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construction halted by water concerns
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construction halted by water concerns
Antelope Valley construction halted by water concerns
April 13, 2008 at 8:25 am

From the San Fernando Business Journal:

Construction has been halted in some parts of the Antelope Valley over the inability to provide new homes, and industrial and commercial developments with an adequate supply of water.

Since November, the Los Angeles County Waterworks District No. 40 has refused to issue �will serve� letters guaranteeing water service. The district serves much of the Valley, including the city of Lancaster and parts of the City of Palmdale. That refusal stalled the construction of 1,000 new single-family homes in two projects in Lancaster and has developers thinking twice about starting new projects.

While not at a crisis stage yet, the water shortage is a priority of the cities, developers and agencies responsible for the water supply. �There are currently a number of groups working together or individual agencies looking for additional sources of water whether it�s here in Southern California, through Northern California acquisition or even potentially outside the state if there is water on the market,� said Gretchen Gutierrez, executive director of the Building Industry Association chapter for the Antelope Valley.

Water finds its way to the valley from melting snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains transported south through the Los Angeles aqueduct. Lower snowfalls have produced less water in years past. Additionally, a December court order restricts water flow by slowing pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to protect the endangered delta smelt, an indigenous species of fish.

As that order affects water delivery to all areas south of Stockton, the Antelope Valley has found itself in competition for other sources. Since the waterworks district and individual developers cannot negotiate for water on their own, it is up to the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency and two other state water project contractors serving the area to do that.
25-06-2008 11:51 AM
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RE: construction halted by water concerns
Antelope Valley project to improve drinking water quality is moving along on schedule
April 2, 2008 at 5:00 am

From the Antelope Valley Press:

A project designed to improve drinking water quality for the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency is moving along as planned. That�s the news agency board members received Tuesday night during a presentation by representatives of Montgomery Watson Harza, a Pasadena-based construction management firm more commonly known as MWH Americas Inc.

The roughly $89 million project involves modifying the agency�s four water treatment plants in Quartz Hill, Pearblossom, Acton and Rosamond in order to switch from chlorine to chloramines for disinfection once all necessary changes are completed. By converting to chloramines, the water wholesale agency will meet standards imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce trihalomethanes, a by-product that results when chlorine makes contact with decaying plant life found in surface water.

Some studies suggest a correlation between an increased number of cancer cases in communities where the trihalomethane level in drinking water is high, the EPA said.

At this point, the construction project is about 55% complete, board member Keith Dyas said.
25-06-2008 11:55 AM
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Better tasting water
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.
25-06-2008 11:59 AM
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toilet to tap
Antelope Valley City Council approves regional water plan; toilet to tap fears soothed by public meeting
January 19, 2008 at 7:24 am

From the Antelope Valley Press:

A regional plan for conserving the Antelope Valley�s supply of drinking water received unanimous approval Wednesday from the City Council. The council�s approval is one of 11 needed for local representatives to seek state grant funding to implement some of the conservation efforts identified in the Integrated Regional Water Plan/Groundwater Management Plan for the Antelope Valley. �This is a strategic plan for the subject of water resources and making sure we have reliable and adequate resources in the Antelope Valley,� the council was advised by Leon Swain, the city�s director of Public Works.

Without water-conservation efforts, users will be demanding an estimated 274,000 acre-feet of water annually by 2010 when only about 200,000 acre-feet will be available, Swain said. That shortfall is expected to grow as demand increases, he said, noting that the Antelope Valley �is one of the areas of the state with the biggest challenges� in terms of water. �It�s really an issue of long-term sustainability,� Swain said.

