SCV residents drinking melted snow – for the most part
On a normal day in a normal year, a glass of water poured from any tap in the Santa Clarita Valley contains equal portions of water pumped from local wells and water imported from melting snowpacks in the Sierra Nevadas.
For example, the same glass of water poured from any tap in the SCV contained less than 10 percent of the water pumped locally compared to 91.1 percent of it being imported from Northern California.
Drinking that summer glass of water means you would have been drinking almost 100 percent melted snow brought down the Feather River, stored in Orville Dam and conveyed south by the California aqueduct to Castaic Lake as part of the State Water Project.
By contrast, looking at the amount of water pumped out of the ground locally mid-summer in 2013, three quarters of the water consumed in the SCV was imported.
Earmarked water One of 29 State Water Project contractors entitled to receive water from the Sierra Nevadas in Northern California, the CLWA serves as Santa Clarita Valley’s water wholesaler.
Every year state officials with the Department of Water Resources assess the Sierra Nevada snowpack, calculate how much water the melted snow will produce and allocate how much each of the 29 agencies should get.
This water earmarked for CLWA use is called “carryover” water.
Sharing water Unlike managing water in a drought year, when every drop of water is needed and used, the agency couldn’t use its 50,000 acre-feet of “carryover” water this current year which saw more rainfall than average.
State officials then took that unused water – called spilled water – and poured it back into their “pool of water” resources, making it available to all agencies contracted with the state to receive State Water Project water.
“Regarding the spilled water, effectively 35,000 acre-feet of water was spilled,” Marks told The Signal in July.