PALMDALE – Local, county and state officials gathered Thursday to celebrate the ribbon cutting for the Upper Amargosa Creek Recharge project near the California Aqueduct at 25th St. West and Elizabeth Lake Road.
The $17 million project, a collaborative effort between the City of Palmdale, Palmdale Water District, Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency and the Los Angeles County Water Districts, pipes State Water Project water from the California Aqueduct to a series of recharge ponds where the water percolates through the ground into the aquifer beneath.
The location is a natural recharge basin for the area that allows water to seep into the ground at a rate of 1.5 feet a day to increase the groundwater table.
In addition to improving the regional water resource supply, it will promote further preservation of the Amargosa Creek corridor and provide the community with a nature park to enjoy.
Pathways weave through the newly created nature park and around the recharge basins among specific plant species adapted to the desert environment. At strategic locations along the path, education kiosks and interpretive plaques provide information on the desert environment, urban runoff, watershed processes, and the recharge facilities.
Additionally, future shade covers and picnic tables located throughout the park will invite community members to sit down, relax, and enjoy their natural surroundings.
In the future, recycled water from the Palmdale wastewater treatment plant will also be piped to the recharged basins to further help feed the aquifer.
Guest speakers at the ribbon cutting ceremony included Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Loa, Councilmember Austin Bishop, State Senator Scott Wilk, Assemblyman Tom Lackey, Adam Ariki of Los Angeles County Waterworks, Vic Nguyen of the California Department of Water Resources, Palmdale Water District Director Vincent Dino, and AVEK General Manager Dwayne Chisam.
“Above and beyond the magnitude and importance of this project, it is very impressive to see how so many different agencies worked together on what was often a complicated and tricky process,” Hofbauer said. “Kudos to the staff and leadership of these agencies, as well as the contractors who came together to make this important project a reality.”
“We are honored to be a partner in this important community project,” said PWD President Vincent Dino. “The purpose of this recharge is two-pronged – to serve as a resource for Antelope Valley’s water banking needs and to provide residents with a prime recreational area. This is a prime example of how agencies are working together to secure water for the future.”
For PWD, the recharge project will increase groundwater supply to the District’s existing wells, allowing greater operational flexibility in its water delivery system. The recharge capacity is expected to be in the range of 1,600 to 2,300 acre-feet of water per year. PWD’s share of the $17 million cost is $1.25 million.
Construction of the project, which started in late 2018, was divided into two phases. The first phase involved the construction of a 48-inch conveyance pipeline to divert water from the State Water Project’s aqueduct to the recharge site. During the second phase, the construction of the recharge basins, Amargosa Creek realignment, habitat restoration, and creation of a nature park for public use took place.
According to the city’s plans, the recharge basins were constructed on about 20 acres to the east and west of 25th Street West.
[Information via news release from the city of Palmdale and Palmdale Water District.]