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Water Wise and Energy Smart
By: Angela Amirkhanian

Stop and take a moment to think about life without water. Life without water faucets, showerheads and toilets. No water to drink, cook or clean with.

We often take water for granted because of the easy access we have to one of the most precious recourses in the world. We often forget that water is life.

Community managed water and power departments strive to provide reliable and sustainable electric and water services. These utilities strive to supply safe, clean and reliable water; and conserve available recourses.

The following is the input of executives from some of the largest entities in our region, on water supply, rates and water and energy conservation for your business and home.

Glendale Water and Power
Steve Zurn
General Manager

Glendale Water and Power District’s water quality continues to meet and exceed requirements set by state and federal safety standards.  To sustain water quality and reliability, the water quality staff conducts thousands of sample tests to ensure that water quality meets all standards each year.  Water sampling and testing is done on a regular basis throughout the City. Staff reports the results to the State Health Department on a monthly basis.

In 2009, the State of California was in a water shortage and utilities were asked to implement water conservation measures in order to address the water shortage and pumping restrictions set forth by the State. Glendale declared mandatory water conservation on August 11, 2009 and asked customers to cut back their water usage by 10%. When mandatory water conservation was lifted in 2010 our customers saved over 18% water during the shortage.

The city’s Water Conservation Ordinance contains a section entitled "No Water Waste Policy." To secure water supply for the future, this policy consists of 14 water use restrictions that are in effect at all times. In times of mandatory water conservation there are different steps in the conservation ordinance that are activated, and call for certain percentage cutbacks

Glendale Water and Power offers various incentive programs that are available to businesses and consumers.

Business Programs: The Large Business Incentives Program offers incentives for medium and large businesses to complete pre-approved energy audits and energy saving projects. Rebates for approved retrofit projects are limited to 20% of installation cost. The Smart Business Energy Saving Upgrade Program provides small businesses $2,000 in free energy upgrades. The Smart Business AC Tune-Ups Program help small business customers save energy by ensuring their air conditioning systems are functioning at the optimal level. The SoCal Water Smart Program offers rebates to businesses, industries and institutions for several water-efficient technologies to help them lower water and sewer bills, reduce energy costs and address environmental impact. 

Residential Programs: The Smart Home AC Tune-Ups Program helps customers save energy by ensuring their HVAC systems are functioning at the optimal level. The Smart Home Energy and Water Saving Rebate Program helps customers save money on energy and water bills by offering rebates on eligible products. The Solar Solutions Program provides incentives to customers to promote the installation of grid-connected solar photovoltaic systems. The Tree Power Program helps eligible customers save energy by offering up to three free shade trees.

Low-Income Programs: Utility Users Tax Exemption (UUTE), available to seniors and disabled individuals. Guardian provides monthly electronic bill discounts for users of approved medical equipment. Helping Hand ensures customers continue electric service by providing up to $150 in one-time GWP bill payment or deposit assistance. Glendale Care provides a $10.00 monthly discount.

Follow GWP on Twitter @COGwaterpower or on Facebook at Glendalewaterandpower

Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District
Dr. Anthony R. Fellow
President, Board of Directors

Diverse Sources Lead to a More Reliable and Less Expensive Water Supply. Water supply has always been a contentious topic of discussion in California.  The conversation is often either driven directly by drought or by the major pending investments to help manage supplies through droughts. Water issues make for a steady stream of headlines.  Most recently, Governor Brown’s ambitious and necessary plan to fix the ailing Sacramento/San Francisco Bay-Delta, the source of water for more than 25 million Californians, is currently making many of these headlines.  Another constant - these issues always seem a bit distant from the San Gabriel Valley.

When it comes to water supply, the San Gabriel Valley is fortunately in a somewhat more favorable position compared to other regions in Southern California. We rely mostly on local groundwater supplies and less so on imported water.  This helps keep the cost of the water supply down. The average single-family household water bill in the San Gabriel Valley is less than areas that are almost entirely reliant on imported water.  Rather than directly using imported supplies from Northern California or the Colorado River to fulfill all our daily water needs, we instead use imported water to recharge the local groundwater basin.   We depend on imported water for about 20 percent of the annual average water use.  

However, this means we need to pay particular attention to managing our groundwater in a way that allows us to ride out any shortage of local precipitation or interruption in imported water supplies intended to replenish the groundwater basin.   Depending on the damage to major infrastructure, a major earthquake alone could disrupt deliveries of imported water for 2-3 years.

Today, the Upper District is moving ahead with plans that reduce our future reliance on imported water.   We simply cannot ignore the risks to our water supply posed by prolonged droughts, earthquakes, climate change and regulatory restrictions on pumping from the Bay-Delta.   Because of all these challenges, imported water has become significantly more expensive over the past decade.  