Councilman Steve Hofbauer called the regional plan �an incredible amount of work and an incredible amount of information on an incredibly complex subject that is so important to this community - whether we grow or don�t grow.�

Mayor Jim Ledford, who previously raised concerns about provisions in the plan for injecting treated sewage-water into the area�s underground water to bolster its supply of drinking water, said those concerns were allayed by information he received during a special water-related workshop Jan. 10. �I got to ask every question I could possibly think of� during that workshop, Ledford said, apologizing to his colleagues for the amount of time that took. Because of the answers he received, �I think the plan meets my expectations,� he said.
25-06-2008 12:02 PM
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toilet to tap
Antelope Valley City Council approves regional water plan; toilet to tap fears soothed by public meeting
January 19, 2008 at 7:24 am

From the Antelope Valley Press:

A regional plan for conserving the Antelope Valley�s supply of drinking water received unanimous approval Wednesday from the City Council. The council�s approval is one of 11 needed for local representatives to seek state grant funding to implement some of the conservation efforts identified in the Integrated Regional Water Plan/Groundwater Management Plan for the Antelope Valley. �This is a strategic plan for the subject of water resources and making sure we have reliable and adequate resources in the Antelope Valley,� the council was advised by Leon Swain, the city�s director of Public Works.

Without water-conservation efforts, users will be demanding an estimated 274,000 acre-feet of water annually by 2010 when only about 200,000 acre-feet will be available, Swain said. That shortfall is expected to grow as demand increases, he said, noting that the Antelope Valley �is one of the areas of the state with the biggest challenges� in terms of water. �It�s really an issue of long-term sustainability,� Swain said.

Councilman Steve Hofbauer called the regional plan �an incredible amount of work and an incredible amount of information on an incredibly complex subject that is so important to this community - whether we grow or don�t grow.�

Mayor Jim Ledford, who previously raised concerns about provisions in the plan for injecting treated sewage-water into the area�s underground water to bolster its supply of drinking water, said those concerns were allayed by information he received during a special water-related workshop Jan. 10. �I got to ask every question I could possibly think of� during that workshop, Ledford said, apologizing to his colleagues for the amount of time that took. Because of the answers he received, �I think the plan meets my expectations,� he said.
25-06-2008 12:02 PM
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water transfer to Palmdale Water District
Northern California water transfer to Palmdale Water District has a big benefit for Butte County
January 31, 2008 at 2:49 pm

From the Oroville Mercury Regsiter, the water transfer between Butte County and the Palmdale Water District. Butte County holds rights to more SWP water than it can use, and in previous years was not required to pay for its unused water. However, this year, DWR informed Butte County that they would have to pay for the unused water. At the same time, DWR changed the rules, making it easier for the water to be transferred elsewhere. From the article:

Previously State Water Project contractors, including Butte County, could only sell water within their designated service areas. However, DWR changed the rules to allow contractors to sell water to each other, even outside of the service area. That gave Butte County authority to peddle its allocation elsewhere.

Tuesday, Paul Gosselin, director of the county Water and Resource Department, and assistant director Vickie Newlin, briefed the Board of Supervisors on a proposal to sell the local share. Newlin said her department had received a �letter of intent� from the Palmdale Water District seeking to purchase the county�s water.Just how much water the county would be allowed to sell is dependent on DWR�s water guarantees to its contractors. Late last year, before the arrival of the current rains, DWR predicted it would provide 25 percent of the contractors� maximum allotment in 2008. If the 25 percent allocation holds for 2008, according to Newlin�s figures, the county could receive $1,437,500 from a deal with Palmdale.

As the percentage of the allocation the county gets grows, the per-acre-foot payment for the water would drop. However the increasing amount of water sold would more than make up the difference. Newlin told the board if the county could sell 100 percent of its water allotment, Butte could receive $4.4 million.

�Although the cost to the county for water year 2009 and future years is still unknown at this time, using the 2008 price as an indicator, the county could meet and exceed its costs for 2008 through 2010 with the revenue generated through the sale� of the water in 2008 and 2009, states a report prepared for the board by Newlin.
25-06-2008 12:04 PM
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Palmdale Water District GM LaMoreaux
Embattled Palmdale Water District GM LaMoreaux lays out the difficulties facing the Antelope Valley�s water supply
February 5, 2008 at 12:27 pm

From the Antelope Valley Press:

At this time, the biggest question regarding the state�s water picture focuses on the status of supplies and problems in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

That�s the view of Dennis La�Moreaux, general manager of the Palmdale Water District, currently on paid administrative leave. La�Moreaux has been with the district 19 years and in the position of general manager for 13. As an engineer, his work on water-related projects dates back to 1984 in Gillette, Wyo. For the short term, LaMoreaux said during a recent meeting at the Antelope Valley Press office, pumping in the Delta has been restricted for five years because of a decision handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Oliver Wanger.

