This report presents an evaluation of the long-term sustainability of existing groundwater management practices in the Santa Clarita Valley, located in northwestern Los Angeles County, California. The groundwater system in the Santa Clarita Valley is identified by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) as the Santa Clara River Valley Groundwater Basin, East Subbasin (Basin No. 4-4.07) and lies within the DWR-designated Upper Santa Clara River Hydrologic Area. Groundwater in the basin is pumped from a shallow Alluvial Aquifer and deeper groundwater resources that are present in an older, underlying unit called the Saugus Formation. Most groundwater pumping is by the local water purveyors (the Upper Basin Water Purveyors [herein referred to as the Purveyors1]) for municipal uses (in the range of approximately 23,000 to 28,000 acre-feet per year [AF/yr] in recent years), with some continuing pumping by private landowners, primarily for irrigation uses (approximately 15,000 to 16,000 AF/yr in recent years). The Purveyors also have access to other sources of water, including imported State Water Project (SWP) water, groundwater banking outside the basin, recycled water, short-term water exchanges, and dry-year water purchase programs (Luhdorff & Scalmanini Consulting Engineers [LSCE], 2005a). The water management practices of the Purveyors call for maximizing the use of Alluvial Aquifer and imported water during years of normal or above-normal availability of these supplies, and limiting the use of the Saugus Formation during these periods, then temporarily increasing Saugus Formation pumping during years when supplemental imported water supplies are significantly reduced because of drought conditions.
The evaluation of the Purveyors’ current groundwater management practices has been performed using a detailed numerical groundwater flow model of the basin. The model, called the Santa Clarita Valley Groundwater Model (Regional Model), simulates the occurrence and flow of groundwater, including its interaction with streams in the area. The Regional Model has been developed for the Purveyors as a tool for the analysis of groundwater management options in the context of future water demands and water supply conditions in the valley. Among the objectives in developing the model were
(1) to be able to evaluate the long-term sustainability (yield) of the Alluvial and Saugus aquifer systems under a range of existing and potential future water resource management conditions, and
(2) to facilitate general management of water quantity and water quality issues. Figure 1-1 is a map showing the area simulated by the model (tables and figures are located at the end of each section).