The San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency has taken a huge step in assuring a prosperous future for the region by approving a water supply agreement with the Antelope Valley East Kern Water Agency (AVEK). The agreement provides for an additional 1700 acre-feet of water for a period of twenty years, with a possible renewal for an additional 20 years. The water will serve between 3000 and 5000 homes per year, depending on home and lot size. “We have been working on securing additional supplies for several years now, and we were fortunate to be able to procure this 100% reliable water supply” said Board President David Fenn, a Beaumont real estate broker.
The water originally belonged to a farming interest in Kern County. It is available even in dry years. AVEK acquired it last year from CV communities, a Kern County developer. The Pass Agency approached AVEK earlier this year to determine its interest in a long-term lease.
“SGPWA showed real leadership in their role as a regional water agency whose responsibility is water supply reliability for their constituents” noted Doug Headrick, General Manager of the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, another regional water supplier. The water will improve reliability of the existing water supply, as well as provide additional supplies that could be used to serve future development.
Pass Agency customers are pleased with the action. “The Pass Agency is working hard to ensure water reliability for all of its residents. This new agreement is proof of the Agency’s dedication and will help to guarantee our water supply in the future” said Daniel Slawson, President of the Beaumont Cherry Valley Water District, the Pass Agency’s largest customer.
The Agency Board must still determine how to finance the additional supplies. They will hold a public workshop to discuss the funding issue in July.
Additional water supplies, especially surface water supplies, are going to become increasingly important in the future as the State’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is implemented. The law, passed by the legislature in 2014, provides that plans be in place by 2022 for most groundwater basins in the state to be sustainable. In effect, the law will allow less pumping of groundwater in the future, which means more use of surface water to meet growing statewide water demands.
The growing Pass area will need additional supplies, even with this acquisition. “This is the first of many water deals that we will be making over the next couple of years” said President Fenn. “We are already looking down the road to procure more supplies. Our 2015 urban water management plan identified the need, and now it is our job to go out and obtain those supplies for our customers.”
The San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency is a regional water wholesaler and State Water Contractor based in Beaumont. It serves imported water to retail water purveyors from Calimesa to Cabazon, a growing area of over 200 square miles with nearly 100,000 residents.