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Skillful Water Planning Ensures Supplies

Despite the driest of landscapes in recent years resulting from an extreme drought, AVEK customers will have water.

May contain: nature, outdoors, hill, and countryside

AVEK’s Board members adopted the five-year 2020 Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP) at their meeting on Tuesday, August 24, a move that kept the Agency in compliance with requirements of the California Water Code, a ruling enacted by the state Legislature in its 1983-1984 session.

The Legislative ruling applies to urban water suppliers that serve more than 3,000 customers or provide upward of 3,000 acre-feet of water annually. Rob Morrow, an engineer at Water Systems Consulting, Inc., presented the UWMP to the Board, noting the document was based on expected population growth in AVEK’s State Water Project (SWP) service area. 

Projected population growth at an annual rate of 1.3% will increase from roughly 320,571 people in 2020 to 447,071 in 2045 using estimates from the Southern California Association of Governments and Kern County figures.

The document also included the 2021 Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP) describing steps AVEK has taken to secure supplies. This plan must be prepared every five years and presented to the California Department of Water Resources. The plan promotes coordination with local and regional stakeholders and supports long-term water supply and drought planning, providing a framework for conservation.

AVEK, through a consulting firm, released a public draft of the plan on May 25 and conducted a public hearing on June 8.

AVEK’s goal is to have enough storage in its water banks to meet customer demands through three consecutive years of a 10% allocation of the Agency’s Table A entitlement from the SWP. At the present time, AVEK has about 90,000 acre-feet of SWP supplies stored in its water banks for future use.

Availability of supplies from the SWP depend on rainfall, snowpack, runoff, and reservoir storage.

For multiple dry years, State Water Project availability is based on 1988 to 1992 simulated yield from the 2019 Department of Water Resources SWP Delivery Capacity Report, which estimated the following annual Table A allocation:

·         Year 1 (1988) – 12.3%

·         Year 2 (1989) – 32.2%

·         Year 3 (1990) – 13.3%

·         Year 4 (1991) – 25.6%

·         Year 5 (1992) – 18.0%

Similar to a single dry year, groundwater rights and non-SWP supplies are not impacted by an extended drought, and recovered imported supplies from the Agency’s water banks are used to meet remaining demands.

Additional recovery of imported supplies from the Agency’s groundwater banks would be available if the five-year drought continued. To meet customer demands during multiple dry years, without completion of the SNIP Phase II Project, AVEK will move supplies from the Westside Water Bank.

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