Water: It's Who We Are
Fans of the 1974 classic “Chinatown” will remember how vital water is to the desert communities of Los Angeles and Southern California. Without a reliable, affordable water supply, the great cities and millions of people of the region simply could not exist.
Fortunately, water management and infrastructure has been a hallmark of California since the state’s founding. Businesses and residents of the San Gabriel Valley benefit immensely from having an affordable, safe, and steady supply of water in the region.
Water in the San Gabriel Valley is affordable partly because of the region’s extraordinary hydrological geology. Much of the valley sits on a rich layer of bedrock that serves as a deep reservoir of fresh water. This water basin is replenished by a handful of flood control dams in the far heights of the San Gabriel mountains that capture rainfall and allow that water to flow down the San Gabriel River and then stored underground. Near the mouth of Azusa Canyon, near the center of the Valley, many acres of spreading grounds allow rainfall from the mountains to seep into the ground, to later be pumped up, cleaned, and made ready for drinking. Access to a ready supply of clean, fresh water is why Azusa and Irwindale have become hotspots for craft beer brewing in addition to the longtime presence of the MillerCoors (soon to become Pabst) Brewery.
Local water districts such as Three Valleys Municipal Water District, Upper San Gabriel Valley Water District, and the four-city San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District are wholesale water providers to the region. They also frequently work with the powerful Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to augment our local water supplies with imported water from the Colorado River or the State Water Project, which brings water from snowmelt in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Replenishing the San Gabriel groundwater basin is critical during years of high rainfall as our supplies of water will decrease during droughts. The region is also extremely fortunate to have the services of the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority, a unique local agency who manages the groundwater basin and actively removes impurities in the groundwater to ensure that the 2 million residents of the San Gabriel Valley and the tens of thousands of businesses of the region have the water they need.