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Tom Campbell: CLWA looks ahead

Posted: January 14, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 14, 2013 2:00 a.m.

As much as 2012 was a landmark year for Castaic Lake Water Agency, this year promises still more significant progress as we plan for the future, manage our valuable resources, and participate in a solution to the statewide water supply dilemma.

A look ahead at 2013 involves many big-picture issues here at CLWA. Last week, we looked back at 2012, our Agency’s 50th anniversary year that included several major accomplishments, such as CLWA’s acquisition of Valencia Water Company. Today, we look ahead at the challenges of 2013.

Among the expected highlights:

Solving the Delta Dilemma

CLWA for several years has been an active supporter of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, a cooperative effort among numerous stakeholders to address water supply reliability and ecosystem management issues related to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, through which the majority of the state’s surface waters flow. The Delta is described as California’s "Katrina in Waiting," as a major earthquake could devastate aging levees. Since much of the Delta landmass is below sea level, a massive levee failure would cause devastating property damage to Delta islands and huge economic losses throughout the state.

But, a major milestone nears: This summer we expect public release of the environmental impact report outlining the BDCP’s proposed ecosystem management and water conveyance solutions, including a 35-mile underground tunnel that would divert water before it reaches the Delta. CLWA continues supporting the process, and we’re eagerly anticipating this major step toward the dual goals of ecosystem protection and water supply reliability. It’s not an exaggeration to say California’s future depends on it.

Chloride Solution, Too?

A trickle-down benefit of the BDCP would be reduced chloride levels in the water CLWA receives from the State Water Project. Since the tunnels would bypass the Delta, where sea water mixes with fresh water, chloride levels would drop. This, in turn, would help the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District address the Santa Clara River discharge standards imposed by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. In the meantime, we support efforts to find cost-effective interim solutions that provide win-win solutions for all regional stakeholders until the BDCP is completed.

SCWD Master Plan

CLWA’s Santa Clarita Water Division is scheduled this year to complete its master plan, providing a basis for sound business decisions and enhancing system reliability and service to the retailer’s ratepayers. Also this year, SCWD plans to construct a new reservoir on the upper mesa above CLWA’s Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant property. The storage tank will hold 3.75 million gallons of water.

Valencia Water Company: Realizing Benefits

As we discussed last week, CLWA recently acquired Valencia Water Company, a landmark move bringing 84 percent of SCV retail water connections under CLWA’s umbrella and moving us closer to the vision of "One Valley, One Water." In 2013, we’re looking forward to taking the steps to ensure that the public realizes the full benefits of this acquisition.

Salt, Nutrients and Recycled Water

CLWA is collaborating with the City of Santa Clarita and other stakeholders on an update to the Integrated Regional Water Management Plan that includes a Salt and Nutrient Management Plan. This update seeks to optimize the future use of recycled water while protecting groundwater and ensuring compliance with water quality regulations. The plan will play a key role as we increase our use of recycled water for irrigation.

Stewardship, Always

A common thread through our efforts at CLWA is proactive stewardship of resources, and those efforts continue on many fronts in 2013. For example, we view a proposed expansion of the solar power facility on the Rio Vista upper mesa property as a means of providing good environmental stewardship, as it will provide clean energy, and good financial stewardship, too, as it will reduce energy costs for CLWA and SCWD.

Also, we’ll continue our efforts to improve water use efficiency and achieve the state’s mandate of a 20 percent per capita reduction in use by 2020. We’ll update our water use efficiency strategic plan, and we’ll continue our efficiency programs, such as those offering rebates and incentives for high efficiency toilets, clothes washers and weather-based irrigation controllers. You can find information on these programs at

We’re excited about the prospects for 2013 as we strive to ensure the reliability of the Valley’s water supply portfolio — now, and in the years to come.

Tom Campbell is the president of the Castaic Lake Water Agency Board of Directors. His column reflects the agency’s views, and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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