Water, Water Everywhere, Except when It’s Dry

The continual rain over the past few days produced about three inches of rain.

About 1.8 inches of rain fell on January 14, and the following two days about another 1.2 inches of rain fell, as measured in the rain gauge on Radcliffe Avenue. This brings the Palisades current total to about 16 inches.

The rain season is typically measured from July 1 through June 30 and this area’s annual rainfall is 13.78 inches of rain. This means Pacific Palisades is more than two inches above average, with several months left to add to that total.

The late Ted Mackie kept track of rainfall in Pacific Palisades. His records spanned 73 years. The rainfall varies from the least recorded in that time period, 4.11 inches of rain in 2006-07, to the wettest year 42.60 inches in 1997-98.

Since rainfall is so variable in Southern California, residents wonder why more water infrastructure projects have not been completed.

In 2014, voters approved Proposition 1, a water bond that would have funded water storage projects. Eight years later, not one project has started construction.

The Sites Reservoir, which would hold 2-million-acre feet of water, remains tied up in litigation

According to a January 12 Daily News piece (“Harvesting the Deluge is an Opportunity for Californians”), the author wrote “In the first nine days of 2023, more than 1.5-million-acre feet of runoff has flowed through the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, but only 138,000-acre feet has been diverted by state and federal pumps into the aqueducts that delivers water to Southern California.”

The author asks why levees in the Delta region are failing because of flooding, and shouldn’t it be possible to use existing infrastructure to the south to deplete storage facilities?

A recent study by the Pacific Institute claimed that up to 3-million-acre feet of storm runoff can be “harvested” and treated every year, which is an amount equal to nearly 50 percent of California’s total urban water demand.

What’s the hold up for water infrastructure in California? That would be a question for the politicians.

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