February 2024

Board of Director Meetings

Monday, February 12, 2024; 8 a.m. - The February 2024 Board of Directors meeting will be held at the District’s headquarters office located at 1402 N. Vosburg Drive, Azusa, California 91702. Board members and staff will attend the meeting in person. Due to limited spacing, we are still making the meeting available to the public via video conference.

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Meeting ID: 890 1330 6120

Passcode: 512838

Dial by your location (669) 444-9171

Save the Date: March Board Meeting – Monday, March 11, 2024; 8 a.m.

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Water Saving Tips


Happy Lunar New Year! As we step into the Year of the Wood Dragon, let's harness its strength and vitality to champion water conservation. Just like the dragon's enduring spirit, let's commit to preserving our water sources for future generations. Together, may we create a sustainable and prosperous future. Wishing you a year filled with abundance and mindful stewardship! 



Intense "Atmospheric River Events" Deluging San Gabriel Valley and California with Rain and Snow

As this newsletter was being completed, the San Gabriel Valley and much of California were in the midst of intense “atmospheric river” storm events that are quickly and vastly changing our “water year” data. We began 2024 with improved water supplies compared to early 2023, but the forecasted and hoped for El Niño conditions were slow to materialize. They certainly have arrived: since the end of January, rainfall has increased to 71% of average in the Valley and snowpack has increased in California to 47% of the April 1 average.

Board of Directors Completes Strategic Planning Workshop

The District’s Board of Directors conducted a strategic planning workshop on Monday, January 22, 2024, at District headquarters. The District periodically conducts such short and long-range planning sessions to help guide all aspects of its operations. This year’s strategic planning workshop encompassed development of short and long-term action plans for operations and infrastructure, state and local water supply, member city relations, finances, and outreach/external affairs.

The District looks forward to finalizing the results from the workshop and the strategic plan will be posted on the District’s website when complete.




Operations Update


Earlier this year, the state announced State Water Project (SWP) allocations of 10% of contracted supplies for 2024 as winter rain, snow and the hoped-for wet El Niño weather conditions were slow to materialize. The state may increase or decrease the allocation amount as the year proceeds based on hydrological conditions.

State Water Project (SWP) allocations to state water contractors for 2023, such as SGVMWD, were increased to 100% of plan for the first time since 2006, helping stabilize water supplies statewide and in the San Gabriel Valley. Thus, the District was allocated 28,800 acre-feet of imported water in 2023 to deliver and use for replenishment of groundwater in the Main San Gabriel Basin. Some of the District’s allocation for 2023 will be carried over into 2024 as capacity to deliver and store water in the Basin was limited late in 2023 due to high volumes of water in the system.

allocation 2024

We are working closely with state and county water agencies to utilize available capacity in reservoirs, pipelines and spreading grounds to deliver the imported water. With water delivery capacity at times challenged by the abundance of stormwater runoff and snow melt throughout the state, scheduling deliveries is complicated and requires collaboration and smart water management with other water agencies in the Main San Gabriel Basin.

Imported water supplements local groundwater supplies in the Main San Gabriel Basin and Raymond Basin, the primary sources of water for the District’s member cities of Alhambra, Azusa, Monterey Park, and Sierra Madre.

In January, the District delivered 1,934 acre-feet (AF) of water to cyclic storage. Power generation in December 2023 was 225 MWh and 469 MWh in January 2024.  Three important facility maintenance projects remain in progress: the Hydro 24-inch Butterfly Valve Replacement Project; the San Gabriel Flow Control Structure 30-inch Ball Valve Replacement Project and Schedule I Pipeline Continuity Bonding and Corrosion Assessment Validation Project.



The Slow Start to the New

"Water Year" Has Been Replaced by a Series of Atmospheric River Events Producing Intense Precipitation Statewide and in the San Gabriel Valley

Jan 2024 dashboard
Dashboard February 2024

As this newsletter was being completed, the San Gabriel Valley and much of California were in the midst of intense “atmospheric river” storm events that are quickly and vastly changing our “water year” data. We began 2024 with improved water supplies compared to January 2023, but the forecasted El Niño conditions were slow to materialize. The graphs above show what a difference a month makes! In fact, since the February graph was completed, rainfall has increased to 71% of average in the Valley and snowpack has increased to 47% of the April 1 average.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the winter/early spring plays out and how 2024 compares to last year when we experienced the 10th wettest year since recordkeeping began 128 years ago.

