Drought is ‘Not Over’ Says Upper District San Gabriel Valley MWD Official

This file photo of the lake at Arboretum in 2000 is a stark reminder that we are still in drought conditions.
-Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News


Groundwater recharge fee will reach $200 per acre foot of water production in fiscal year 20/21

By Terry Miller

According to a recent report by the city manager, the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster has been developing plans for implementing a new assessment to be used towards purchasing imported water to recharge the local aquifer. Even though the rain has been plentiful, the basin, where Monrovia gets its water, is still in a critically unhealthy state.

In simple terms, for the Main San Gabriel Basin to be considered healthy, the groundwater level is supposed to be at between 200 – 250 feet.

With the current rain the area have received of late, the groundwater level is now only at around 180 feet.

In fact, Charles M. Trevino, Director Division 2 of the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District told Monrovia Weekly Monday that the drought, “… is definitely not over.”

Trevino was in attendance for the annual State of the City speech and was concerned that the recent rains have soaked the reality that the need for water is ever-present.

For the Main San Gabriel Basin to be healthy, water experts have recommended that we need to get groundwater levels back up at least 50 feet in the aquifer, which means we need more than … 130.3 billion gallons of water!

The current low groundwater levels are creating difficulties for water providers, as our water pumps and pipes were all developed with an expectation that groundwater levels would be at between 200 – 250 feet. If the situation does not improve, it will be increasingly difficult and expensive for us to procure water here in our region. Given the current situation, it is important to note… the drought for those in the San Gabriel Valley is in no way close to being over.

To try and rectify the drought-related issues that our region has been dealing with, the Watermaster has developed plans to implement a new fee that would be assessed across the entire Main San Gabriel Basin. Those plans were reviewed this past week by the Basin Management Committee, where the group voted to recommend that the Watermaster Board adopt a 5-year fee implementation plan which will be retroactively applied to begin last year in 2016/17 Fiscal Year.

Based on this latest proposed assessment structure, given that the costs are proposed to be retroactively applied to being in fiscal year of 2016/17, if the water purchasing assessment concept is approved, the estimated customer cost impact for everyone located in the Main San Gabriel Basin will eventually reach around $15 per month. The money raised by the Watermaster would then be used to purchase replacement water that would be imported to the Main San Gabriel Basin every year to recharge our aquifer.

Staff is still assessing the overall plan being considered by the Watermaster, as the final proposal is still up for consideration. Based on discussions with the Watermaster staff, it appears that the proposed assessment will be reviewed by the full Watermaster Board in March and April 2017.


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