On May 16, 2017, the State Water Resources Quality Control Board approved an amendment to the Los Angeles Water Quality Control Plan (Basin Plan) to incorporate Salt and Nutrient Management Measures for the Upper Santa Clara River Basin. The measures are a part of a Salt and Nutrient Management Plan (SNMP) that had been under development for the past six years. Incorporating these measures is a significant step to facilitate the implementation of planned recycled water and other projects in the Santa Clarita Valley (SCV).
The Upper Santa Clara River Basin underlies the SCV, and includes two aquifers used for groundwater production: the Alluvial Aquifer and the Saugus Formation.
The SNMP determines water quality levels of various salts and nutrients in the basin determined by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board to be protective of beneficial uses such as drinking water supplies, landscape irrigation and industrial uses. It also determines assimilative capacity to add additional salts and nutrients while remaining within basin standards.
Incorporating the salt and nutrient management measures into the Basin Plan will expedite the permitting process for recycled water projects. It will facilitate future recycled water projects, including projects currently being jointly pursued by CLWA and the water retailers.
The optimal use of recycled water is a basic part of planned, long‐term water supply for the SCV. CLWA, Newhall County Water District, Santa Clarita Water Division and Valencia Water Company jointly prepared the 2015 Urban Water Management Plan that foresees recycled water supplies increasing from 450 acre-feet per year to about 10,000 acre-feet per year.
In 2009, the State Water Resources Control Board established the Recycled Water Policy (Policy). The Policy recognizes the potential for increased salt and nutrient loading into groundwater basins as a result of increased recycled water use, and therefore, requires the development of regional SNMPs for each groundwater basin in California.
The SNMP ensures that all water management practices, including the use of recycled water, are consistent with water quality objectives. It is also intended to provide a framework for water management practices to ensure protection of beneficial uses and allow for the sustainability of groundwater resources consistent with the Basin Plan.
In 2011, the collaborative process of developing the SNMP began with stakeholders creating a SNMP Task Force. The Task Force provided technical assistance. The SNMP analyzed several projects and the impact they may have on salt and nutrients in our groundwater supply. Projects included recycled water, conservation programs, chloride compliance and water reclamation plants. The SNMP concluded that, in general, implementation of these projects will have a net positive effect of reducing salt and nutrients in the SCV.
About the Salt and Nutrient Management Plan Task Force:
The Salt and Nutrient Management Plan Task Force is comprised of CLWA, City of Santa Clarita, CLWA Santa Clarita Water Division, Los Angeles County Flood Control District, Newhall County Water District, San Gabriel & Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District and Valencia Water Company.
About the Castaic Lake Water Agency:
The Castaic Lake Water Agency is the Santa Clarita Valley’s public water wholesaler and operates the retail Santa Clarita Water Division, serving over 30,000 retail services. CLWA is one of 29 State Water Project contractors and receives water imported from northern California and Kern County through the California Aqueduct. CLWA operates two large surface water treatment plants, a groundwater treatment facility, three major pump stations, three water storage facilities and over 45 miles of large diameter transmission pipelines delivering water to four local water retailers. Our mission is to provide reliable, quality water at a reasonable cost to the Santa Clarita Valley. www.clwa.org