One of the most important indicators for the San Gabriel Valley is local groundwater which improves more slowly due to the time it takes stormwater runoff to percolate down to groundwater levels. Our local groundwater levels have risen more than 40 feet since January 2023.

The Main San Gabriel Basin captured more than 95% of stormwater to supplement local groundwater supplies in the storm surge earlier this year, which is much different than other watersheds that convey the majority of their stormwater to the Pacific Ocean as a flood control measure. Data from Watermaster reveal that of the more than 500,000 acre-feet of stormwater captured this year, about 300,000 AF came from the San Gabriel River watershed.

We must remember we live in a region where most years are dry, we use more water than Mother Nature provides, infrastructure is aging, drought will return, and climate change makes the work of water planning and delivery challenging. We need to sustain our focus on investments in long-term water infrastructure and developing a long-term water conservation ethic. 

Groundwater in the Main San Gabriel Basin, the “Baldwin Park Key Well” is the indicator of local groundwater levels (see graph below – blue line includes cyclic storage; black line does not). As of February 1, 2024, the level stood at 221 feet above mean sea level, more than 40 feet higher than a year ago.

Prior to heavy precipitation and storms in early 2023, the Basin had experienced a steady decline in groundwater levels from a high of 212.5 feet above mean sea level in December 2019 and was trending downward toward the historic low of 169.4 recorded on November 21, 2018. One vertical foot is equivalent to about 8,000 acre-feet of groundwater in the Main Basin. Watermaster’s operating guidelines for replacement water or “safe yield” is between 200 and 250 feet above mean sea level. 

Note: About 80 percent of the Valley’s water supply is furnished by local groundwater, and the Valley imports about 20 percent of the water we use from northern California and the Colorado River. A 60 percent allocation is needed to meet the demand of our member cities for replacement water. Thus, in years where the allocation dips below that amount, we see the important role that water storage and water conservation play. Groundwater use accounts for 41% of California’s total water supply (80% in the San Gabriel Valley) on an average, annual basis, and as much as 58% in a critically dry year. About 85% of public water systems rely on groundwater as their primary supply. Of water diverted and pumped in California, about 80% is used by agriculture and 20% is used by cities and towns.

Imported Water – In April 2023, the California Department of Water Resources increased State Water Project allocations to State Water Contractors such as SGVMWD for 2023 to 100% for the first time since 2006. Those deliveries have been maximized as much as the delivery and storage “system” can handle, and some of the District’s allocation is being carried over into 2024. 

As presented earlier, the state has forecasted allocations at 10% of requested supplies for 2024. A final allocation plan is usually determined in May or June based on evolving hydrological conditions. Imported water is used to supplement local groundwater supplies in the Main San Gabriel Basin.

Note: Two-thirds of California’s water originates in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and flows through the Delta, a large inland river delta and estuary in northern California.

Local Rainfall – the LA County Department of Public Works (DPW) reports annual rainfall levels from October 1 to September 30 of each year. As of February 1, the DPW headquarters location in Alhambra had recorded over six inches of rain since October 1, 2023, when our new “water year” began, representing 33% of average, an increase from 13.2% of average on January 1. In just the first week of February, the Valley’s rainfall amount has risen to 12.73 inches, about 71% of average. We have a long way to go to match the last “water year” total of nearly 40 inches of precipitation (average annual rainfall at this location is 17.83 inches). The graph below shows both annual rainfall totals dating back to 1960, as well as the major drought cycles since then.

Drought Cycle Sept 2023

Statewide Snow Pack – With a wet January and a wet start to February, snowpack has risen to 33% of the April 1 “peak” and is poised to rise higher if current storms continue. Snowpack is measured from April 1 to March 31, a 12-month period. April 1 is usually the “high point” for snow accumulation each year.

