Q: Where does AVEK’s water supply come from?
A: Melting snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Northern California produces runoff that fills lakes and rivers, including Lake Oroville, a reservoir in Butte County, formed by a dam which captures supplies from the Feather River.
Q: How does water from Northern California reach AVEK?
A: Through a water storage and delivery system comprised of reservoirs, aqueducts, power plants and pumping facilities that move water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to the San Luis Reservoir near Los Banos, along the California Aqueduct.
Q: What is the State Water Project and what is a State Water Project contractor?
A: The State Water Project is an engineering marvel – a user-financed venture – planned, constructed and operated by the California Department of Water Resources, which supplies water to more than 27 million people throughout the state via a system of reservoirs, aqueducts, power plants and pumping facilities that extends more than 700 miles or two-thirds the length of the state. It also irrigates 750,000 acres of farmland. Contractors are the 29 water supply agencies, including AVEK, that have the contractual right to pump water from the system for use by consumers within their service boundaries.
Q: What is the difference between a contractor’s entitlement and allocation?
A: Each contractor has an annual entitlement, the specific amount they can pump from the aqueduct at 100 percent, based on the agreement they entered with the Department of Water Resources (DWR). For AVEK, the third largest contractor, that’s 144,844 acre-feet. The allocation is a percent of the entitlement which DWR permits contractors to pump in any given year. In a wet year, that could be 60 or 70 percent. During a drought, it could be 5 percent.
Q: Why is AVEK called a water wholesaler and what does that mean?
A: AVEK is the conduit between DWR and a public water supplier such as Los Angeles County Waterworks District 40 which does not hold a contractual agreement with the Department of Water Resources. AVEK sells it allocation to customers like Waterworks District 40 as well as mutual water companies and industrial users.
Q: How many water treatment plants does AVEK own and operate?
A: Four – the Quartz Hill plant; the Rosamond plant; the Eastside plant; and the Acton plant/Palmdale Water District Intertie.
Q: Why is it necessary to treat drinking quality water?
A: Raw water supplies can become contaminated from a variety of sources such as sewage treatment plants that dump into a reservoir or industrial waste that empties into a lake in the aqueduct system or chemicals like pesticides and naturally occurring organisms produced from algal blooms. Contaminated drinking water left untreated can result in sickness and diseases including E. coli; Hepatitis A; and Giardia intestinalis.
Q: Why is water banking crucial?
A: Banking water ensures supplies for the future, which helps residents and businesses through a drought, natural disaster, or other interruption of supplies.
Q: Why do water rates increase periodically?
A: As with other commodities, rates rise in reaction to various factors like the cost of supplies going up – the chemicals used to treat water; a higher price of energy, the electricity used to move water; and the cost of bonds, money borrowed to fund construction projects as well as changes mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency.