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

News

July 24, 2017                      

MEDIA ADVISORY

 UPPER SAN GABRIEL VALLEY MWD HOSTS WATERSHED RESTORATION VOLUNTEER EVENT IN SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS

WHAT: The Watershed Restoration Program, hosted by the Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD and in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, helps to reduce the negative impacts of fire, invasive species and cultivate a healthy watershed. Volunteer efforts play a vital role in the survival and prosperity of regional watersheds and open space. The program works toward restoring and preserving the watershed in the San Gabriel Mountains, which directly impacts the local groundwater supply.

WHEN: Saturday, July 29, 2017 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm.

WHERE: Volunteers will meet at the San Gabriel Canyon Environmental Education Center on Highway 39 (across from the Rincon Fire Station).

PARTICIPANTS: Residents and community members of all ages are invited to help with watershed restoration efforts. Students are eligible to earn community service hours for their participation. Adult supervision of children is required. Participants should plan to wear sturdy non-skid closed-toe shoes, drinking water, and snack. Outdoor work/garden gloves are also suggested. Participants must provide their own transportation for the duration of the event. Dropping off or leaving participants without transportation during the event is not permitted.

SITE CONTACT:

Elena Layugan, cell: (909) 921-5815

David Orozco, USDA Forest Service, (626) 335-1251

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 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.

July 24, 2017

PHOTO ADVISORY

UPPER DISTRICT ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF THE 2017 “WATER IS LIFE” STUDENT ART CONTEST

MONROVIA, CA, — On July 18, 2017, the Board of Directors for the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (Upper District) honored 20 San Gabriel Valley students who submitted award-winning entries to Upper District’s annual “Water is Life,” student art contest.

Upper District’s “Water is Life” art contest helps raise water conservation awareness while educating students on the importance of preserving our most precious natural resource. This year, Upper District received a total of 123 entries from 30 schools located across the district’s service territory. All eligible art entries were displayed at Upper District to allow Board members, staff, and members of the public the opportunity to vote by ballot for their top choices in each student category. Art contest entries are divided into four award categories: Kindergarten – 2nd grades, 3rd – 5th grades, 6th – 8th grades, and 9th -12th grades. Within each of these award categories, the art entries with the highest votes are designated as 1st through 5th place.

The top 5 student artists within each of the four grade-level categories and their families were invited to last Tuesday’s Board meeting, where each winning student was presented with a congratulatory certificate. Upper District’s winning entries will now go on to compete in the “Water is Life” student art contest hosted by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The winners of Metropolitan’s contest are usually announced in late autumn. The winners of Upper District’s 2017 “Water is Life” art contest are as follows:

K- 2nd Grades
 1st Place: Fiana Lee, 2nd grade, LA Art Academy
 2nd Place: Angie Li, 1st grade, LA Art Academy
 3rd Place: Weihao Luo, 1st grade, LA Art Academy
 4th Place: Claire Heyler-Erickson, 2nd grade, Marengo Elementary School
 5th Place: April Vong, 1st grade, LA Art Academy

3rd – 5th Grades
 1st Place: Sunny Xu, 3rd grade, LA Art Academy
 2nd Place: Lena Huang, 5th grade, LA Art Academy
 3rd Place: Cathy Jialu Gu, 5th grade, LA Art Academy
 4th Place: Eric Gu, 3rd grade, LA Art Academy
 5th Place: Belle Bao, 5th grade, Christ Lutheran School

6th – 8th Grades
 1st Place: Shang Ying Wu, 6th grade, LA Art Academy
 2nd Place: Iris Xu, 6th grade, LA Art Academy
 3rd Place: Bianca Villeda, 7th grade, Madrid Middle School
 4th Place: Nikki Ma, 8th Place, Madrid Middle School
 5th Place: Savannary Phan, 8th grade, Sierra Vista Middle School

9th – 12th Grades
 1st Place: Emily Chan-Diaz, 9th grade, Rosemead High School
 2nd Place: Setthinan Joy Siridachanon, 12th grade, Rosemead High School
 3rd Place: Natalie Ayala, 11th grade, La Puente High School
 4th Place: Natalia Jacobo, 9th grade, La Puente High School
 5th Place: Manuel Ponce, 10th grade, La Puente High School

(Photo Caption: Upper District Board of Directors, Alfonso Contreras, Bryan Urias, Ed Chavez, Dr. Anthony Fellow and Charles Trevino with the winners of the 2017 “Water is Life” art contest.)

(Photo Caption: Families of the 2017 “Water is Life” art contest, gather at Upper District’s Board of Directors meeting for the “Water is Life” awards ceremony.)

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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.

