Water Reserves for only two years

Infrastructure Projects for Los Angeles County Urged

La Opinion- Jorge Morales Almada

Spanish Version

If these urgent hydrological infrastructure projects are not completed within two years Los Angeles County may be without water.

That is how Albert Robles, Director of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California presented the water situation during yesterdays report concerning the vital Central and West Coast Basins that supply a 420 square mile area that covers a parameter from Los Angeles, Whittier, Long Beach, Torrance and Inglewood.

The water situation in Los Angeles County and in general in California is not good, he said.

And that is because the groundwater reserves that capture water for these two basins, and that supply water for 43 cities from that area, have been diminishing considerably for the last three years.

For the first time in the 50 year history of the District, and within the last three years, we have not been able to replenish the groundwater and this situation cannot continue for much longer, insisted the WRD Director.It is to say that reserved water is running out and if these projects are not carried out we will not be able to continue, if the situation remains the same we will only have water for two years.

He was referring to a hydrological project that is already on paper, but that still needs approval and resources to be realized.

A couple of weeks ago the California legislature announced a series of public hearings that would create a series of laws that would produce a more reliable water system for the state, as well as to try and restore the delta for the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River, where the greatest portion of southern California and Central Valley water comes from.

We have several projects that if they are realized within the next five years our region will be [water] independent and will not have to import water from northern California or the Colorado River, stated Robles.

He stated that the principal project of all is the Groundwater Improvement Reliability Program (GRIP) that treats recycled water at a much cleaner level than what we currently consume.

The series of hydrologic projects will cost around $200 million dollars.

At the present moment around $30 million dollars a year are spent to import approximately 34 billion gallons of water from the Colorado River and the Sacramento River.

But we can no longer continue to buy water because there is none, because the water that normally comes from the Colorado has also been reduced due to the drought and because of legal reasons we are not allowed to import additional water from the north now that a judge has reduced the quantity, mentioned Robles.

Robb Whitaker, WRD administrator, indicated that 60% of the water being used in the county is brought in from several miles away and represent an enormous cost for WRD, who is the entity responsible for maintaining and protecting groundwater.   Only 40% of the water that is utilized in the 420 square mile parameter pertains to the Central and West Coast Basin.

Importing water cost almost three times more than using basin water, but to utilize local water, projects must be created that capture rainwater to increase reserves.

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