Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District
Where Solutions Flow
602 E. Huntington Drive, Suite B., Monrovia, CA, 91016 | (626) 443-2297

Press Releases

September 24, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

UPPER DISTRICT WINS TWO CONSECUTIVE AWARDS FOR  2015 WATER SMART CITY CHALLENGE

San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments; California Special Districts Association Honors UD

MONROVIA, CA – The Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (Upper District) has won two consecutive awards for its first-of-its-kind water conservation program, The San Gabriel Valley Water Smart City Challenge. The Upper District announced today that it has received the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments 2015 Sustainability Award and the California Special Districts Association Excellence in Outreach Award.

“We are extremely proud of our efforts to partner with our cities, and we are honored to be recognized by these two esteemed agencies,” said Michael Touhey, Board President of Upper District. “A lot of planning, discipline and hard work goes into our partnerships with our cities, and I’m pleased that these efforts have been recognized. These awards are especially extraordinary because it recognizes innovation during this historic drought.”

The SGVCG Sustainability Award is for “an agency – a SGVCOG member agency or a partner agency – for a project or program that exemplifies sustainability in the areas of water, energy, solid waste, open space, or air quality,” according to the Council’s website. The Upper District will receive the second award during the CSDA conference in Monterey on Sept. 24th.

Both awards recognize Upper District’s San Gabriel Valley Water Smart City Challenge, which called upon all 18 cities within Upper District’s service territory to lead by example and adopt best practices for water conservation. In response to Governor Jerry Brown’s emergency drought declaration in January 2014, Upper District’s Board of Directors unveiled the creative public outreach campaign that utilized existing conservation programs with innovative outreach components that encouraged cities to promote drought awareness to their residents.

“This drought is serious and we all need to be as innovative and cooperative as possible,” Touhey said. “The Water Smart City Challenge is a shining example of a local water district communicating and collaborating with their cities to promote drought awareness to their communities.”

The Upper District awarded top honors in the Water Smart City Challenge to the cities of Azusa, Rosemead, and West Covina, and each received a $50,000 grant towards a sustainable watershed project. But across the district, the program yielded quantifiable and sustainable water savings, a more educated and engaged public and a model for other municipalities, districts and states.

Since implementing the challenge, rebates paid to residents in Upper District’s service territory increased by almost 1,100%. In fulfilling the challenge requirements, 1,200 free high efficiency toilets were distributed at city events and nine cities hosted gardening classes for their residents. Twenty-six large landscape surveys were completed at various city parks and facilities.  Of these sites, 19 were retrofitted with an annual water savings of 160 acre feet. Three cities passed low-impact development storm water ordinances; five cities adopted model water conservation ordinances and 24 city councilmembers and 26 city staff were educated through a variety of Upper District’s water-related forums and events.  All told, these conservation efforts will save over 350 acre feet a year, that’s over 113 million gallons of water annually.

The challenge encouraged cities to: bring awareness of the drought to their residents; seek a citywide water use reduction; adopt city policies that contribute to the overall sustainability of the San Gabriel River Watershed; and promote conservation and water-saving rebates for businesses and residents via the Southland’s regional rebate program: www.socalwatersmart.com.  In addition to promoting water-saving rebates, participating cities engaged their residents on water conservation and drought awareness through city websites, PSAs, social media and newsletters; hosted high efficiency toilet giveaways with their water retailer; hosted drought-tolerant landscape classes for their residents; and approved municipal ordinances that addressed citywide water conservation standards.

Upper District’s mission is to provide a reliable, sustainable, diversified and affordable portfolio of high quality water supplies to the San Gabriel Valley; including water conservation, recycled water, storm water capture, storage, water transfers and imported water.  Upper District services nearly one million people in its 144 square mile service territory. Governed by a five member elected board of directors, Upper District is a member agency of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Annually, more than 78 billion gallons of water is used in Upper District’s service area.  For more information about Upper District, please visit our website www.upperdistrict.org or call 626-443-2297.

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Upper District Press Release:

June 22, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WATER CONSERVATION REIGNS IN THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY AS UPPER DISTRICT ANNOUNCES THE WINNERS OF THE 2015 WATER SMART CITY CHALLENGE

Azusa, Rosemead and West Covina Take Top Honors

MONROVIA, CA, — Three San Gabriel Valley cities will be honored Friday for winning the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District’s first-of-its-kind water conservation program, Water Smart City Challenge.  The cities of Azusa, Rosemead, and West Covina received the top honors and will each receive a $50,000 grant towards a sustainable watershed project from Upper District.

Upper District will be honoring the winners of the San Gabriel Valley Water Smart City Challenge at an awards luncheon featuring district board members, city officials and state legislators, on July 24, 2015, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Doubletree Hilton in Monrovia.

In addition, South El Monte, Temple City, Glendora and South Pasadena also will be recognized for completing the challenge and receive the title of San Gabriel Valley Water Smart City. Each of these cities will also receive a large landscape survey and retrofit grant for their city halls from Upper District.

In response to Governor Jerry Brown’s emergency drought declaration in January 2014, Upper District’s Board of Directors unveiled a creative public outreach campaign that utilized existing conservation programs with innovative outreach components that encouraged cities to promote drought awareness to their residents. The San Gabriel Valley Water Smart City Challenge called upon all 18 cities within Upper District’s service territory to lead by example and adopt best practices for water conservation.