The judge issued his final word in December concerning a slowdown in pumping operations at the Harvey O. Banks facility, the starting point of the 444-mile California Aqueduct, which furnishes drinking and agricultural water to the Antelope Valley and much of Southern California. Wanger�s order is to remain in effect through mid-September. Wanger mandated the slowdown as a means of protecting a fish called the Delta smelt, whose population has significantly declined, in part by being sucked into the pumps and killed.

LaMoreaux said the �judge�s hands were tied because the (smelt) is a listed species� among the at-risk species identified by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Although other factors have contributed to the dwindling smelt population, LaMoreaux said the pumps were the only cause the judge could cite in court - the only quantifiable reason. �Smelt has to do with the health of the entire ecosystem,� LaMoreaux said.

As far as how severely the Delta problems will affect the Antelope Valley�s water supply, LaMoreaux said, that depends on what transpires during the interim. �Hopefully in that five-year period the state will (find) a solution,� he said. However, it could take another five years to remedy, he said. That means the water district�s �biggest source of supply is the biggest question mark.�
25-06-2008 12:07 PM
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RE: construction halted by water concerns
25-06-2008 12:09 PM
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Antelope-Valley East Kern Water Agency
City hopes Antelope-Valley East Kern Water Agency will help fund recharge project
March 17, 2008 at 12:54 pm

From the Antelope Valley Press:

City officials continue on their mission to lure partners for the design and construction of a water recharge project. In that quest, they hope help will come in the form of money. So Leon Swain, Palmdale�s director of Public Works, presented the city plans for the Upper Amargosa Recharge and Nature Park to the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency board of directors at their meeting Tuesday night.

That project carries a price tag of $14.5 million, and Palmdale has committed to paying $2.5 million of the cost. Swain said the city is seeking $3 million from Proposition 50 funds and hoping for another $350,00 in an Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Grant from the state for highway landscaping and urban forestry projects.

But an $8.6 million shortfall remains and the share sought from partners has not yet been determined.

Swain described the merits of the water recharge project. �It meets all five water management strategies� cited in the Antelope Valley Integrated Regional Water Management Plan, he said.

The plan involved a meeting of the minds of representatives from all Valley water suppliers, government agencies at city, county and state levels as well as members of the building industry.

Swain identified the following management strategies the Upper Amargosa project would satisfy: water supply management; water quality management; flood management; environmental resource management; and land use management. �This is exactly what the Valley needs,� Swain said.

The project could help close a deficit in between water supply and demand in the valley that, if nothing is done, could mean not enough water in the Antelope Valley in 2035.
25-06-2008 12:11 PM
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Antelope-Valley East Kern Water Agency
City hopes Antelope-Valley East Kern Water Agency will help fund recharge project
March 17, 2008 at 12:54 pm

From the Antelope Valley Press:

City officials continue on their mission to lure partners for the design and construction of a water recharge project. In that quest, they hope help will come in the form of money. So Leon Swain, Palmdale�s director of Public Works, presented the city plans for the Upper Amargosa Recharge and Nature Park to the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency board of directors at their meeting Tuesday night.

That project carries a price tag of $14.5 million, and Palmdale has committed to paying $2.5 million of the cost. Swain said the city is seeking $3 million from Proposition 50 funds and hoping for another $350,00 in an Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Grant from the state for highway landscaping and urban forestry projects.

But an $8.6 million shortfall remains and the share sought from partners has not yet been determined.

Swain described the merits of the water recharge project. �It meets all five water management strategies� cited in the Antelope Valley Integrated Regional Water Management Plan, he said.

The plan involved a meeting of the minds of representatives from all Valley water suppliers, government agencies at city, county and state levels as well as members of the building industry.

Swain identified the following management strategies the Upper Amargosa project would satisfy: water supply management; water quality management; flood management; environmental resource management; and land use management. �This is exactly what the Valley needs,� Swain said.

The project could help close a deficit in between water supply and demand in the valley that, if nothing is done, could mean not enough water in the Antelope Valley in 2035.
25-06-2008 12:11 PM
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