2023 Drought and Water Supply Update
The San Gabriel Valley has begun a fourth consecutive year of drought and lower than desired water supplies at the state and local levels. The last major drought period began in 2014-2015 and lasted about 5 years. We reached a historic low groundwater level of 169.4 feet above mean sea level at the nearby Baldwin Park Key Well on November 18, 2019.
Groundwater levels then rose as high as 212 feet above mean sea level in January 2020, before a steady decline brought the level to 179.2 feet above mean level in December 2022. Those are very significant readings since groundwater comprises about 80 percent of the water we use in the San Gabriel Valley.
As pointed out in the District’s January 2023, July 2022 and January 2022 “Water Supply Conditions” dashboards (shown below) many of our key indicators – local rainfall, groundwater, reservoirs, snowfall and imported water deliveries – are trending downward. The combined effect is a “perfect storm” for our declining water supplies.
Some researchers believe the last drought never ended and that our region is actually more than two decades into a “mega-drought,” a hydrological event that is on par with the worst dry spells of the past millennium. In the big picture, given Southern California’s naturally warm and dry climate and the effects of climate change, we are either in drought, recovering from drought or preparing for the next drought. And droughts are getting more extreme due to climate change.
Drought is common, drought is normal and drought will recur…“it takes a long time to get into a drought and a long time to get out of a drought.” Fortunately, conservation works and is the most efficient and least expensive means of preserving our water supply.
We know you have questions about the drought…and the Valley’s water supply…and water conservation…and more. We’ve listened to you and have prepared answers for you in an easy-to-read “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) format. We provide questions and answers about a) drought in general, b) present drought conditions; c) the basics of our water supply in the San Gabriel Valley, and d) an introduction to the District’s water conservation programs. In addition, we provide links to a new source of drought and water supply information in the San Gabriel Valley, “The Waters That Connect Us” website, sponsored by the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster (www.thewaterthatconnectus.com).
Ensuring a safe and sustainable water supply in the San Gabriel Valley is the District’s mission and is critical to our health, environment and economy. We hope we can help you learn as much about our water resource as you do about other public policy issues such as education, transportation, health care, public safety, energy and foreign affairs. Residents will increasingly vote on important water policy matters at federal, state, county and municipal level so we will try to keep you informed and engaged in the water dialogue.
If you have another question, please submit it to us by email (email@example.com) or call 626-969-7911.