89.3 KPCC

By Sharon McNary

January 23, 2017

1.26.17

Los Angeles County storm water capture systems have shunted enough water from rain-swollen rivers into percolation ponds this rain season to serve the annual water needs of about a half-million people, an official said Monday.

More than 22 billion gallons of storm water has been collected since mid-October  along the San Gabriel and Los Angeles rivers, said Steven Frasher, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Public Works Department.

However, most of the water that falls on the region is still lost to the Pacific, partly because the kinds of investments made over the years in spreading grounds along the San Gabriel River have been lagging along the Los Angeles River, said Mark Gold of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

“You see a storm year like this and you see all the water that ends up going through the LA River and Ballona Creek and Dominguez Channel, and you say, “Wow. That could have been our water supply for the next year,” Gold said.

“I think this storm here has really demonstrated where the shortcomings are in our local water system,” Gold said. “We’ve barely scratched the surface on what we can do in the eastern San Fernando Valley in trying to capture more of that precious rainfall from the sky and have it actually infiltrate into the ground and get into our groundwater supply.”

Why do we lose so much rain water?

The flood control system was initially built to speed water to the ocean to avoid damage to communities along the rivers during heavy rain storms. So it took decades for the region to adapt to the idea of capturing that water for later use.

Every few decades from the first settlements to early 1900s, big rainstorms would cause flooding and destruction along the rivers that run through Los Angeles and surrounding counties. And while local governments raised some money to channelize parts of the river and build dams,  the 1938 flood became was a turning point.

In late February and early March 1938, record-setting rain caused a disastrous flood on the Los Angeles River. Homes were swept away, bridges torn out. That’s back when the L.A. River was a natural river.

After that storm, Congress authorized federal money to build a new system designed to flush stormwater out to the Pacific as fast as possible.  The Los Angeles and the San Gabriel rivers were  mostly lined with concrete.  Orange County’s Santa Ana River and some of its larger creeks also were lined for much of their reach. That system was mostly built out by 1960.

In recent decades, as the region has struggled through repeated droughts, the sight of all that water being lost to the Pacific Ocean has motivated water agencies to install more projects to capture storm runoff. A network of spreading grounds has been built up along the region’s rivers. In some places, rubber dams are used to redirect the flow of water.

However, some of these groundwater aquifer recharge projects go back to the late 1930s, like one along the Rio Hondo tributary of the Los Angeles River. They’ve become more common in the past two decades.

Can those spreading grounds absorb all this rain?

Nope. There’s just too much rain coming down at once for the spreading grounds to soak up. That’s where the dams come in.

High up in the San Gabriel  Mountains is a series of dams that capture and control rainwater falling on the slopes. The Morris, San Gabriel and Cogswell dams are visible alongside Highway 39 above Azusa. Farther down in the San Gabriel Valley are the Santa Fe and Whittier Narrows dams.

And the water in those dams is parceled out to the spreading grounds a bit at a time over many months.

How much rain is being saved this way?

L.A. County Flood Control estimates that from the latest storm, they were able store 433 million gallons of stormwater. That’s about 656 Olympic-size pools of water, about enough to serve the water needs of 10,600 people a year.

Since the rainy season started in mid-October, the spreading grounds have saved enough water to serve more than a half-million residents, Frasher said.

All that rain takes months or years to percolate down through layers of soil and rock to filter into the groundwater where it can be pumped out.

How else are we hanging onto all this rain?

There are some pretty remarkable water saving projects in the works.

One in Sun Valley is a series of human-made caverns built underneath a park’s baseball field. The water from flood-prone Sun Valley flows to the park and drains into these catacombs to be filtered into the groundwater. More projects like these are being built across the region.

What still needs to be done?

Where local history is full of mega-projects like large dams and river-fed groundwater recharge fields covering hundreds of acres, others see the potential water supply that could come from micro-projects like residential rooftop water capture systems put on millions of homes and businesses.

“Right now there are a number of these missed opportunities when we get these wonderful rainstorms,” said Cindy Montanez, CEO of Treepeople. The water advocacy nonprofit is collaborating in a project with the large local water utilities including Los Angeles DWP to make such projects achievable.

“The Trump administration has said they want to spend more on water infrastructure. We hope that means that our front yards and distributed storm water will be seen as an opportunity for storm water capture, and not just build big dams that are more difficult to site in California,” Montanez said.

She also hopes the region can get new federal funding to clean pollution from underground water aquifers in the San Fernando Valley, making them more suitable for storing large amounts of stormwater.

Gold, the UCLA sustainability expert, said he’d like to see the state put money toward aquifer cleanup and other stormwater storage projects from the $7.5 billion that voters approved for water projects in Prop 1. Like Montanez, Gold also sees potential for more groundwater recharge with “green streets” designs that use porous ground coverings to soak water into the earth.

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