AV Water Storage Study Continues | New

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PALMDALE – The Antelope Valley State Water Contractors Association is continuing a study to determine the feasibility of two different methods of storing excess State Water Project water from the basement of the California Aqueduct near Big Rock Creek, southeast of Palmdale.

A pilot study of the original plan – to recharge water directly into the aquifer through the creek bed – conducted in 2019-2020 proved unfeasible, as the ground did not absorb water quickly enough to sustain it. prevent it from spilling downstream where it crossed and flooded East Avenue T.

Instead, the Association is considering either using culverts under T and S Avenues to direct the water without flooding the roads, or channeling the water into recharge ponds, located east of the bed. of the creek.

Each alternative had trade-offs in recharge capacity, environmental permit requirements, and cost.

The cheapest alternative is to build culverts, with an estimated construction cost of between $190,000 and $260,000, Paul Chau of consulting firm Kennedy Jenks told Association members Thursday.

This alternative, however, has a recharge capacity of only about 2,200 acre-feet per year. An acre-foot equals 325,851 gallons, or approximately the amount of water a typical Antelope Valley household used in a year, before recent droughts reduced usage.

The second alternative, building recharge basins, is more expensive, but it offers a much higher recharge capacity.

The study of this alternative also looks at two options. The first is a series of somewhat triangular basins, northwest of Crystalaire Country Club, covering about 20 acres and capable of about 15,000 acre-feet of recharge per year, Chau said.

This option is the closest of the two to connecting to the aqueduct where the water would be obtained, therefore requiring less piping, he said.

The estimated cost of this option is $2.1 million.

The second option is an area of ​​L-shaped basins, further north and east, covering just over 25 acres and capable of recharging 18,360 acre-feet per year.

Because it’s located farther from the turnout and requires more pipelines, the estimated cost for this option is $2.4 million, Chau said.

Cost estimates for both options are lower than originally thought, at around $10 million, he said.

So far, the predicted recharge capacity of these basins is based on assumptions. The ongoing feasibility study will then conduct tests in the area to better characterize the rates at which water seeps into the ground, Chau said.

As the Big Rock Creek project was originally looking for a recharge capacity of 20,000 acre-feet per year, it seems the alternative of using recharge ponds best meets that goal, he said. .

Association Board Chairman Ron Parris suggested combining the two recharge pond options to see what the costs would be, as it may be cheaper to combine some of the infrastructure, while still increasing capacity.

Because the recharge ponds are outside the creek bed itself, the environmental permitting process should be easier, although it may be complicated by the presence of Joshua trees in some areas, a said Chau.

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