News Story Manager

Every drop of water diverted helps Southern California

USACE Los Angeles
Published Dec. 11, 2014
The LA River flows rapidly after passing under the 6th Street bridge at 1 p.m. Dec. 2, 2014. Other areas of the river are narrower and a lot deeper.

The LA River flows rapidly after passing under the 6th Street bridge at 1 p.m. Dec. 2, 2014. Other areas of the river are narrower and a lot deeper.

LOS ANGELES -- Last week’s rain storm dumped a 24-hour period record accumulation here and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Los Angeles District helped the local counties capitalize on capturing some much needed water.

On the brink of another storm forecasted for this evening and Friday, Southern California counties reported the amounts of water captured here to the Corps today.

“Los Angeles County Department of Public Works was able to conserve 2,404 acre-feet of water below the Rio Hondo side of the Whittier Narrows Dam,” said Greg Peacock, Corps Reservoir Regulation Section chief, “with 1,652 acre-feet of water on the San Gabriel side of the dam during the storm.”

Not only Los Angeles County benefits from the Corps dams, but Orange County also was able to store some of the heavy rain.

“Orange County Water District estimates it captured about 1,150 acre-feet of our water releases during the storm plus the 8,000 acre-feet that ended up in storage behind the Prado Dam,” said Peacock.

The Reservoir Operations Center was activated the morning of Dec. 2 and remained open until 6 a.m. on Dec. 4 with manning on hand at the Sepulveda, Whittier Narrows, Brea, Fullerton, and Prado Dams and it partnered with the counties’ water works.

One acre-foot, defined as the volume of one acre of surface area to a depth of one foot, is equal to 325,851 gallons. That is enough water to fill nearly 8,000 bathtubs.

The reservoirs the Corps owns and operates in Southern California have flood risk management as their primary purpose. Of the three dams, Prado and Whittier Narrows have a secondary purpose to regulate releases in order to minimize the discharge of water to the Pacific Ocean, as long as it does not interfere with or diminish the primary objective of flood risk reduction.

Modifications to those releases the Corps instituted during the recent rain had a significant beneficial impact.

Just like in March, continuing to recognize the severe drought situation in California, the Corps is supporting water conservation efforts within Los Angeles County.

With Northern California being hit hard with thunderstorms, rain, snow and blizzard conditions today, the Southern California weather forecast calls for more rain, heavy at times, tonight and tomorrow. The ROC will be activated late Thursday night to ensure flood risk management and should accommodate for more water conservation, according to Peacock.

For more information on reservoir operations see http://www.spl.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/ReservoirRegulation.aspx