Just Released Reports Indicate Insufficient Water to Supply Water Trafficking Deal

An October 2011 report, just released from the Central Basin Watermaster, suggests that it will not be possible for La Habra Heights County Water District (LHHCWD) to Supply Rowland Water District (RWD) with the 2000 acre feet of water they would like under the proposed agreement between the two agencies.

The reason is that Orchard Dale Water District, a contractual partner of LHHCWD bought water rights to 147 acre feet of water in 2010, and leased 1300 acre feet of water rights in 2011. Orchard Dale uses LHHCWD facilities to get its water. Every acre foot of additional water that Orchard Dale pumps is one less available to Rowland Water, except during the 3 slow winter months.

While more water is being pumped out of the wells, the capability of the wells to pump water is declining.

The 2005 LHHCWD Master Plan Update stated that the 4 wells had lost 30% of their original design capacity and were then capable of pumping 5,540 gallons per minute.

Another just released document, the 2010 Civiltec Study of the potential for LHHCWD to provide water to RWD, shows that the wells could only pump 4,984 gallons per minute, a decline of about 11% in 5 years.

Just after the 2010 Civiltec report was issued, another well went out of production cutting pumping capacity by another 5%.

The 2010 Civiltec report indicates a marginal capability to supply Rowland with their desired 2000 acre feet of water under the most optimistic modeling, but the report shows that, considering system redundancy, the demand cannot be met without major system improvements.

The 2011 Watermaster report shows that Orchard Dale pumped 1000 acre feet more than 1100 acre feet the 2010 Civiltec report considered. Much of that would reduce the capability to supply Rowland Water District. Under the Civiltec modeling, using the actual 2011 pumping numbers, LHHCWD would be unable to supply RWD under even the most optimistic modeling.

The 3% System loss stated by the LHHCWD General Manager adds another 150 acre feet to the deficit.

The Civiltec report recommends drilling a new well, adding 300 and 75 horsepower pumps, and installing a new water pipe on Fullerton Rd, between East Rd and Kanola to provide system redundancy and correct some of the pressure deficiencies that would occur with the maximum desired water flows between La Habra Heights County Water District and Rowland Water District.

"Peak Hour" effects (which would typically be after hot summer days) reported by Civiltec could include noticable water pressure drops on several roads in the East Heights. The report assumed affected residences already have pressure boosting pumps installed.

Under "Maximum Day Demand" with fire flows three hydrants in the area of Fullerton Rd and East Rd would have low or negative pressures. Negative pressure suggests a suction condition, or backflow. If a fire engine hooked up to a negative pressure hydrant, rather than filling the fire engine, the hydrant could suck the water out of it. The study recommended rerouting water lines to the hydrants to mitigate the problem.

Water Board President Brad Cooke stated on multiple occasions "No changes to the existing water system would be needed" to serve Rowland Water District, however the 2010 report recommended the above system improvements and the 2011 Watermaster figures make those improvements even more necessary.

Under the draft Agreement, Rowland Water District will pay for installing a new pipeline to transport water to their facility, and a proportion of maintenance and repair costs. Nothing in the draft Agreement suggests that Rowland will pay to upgrade the system to maintain or provide needed redundancy. The Civiltec report states that the possible lack of redundant capacity may ultimately become a capital improvement project. Capital improvement projects are paid for by the ratepayers.

The LHHCWD Board used projected revenues from the most optimistic scenario for the current year budget. Without this revenue, the District operates at a deficit and would not have enough reserves to finance the recommended system upgrades and other system deficiencies that had been identified in the 2005 Master Plan.

A 2010 Master Plan referenced in the September 2010 Civiltec study as "currently completing", is not being released to the public by LHHCWD according to reports of a Water Board candidate who requested it.

California Water Code 1814, states that no more than 70% of unused capacity is considered available for "wheeling". The proposed agreement uses more than 70% of some of the unused capacities.

An interesting aspect of the proposed project is that the Civiltec Study shows a "Future Energy Recovery Facility" at RWD suggesting some type of electric generator powered by the water flowing to them. The vertical height of the water column is about 520 feet, very similar to that of Hoover Dam power plant which is 510 feet. The incoming water pressure will be 220 psi and RWD would like a constant flow of water which would provide a steady flow of generated electricity.

See the 2011 Central Basin WaterMaster Report - here
Do a word search for "Orchard Dale" or "La Habra Heights" to zero in on relevant information

Read the entire 2010 Civiltec study - here