“Congratulations to the top three winners! The leadership displayed by our cities in promoting drought awareness was truly outstanding,” stated Michael Touhey, Board President of Upper District.  “This unprecedented drought could not be more serious and our region is on the cutting edge for utilizing creative measures can be impact change at the local level.”

Upon announcing the program in June 2014, twelve cities within Upper District’s service territory eagerly signed up to fulfill eight out of the twelve challenge requirements. The requirements encouraged cities to: bring awareness of the drought to their residents; seek a citywide water use reduction; adopt city policies that contribute to the overall sustainability of the San Gabriel River Watershed; and promote conservation and water-saving rebates for businesses and residents via the Southland’s regional rebate program: www.socalwatersmart.com

In addition to promoting water-saving rebates, participating cities engaged their residents on water conservation and drought awareness through city websites, PSAs, social media and newsletters; hosted high efficiency toilet giveaways with their water retailer; hosted drought-tolerant landscape classes for their residents; and approved municipal ordinances that addressed citywide water conservation standards.

Since implementing the challenge, rebates paid to residents in Upper District’s service territory increased by almost 1,100%. In fulfilling the challenge requirements, 1,200 free high efficiency toilets were distributed at city events and nine cities hosted gardening classes for their residents. Three cities passed low-impact development storm water ordinances; five cities adopted model water conservation ordinances and 24 city councilmembers and 26 city staff were educated through a variety of Upper District’s water-related forums and events.

“In partnering with our cities, we promoted water rebates and drought awareness throughout the San Gabriel Valley,” stated Touhey.  “The rebate numbers for our region are higher than we predicted and it’s in large part due to the success of the program and positive relationships we have maintained with our cities. Our Water Smart Cities have set the standard for other cities to follow and hopefully inspire them to actively partner with their local water districts in promoting drought awareness to their communities.”

Upper District’s mission is to provide a reliable, sustainable, diversified and affordable portfolio of high quality water supplies to the San Gabriel Valley; including water conservation, recycled water, storm water capture, storage, water transfers and imported water.  Upper District services nearly one million people in its 144 square mile service territory. Governed by a five member elected board of directors, Upper District is a member agency of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Annually, more than 78 billion gallons of water is used in Upper District’s service area.  For more information about Upper District, please visit our website www.upperdistrict.org or call 626-443-2297.

Who:                Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District

What:               Luncheon honoring the San Gabriel Valley Water Smart City Challenge award winners. The cities of Azusa, Rosemead, and West Covina took top prize and will each be awarded a $50,000 grant towards a sustainable watershed project from Upper District. South El Monte, Temple City, Glendora, and South Pasadena will also be recognized.

When:              Friday, July 24, 2015 from noon to 2 p.m.

Where:                         Doubletree Hilton in Monrovia, CA

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Download Press Release as PDF: SGV WSC Announcement 7 23 15

Upper District Press Release:

May 22, 2015 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MONROVIA, CA, — Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (Upper District) is pleased to announce it was awarded a $1 million grant from the United States Bureau of Reclamation. The grant is part of the federal government’s continued efforts to bring drought relief to the western states by recently appropriating $50 million to the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation to help improve water efficiency and conservation.

“We are pleased to have received this grant from the Bureau of Reclamation” stated Upper District Board President Michael Touhey. “These funds will continue the efforts of our large landscape survey and retrofit program that has helped save over 11 million gallons of water in the last fiscal year alone.”

Initiated in 2013, Upper District’s Large Landscape Survey and Retrofit Program offers free in-depth water use surveys to commercial, industrial and institutional customers that have large landscaped areas. These surveys examine a site’s existing irrigation system including its irrigation controllers, valves, sprinkler heads, and vegetation. The survey identifies any needed system repairs and irrigation efficiency improvements. Proposed retrofits/improvements include replacing broken pipes and broken sprinkler heads and installing weather-based irrigation controllers, soil moisture sensor systems, and high efficiency spray nozzles. Over 80 sites have been surveyed so far with a significant number also receiving substantial irrigation system improvements.

“Given the impacts of this unprecedented four year drought, the federal government’s support for water conservation improvement projects could not come at a better time,” stated Director Touhey. “Every acre-foot of water conserved directly becomes an acre-foot of water that is now available for other uses.”

Entering its third phase of implementation, the Large Landscape Survey and Retrofit program is expected to result in an annual water savings of 763 acre-feet, which will help reduce Upper District’s reliance on the imported water supplies from the drought-stricken Colorado River and Bay-Delta systems.

The $1 million grant is funded by the Bureau of Reclamation’s sustainable water initiative – the WaterSMART program. Since its establishment in 2010, WaterSMART has provided approximately $250 million in competitively-awarded grants to non-federal partners, including tribes, water districts, municipalities and universities. According to WaterSMART, these investments have conserved enough water to meet the demand of more than 3.8 million people.

Upper District’s mission is to provide a reliable, sustainable, diversified and affordable portfolio of high quality water supplies to the San Gabriel Valley; including water conservation, recycled water, storm water capture, storage, water transfers and imported water. Upper District services nearly one million people in its 144 square mile service territory. Governed by a five member elected board of directors, Upper District is a member agency of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Annually, more than 78 billion gallons of water is used in Upper District’s service area. For more information about Upper District, please visit our website www.upperdistrict.org or call 626-443-2297.
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