I always get this question along with “do we have water problems?”. Thought this might answer some questions!
Storing more water in our basin is good
The Desert Sun Editorial Board • December 29, 2010
In the Coachella Valley, water conservation is a way of life. So it’s good news that the Desert Water Agency reports that more water was stored in our underground basin this year than in any year the past 24 years.
This will help delay rate increases for the district’s water agencies.
“A bunch of things happened to come together this year that worked out really well,” said Steve Robbins, general manager and chief engineer of the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD).
Together, Desert Water Agency and CVWD have the third-largest entitlement among the 29 contractors served by the State Water Project, which delivers water from Northern California. However, the project’s pipelines don’t reach the Coachella Valley, so our desert gets its water from the Colorado River aqueduct through an agreement with the Metropolitan Water District (MWD).
The MWD is filling Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet only with water from Sacramento to keep the quagga mussel out of the reservoir. Colorado River water could import the pest, but it’s not a concern for the Coachella Valley.
The districts imported 262,000 acre-feet into the desert aquifer. (An acre-foot is 325,851, enough to fill a football field one foot deep and enough for about two households a year.) The record was set in 1986, when more than 288,000 acre-feet was imported.
There also was good news on Tuesday from Northern California, where the state Department of Water Resources’ first snow survey of the season showed the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is holding nearly twice as much water than average for this time of year.
The wet weather so far this season could help the state recover from three years of drought, according to the department’s release. Lake Oroville, the State Water Project’s principal reservoir, is slowly recovering. Its storage level is at 95 percent of average for this time of year.
The state delivered only half of the water requested this year. The last time the state was able to deliver 100 percent of the requested allocation was in 1996.
While the increased delivery of water is good news, Peter Nelson, president of the CVWD board, cautions that the aquifer remains overdrafted and the state has mandated that urban water consumption must be reduced by 20 percent by 2020.
Conservation remains an essential part of life in our desert. Please do what you can.