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Vital Water Supply Must Be Preserved

March 20, 1994

* With water shortages in the news again (March 11), it's time to take a careful look at how we plan for our ground water basins.

We in the Santa Clarita Valley are blessed with a high quality ground-water supply. That may change if local developers have their way and the county continues to allow berming and channelizing of the Santa Clara River and its tributaries.

As was observed by the Army Corps of Engineers during the flooding of the Mississippi this past summer, narrowing and berming of a river's natural banks causes an increased velocity of surface flow and increases downstream damage and erosion. This has also occurred along the Santa Clara River because of the concrete channelization of Bouquet Creek and the narrowing of the Santa Clara's natural flood plain. Flood flow rates have increased by 100%, now reaching Ventura in only four hours where it previously took eight.

This has severely reduced the amount of water that recharges the alluvial and Saugus ground water basins, our two main sources of water, by simply wasting the water to the ocean. In addition, this increased velocity has the adverse side effect of causing erosion to downstream orchards as well as the habitat of several endangered species and erosion of the Ventura beaches.

The Santa Clara River is a major source of water for all the communities along its banks, from Acton to Ventura. Its proper management will insure reduced use of Northern California water, leaving more for other areas that are not so naturally endowed. This will mean hard decisions from planners to not allow projects that will reduce this public resource.

LYNNE PLAMBECK

Director

Newhall County Water District

Santa Clarita

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