By having a “savings account” of water stored underground and diversifying into additional water conservation, storm water capture and recycled water supply opportunities, we take greater local control of our water supply future.   To every practical degree, if we can make a good investment in a local water supply, which also costs less than what imported water does, we should do it.  We need to look at this issue just like we would with our own financial investments. The Upper District is confident that these efforts will increase our ability to provide a reliable water supply well into the future.

Pasadena Water and Power
Phyllis E. Currie
General Manager

The City of Pasadena and neighboring communities including portions of Altadena, East Pasadena, and San Gabriel, receive water supply from Pasadena Water and Power. PWP has taken a proactive step to lead as a model water agency and developed a Water Integrated Resources Plan using an open, participatory planning process with input from stakeholders and the public at large.  The Water Integrated Resources Plan (WIRP) provides achievable water resource strategies to meet current and future water needs.  To secure water supply in the future PWP has begun implementing pieces of the WIRP including aggressive water conservation efforts, increased local water storage for groundwater recharge, design of a distribution system for recycled water from the LA-Glendale water reclamation plant, groundwater storage of imported water, and more. 

Pasadena Water and Power has 16 active wells that feed groundwater into various reservoirs. There are 18 reservoirs throughout the city that hold well water and purchased water from the Metropolitan Water District. The water is disinfected and blended in the reservoir then distributed to the customers through a pipeline network of 502 miles of mains throughout the city.  PWP carefully monitors the water system’s infrastructure and plans for yearly repairs and upgrades to safeguard system reliability.

PWP strives to serve premier quality water from local resources.  To help achieve this goal, a new water treatment plant was brought online in 2011, reviving a local groundwater source that had not been used since 2002.  The Monk Hill Treatment Plant is designed to treat up to 7,000 gallons of groundwater per minute, removing perchlorate and volatile organic compounds to meet all regulatory standards for safe drinking water. The city of Pasadena worked closely with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), on the design and environmental and public health review processes of the state-of-the-art treatment plant.

To ensure Pasadena water is of the highest quality and meets all state and federal drinking water standards, PWP has a team of state certified field and laboratory personnel who sample and test the water every day of the year for over 170 different constituents. The water is tested with varying frequency at approximately 300 locations around the City. The amount of each constituent allowed in the water and the frequency with which we test for each constituent varies greatly and is regulated by the California Department of Public Health and by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Customers can review the PWP Annual Consumer Confidence Report on Water Quality at for more information on water testing and water quality guidelines.

In 2012, Pasadena Water and Power celebrated our 100th year of providing quality and reliable municipal water service to the City of Pasadena and its neighboring surroundings. The Water Department promises to continue its legacy of providing a safe and reliable water supply. Our unwavering focus to help our customers improve their quality of life while protecting the water resources is still our number one priority.

San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority
Kenneth R. Manning
Executive Director

Clean Groundwater is Vital to our Future The San Gabriel Valley has a tremendous asset in its underground aquifer.   A vast underground lake that has the capability of sustaining us through droughts and providing the water required during a natural disaster.  But it is a resource that is commonly forgotten by the general public.  If you drive along the 605 freeway and see water in the rock and gravel pits, that is not rainwater captured, it is actually the surface of the underground lake uncovered by the mining activity. 

As lucky as we are to have this resource, it isn’t in the best of health.  In the late 1970’s when technology improved to the point where we could test for contaminants in the aquifer, we discovered that manufacturing practices of the 1940’s through the 1970’s had jeopardized our future by dumping unwanted chemicals on the ground.  Those chemicals eventually made their way into the groundwater and we have been working nonstop to clean up the sites and groundwater so the next generation of valley residents is not short changed.

Leading the way through the red tape and bureaucratic maze was the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority, an agency that was created for the sole purpose of coordinating and funding the efforts to restore this tremendous asset.   With the assistance of many partners, including local water retailers, the companies who caused the pollution and many past and current elected officials, we have made great strides in cleaning up the groundwater. 

Rest assured that during this whole process the water that you have piped to your home and business meets all state and federal water quality standards.  Also, you should know that all of the partners working together have made sure that the rate payer is not burdened with the cost of this effort. The nearly $650 million dollars spent so far on building and operating these state of the art facilities has been paid for with money from polluters along with some money from the state and federal government. 

This partnership was not built easily.  It took years of negotiations and lawsuits, but in the end the beneficiary are valley residents. The Water Quality Authority and its partners are committed to making sure this massive effort does not end until the job is complete; Until all the water in this massive underground lake is free of the harmful contaminates introduced by past generations.