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Our View: Happy 50th anniversary to CLWA

The Signal Editorial Board

Posted: April 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Castaic Lake Water Agency (CLWA) celebrates its golden anniversary this week with the normal assortment of celebrations and acknowledgements.

All the speeches, handshaking, photos and hoopla are fun and appropriate, but we would like to pause for a moment and consider what the Santa Clarita Valley would be like without CLWA.

Growth would have hit a ceiling, and funding for many of the amenities we enjoy today would become scarcer. The human footprint would be smaller, and there would be fewer schools, parks, stores and infrastructure improvements. It would be a much different place indeed.

Prior to the agency's formation and facility development, residents of the valley secured their water from local underground supplies. Newhall County Water District and Bill Bonelli Jr.'s water company supplied water to a majority of customers.

In 1976, area residents passed a bond measure for the construction of the Earl Schmidt Filtration Plant and laterals that would connect state water to local distributors. CLWA began deliveries of state water to local purveyors in 1980 creating relief from pumping all of the valley's water from local underground aquifers.

Without this state water, the greater Santa Clarita Valley could very well look today as it did decades ago. No water, no growth. While we appreciate that some readers might view that as a good thing, most of us who enjoy our quality of life here in the valley should give Castaic Lake Water Agency a nod of thanks on their 50th anniversary.

The city of Santa Clarita has worked hard to maintain and develop quality of life elements for our citizenry, but no other organization has had more of an impact on the "look and viability" of the valley than CLWA and Newhall Land.

Compare our broader communities to any others in California and you can see the difference. Even Newhall Land's impressive master planning could not be implemented without sustainable water supplies.

The Signal has over the years pointed its share of pokes and criticisms at CLWA and we might find a few more in the future but this week on your golden anniversary we salute you and your accomplishments.




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