Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Hybrid Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM
Present: Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Greg Bradbard, Ken Coate, Heather Dyer, Louis Goodwin, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Pam Lanford, Bill Lemann, Darcy McNaboe, Miguel Mendoza, Dan Murphy, Catherine Pritchett, Karen Richmond, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Eric Ustation, Michael Wells, Ray Wolfe, Marisa Yeager and Frank Zabaleta.
Announcements: 1) Members were reminded that Inland Action will be collecting new and gently used books for the Inland Empire Children’s Book Project at the holiday party on December 9, 2021. 2)Inland Action is co-sponsoring a virtual seminar with Cathryn Rivera-Hernandez, Appointments Secretary to Governor Newsom, on Wednesday, December 8, from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm. The event is for non-profit, youth, business, and policy leaders with important information relevant to applying for appointments to State Boards and Commissions. For more information, please go to the News and Opportunities area on the Inland Action web site. 3) Congratulations were expressed to member Reggie Webb and his wife Rene who will receive honorary Doctorates from the Cal State University system.
Lowell King, Chair presiding.
Motion by K. Coate/Second by F. Zabaleta/Passed: Minutes from November 16 and November 23, 2021.
Motion by T. Harrison/Second by K. Scott/Passed: Approval of Michael Wells, CEO, new primary representative for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Redlands-Riverside
Motion by T. Harrison/Second by K. Coate/Passed: Approval of Randel Josserand, Chief Academic Officer, new primary representative for Real Journeys Academy.
T. Milford Harrison introduced Bob Tincher, Chief of Water Resources, Deputy Director, San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, who joined us in-person to discuss the drought and our water supply.
Formed under the Municipal Water District Act of 1911 the Valley District is a wholesale water agency that serves a 352 square miles area with almost 700,000 people; they are a State Water Contractor. We have been in a drought locally for the last 23 years but, because we have been proactive and made significant investments in our region, have avoided a crisis situation. We must, however, lead the next generation with the same kind of planning and continued investment to maintain water supply reliability.
Our location in the water shed is in large part why we are not as heavily impacted by the drought. Some 60% of the rain we get soaks into our watershed. Another major resource is water storage.
Meeting water demand starts in our own backyard with our local resources which include three large ground water basins. The Valley District is located at the top of the Santa Ana River Watershed that includes some of the largest streams (Santa Ana River, Lytle Creek and Mill Creek) additionally the District has one of the largest underground basins, the San Bernardino Basin, that is estimated to hold about 5,000,000 acre-feet of water. These underground basins (aquifers) are comprised of multiple layers of sand/gravel where water is held, and in between are layers of clay. Our underground storage space is greater than the entire State Water Project which serves some 30 million or more people in California. Currently all three of the basins are at 80% capacity which, after 23 years of drought, has us in a very good position.
Storage is just one component, but a diversified portfolio of strategies is used to achieve water reliability. We have avoided water rationing and mandatory cutbacks as the region has taken a different and proactive approach by investing in the State Water Project, relying on conservation, achieving stormwater capture, and water recycling.
The region’s investment in the State Water Project after bonds have been paid is $1 B, just to be connected to the project. Since 1972 we have imported almost 1million acre feet of water (1 acre foot of water will serve a family of five or an entire year). We need to continue our investment in the State Water Project for continued reliability for the future.
Two projects that need continued investment, support and advocacy are the Sites Reservoir and the Delta Conveyance. Our investment in these two projects will restore the lost return from our State Water Project investment
Sites Reservoir is a part of phase II of the State Water Project which is an environmentally beneficial, off-river reservoir that will capture excess water from major storms in the Sacramento area and save it for drier periods, helping California’s farms, businesses and cities continue to supply reliable water when other sources are low. Although subject to evaporation it remains a critical piece of the pie.
The Delta Conveyance (aka the Peripheral Canal) is intended to move the intakes for the State Water Project from the South Delta up to the North where it was originally envisioned. To save money it has been reduced to one tunnel but when moving large flows of water through a natural system it changes flow direction and causes issues with species. The Delta is a multivariable system that has a number of environmental stresses such as ammonia from the Sacramento wastewater plant and predator species like the striped bass who are eating the Delta Smelt. The Delta Conveyance system is needed and takes water under the Delta. It also protects us from levy failure and rising sea levels, which would cause salt water to infiltrate a freshwater system. The salt can be removed with a desalination process but is very costly.
Due to our increased water use efficiency more people can be served with less than the amount of water required a year ago. We will see more water recycling but need to continue our water conservation efforts ,as well.
Our regional support for water supply development has paid off and our region is positioned well for this and future droughts.
A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30 a.m.