff onto sidewalks and streets, thereby preventing groundwater pollution. She estimated customers would see at least a 20% reduction in water use with the TurfTech program. Aside from paying $62,000 for the TurfTech contract, the district will spend another $20,000 for marketing the program and to provide training sessions for participating customers and their gardeners, Roberts said.