Given above average reservoir levels, current storms and El Niño conditions, California needs to be prepared for both dry and flood conditions in the months ahead. 

Note: On average, the Sierra Nevada Mountains snowpack, which is a key source of water banked in reservoirs, supplies about 30% of California’s water needs as it melts in the spring and early summer, feeding reservoirs and the water table, resulting in groundwater. The snowpack is often referred to as California’s “frozen reservoir.”


Statewide Reservoir Levels – Statewide, as of December 31, 2023, (the latest statewide data available to us), reservoir levels were 117% of average and 65% of capacity. Most reservoirs in the state are above average. As of February 4, storage levels at Shasta Lake, the state’s largest reservoir, were 82% of capacity and 123% of the historical average for this date, and storage levels at Lake Oroville, the state’s second largest reservoir, were 76% of capacity and 130% of the historical average.

Locally, San Gabriel Reservoir was at 33% of capacity and 103% of average, and Cogswell Reservoir was at 9% of capacity and 39% of average. Lake Silverwood, which rests above San Bernardino and is adjacent to the start of the District’s Devil Canyon-Azusa Pipeline, is filled to about 92% of capacity and 109% of average. 

Note: Every winter, most areas need about 12 inches of rainfall before the ground is saturated enough to get large amounts of runoff into streams and reservoirs. California’s reservoirs generally hold enough water to go one dry year without impacts but begin to empty if a wet year does not follow.




Our popular irrigation system retrofit program continues to feature 1) a FREE irrigation system inspection; 2) replacement of an existing irrigation controller with a FREE, new programmed unit; and 3) FREE installation of new sprinkler nozzles on existing pop-up spray heads. In fiscal year 2022-2023, EcoTech performed 278 site assessments and 235 properties qualified. 261 weather-based “smart” controllers were installed, and 6,517 sprinkler nozzles were upgraded to water-efficient rotating nozzles. The approximate cost/value per landscape is $1,169. According to the EPA, replacing a clock-based controller to a WaterSense labeled weather-based controller can save an average property 7,600 gallons/year. Our projected water savings were 1,983,600 gallons of water for FY 22-23!

Funding is limited, so please review the informational flyer below and on our website and act as soon as possible. Residents in all our member cities may apply for the irrigation retrofit program by contacting our partner, EcoTech Services (866-308-8391 or ecotechservices.net). 

More Rebate Info Here




Water Saving Tips for the Winter Months

Cooler temperatures and winter storms are on their way! It’s still a good time to follow smart water-saving practices. Please consider three actions related to our precious water resource this winter. 

  • First, reset your irrigation controllers and systems to water less frequently and in smaller amounts as the weather is cooler, rainier and sunshine is not as intense. When it rains, turn off your watering system for a few days. 
  • Second, purchase a rain barrel that can capture stormwater for re-use around your property. If you purchase a rain barrel, the District will provide you a rebate of up to $35.
  • And third, plant California Native Plants and other drought-resistant vegetation to give your plants and their roots a head start before next year’s warmer spring and summer months (check our website for plant recommendations customized for each of our member cities: Alhambra, Azusa, Monterey Park and Sierra Madre).



Upcoming Event: Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival; Sunday, February 18, 2024

The District is a proud long time sponsor of the Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival hosted by the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce and the City of Alhambra. Come join us as we celebrate the Year of the Dragon.

2024 Speakers' Bureau and H2Owl Appearances

The District continues to support, sponsor and attend a variety of in-person community events. District representatives are available to make informational and educational presentations (in-person and virtually) at community and business meetings, city council and school board meetings.

Our presentations cover topics such as the role of the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District; explaining drought; the importance of local groundwater; local and state water supply conditions; the State Water Project and imported water; water conservation and future water supply solutions.

To request an in-person or virtual meeting or presentation with your group, please contact Evelyn Reyes, External Affairs Manager (626-969-7911 or ereyes@sgvmwd.com).


San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District www.sgvmwd.com

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