Mojave Basin groundwater table hits record high
The Mojave Water Agency last week began supplying imported water to a storage aquifer near Barstow, bringing welcome relief to the water table which has reached an all-time high.
The MWA Board of Directors unanimously approved the delivery of 5,000 acre-feet of water to the Centro Basin at its April 28 meeting.
The Centro Basin is one of five sub-zones or sub-basins, which are defined and separated in part by seismic faults and other geological features, but which are also interconnected to some extent, according to engineers from the water.
The sub-zones are mentioned in the Mojave River Basin Adjudication which the MWA administers as the water master of the zone. There are also several “transition zones” that have been identified.
The Centro sub-area area serves Barstow, Lenwood, Hinkley and Kramer Junction. The sub-basin has maintained a relatively stable mix of agricultural and urban uses.
On May 9, water began transferring from the MWA’s reserve storage account to the San Luis Reservoir via the California Aqueduct, which is part of the state water project.
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This process, called groundwater recharge, releases water into the Mojave River. Water seeps through the riverbed into the aquifer below, filling the basin with groundwater and raising the water table.
“Basin Replenishment is part of the Mojave Water Agency’s mission to collaboratively manage groundwater basins sustainably, import water responsibly, and proactively address risks using a solid science,” said MWA Board Chair Jeanette Hayhurst.
With initial delivery rates starting at 10 cubic feet per second, recharge of 5,000 acre-feet of water is expected to take several months.
Agency staff will monitor groundwater recharge effort and adjust flows as needed for more efficient distribution.
Currently, in a prolonged, multi-year drought, California experienced its driest three months in recent history in early 2022.
What drought?:California residents consumed more water in March than any March since 2015
Groundwater recharge is part of the MWA’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan under its Urban Water Management Plan, which was created specifically for dry seasons like this.
“This water delivery will certainly bring some relief to the Centro Basin, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t remain vigilant about water conservation,” Hayhurst said. “We should all continue to do our part.”
The five sub-areas have Spanish names that refer to their general geological relationships to the flow of the Mojave River, or its mountain sources – alto (upper), este (east), oeste (west), centro (central) and baja (lower).
- Alto sub-sector: The Alto sub-area encompasses most of the populous Victor Valley and its waters serve Summit Valley, Hesperia, Victorville, Adelanto, Apple Valley, Oak Hills, Phelan and Helendale.
- East sub-zone: To the east of the Alto sub-zone is the Este sub-zone, serving the Lucerne Valley and its rural surroundings.
- Western sub-zone: The Oeste subzone, west of Phelan, serves Pinon Hills and El Mirage. It is largely served by the Phelan Pinon Hills Community Service District, which has purchased former dairies for their water rights.
- Baja sub-zone: Furthest downstream, the Baja subzone includes Daggett, Yermo, and Newberry Springs. The outflow of water from the Mojave River Basin ends at Afton Canyon.
For conservation tips or more information on how MWA is serving the region during this unprecedented drought, visit www.mojavewater.org.
Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz can be reached at 760-951-6227 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz