The Southern California Area Planning Program offers water management
consultative services and can assist in addressing water issues in your area, developing integrated and
sustainable solutions to water problems from a regional perspective, and providing local program advocacy.
Reclamation promotes the efficient use of water through conservation, recycling,
salinity management, ground and surface water conjunctive management, storm water
management for water supply, drinking water protection and groundwater recharge.
Some of the programs we've been involved in include:
Santee Basin Aquifer Recharge Study
A majority of Southern California's water supplies are imported into the region from northern California and the Colorado River. The Padre Dam Municipal Water District, which serves more than 100,000 customers in the San Diego suburbs, is seeking creative ways to increase local water supplies to ensure greater reliability for the region. The District is researching the feasibility of injecting advanced treated recycled water into the Santee Basin aquifer, part of the greater San Diego surface and groundwater system, and re-extracting it for future potable uses. The Bureau of Reclamation partnered with the District on a five-phase study to analyze the regulatory and engineering viability of such a project. These reports present the analysis, results, conclusions, and recommendations for the study.
Phase 1 was completed in October 2011 and included a literature review and interpretation of regulatory and engineering viability. It also included a recommendation that the next phase define bedrock topography through geophysical methods. Phase 2 defined this topography through electrical resisitvity imaging surveys that were conducted in March 2012. Recommended next steps include: Phase 3 - Targeted drilling to further calibrate the test results and determine hydraulic
Phase 4 – Development of a detailed Groundwater Management Plan, and
Phase 5 – Development of injection and extraction wells placements and operating
Mojave Water Agency Water Supply Management Study
The Mojave Basin is located in a dry region of California with annual precipitation of 2 to 8 inches. The region's population is rapidly increasing, and
the Mojave Water Agency is seeking cost effective methods to supply additional water or reduce water use in the area.
Phase 1 of the study analyzes the amounts of water "saved" as a result of a saltcedar removal effort between 2007 and 2010, and provides data and analysis on vegetation along the Mojave River riparian corridor. Study analyses included: classification of native and non-native vegetation in the Mojave River floodplain, vegetation evapotranspiration modeling, lidar elevation map development, groundwater mapping, and cost calculations of water transpired.
The first report developed during the Study is:
Los Angeles Basin Water Augmentation Study
The Bureau of Reclamation forged a unique partnership with the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council on the ten-year Los Angeles Basin Water Augmentation Study. Los Angeles County is home to nearly 30% of California’s citizens and includes the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watersheds. The Watersheds are subject to increasingly unreliable water supplies due to drought, growing urban and industrial demands, and environmental water user competition.
With nearly 2 million acre-feet of unused storage capacity in local groundwater basins, capturing more runoff for infiltration could substantially increase local water supplies without the need for new surface storage facilities. Reducing urban stormwater volumes reduces pollutant loads and demand on the flood control system. Increasing infiltration also helps restore the natural hydrology and treatment function of the soil.
- Phase 1 (2000-2002): Investigated water quality ramifications of infiltrating stormwater by monitoring water quality at two sites in the Los Angeles area.
- Phase 2 (2002-2005): Expanded water quality monitoring to four additional sites. Determined that stormwater infiltration had no negative impacts on groundwater quality.
- Phase 3 (2005-2010): Analyzed viability of region-wide infiltration in terms of potential quantity, physical constraints, social and institutional issues, and compared the costs of developing this water supply relative to other possible sources. Phase 3 planned for the Elmer Avenue Neighborhood Retrofit Demonstration Project, which was completed in 2010. This Project occurred at the neighborhood scale and showed how existing infrastructure can be retrofitted to locally manage stormwater and incorporate a variety of other sustainable watershed management practices.
The reports developed during the Study are:
Additional information about the Study is available at the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council website: http://lasgrwc2.org/programsandprojects/was.aspx.
SoCal Regional Brine-Concentrate Management Study - Phase I
The Southern California Regional Brine-Concentrate Management Study is a
collaboration between the Bureau of
Reclamation and 14 local and state agency partners who together form the
Brine Executive Management Team. The Team identified
the management of brine-concentrate as significant in
addressing southern California’s water supply reliability.
Management of brine-concentrate faces economic,
environmental, and regulatory hurdles to developing
ocean and brackish groundwater supplies and recycling
water. Developing these new water supply sources is
important for water and wastewater agencies in southern
California due to limitations in availability of existing
imported water and good quality groundwater supplies.
As these existing supplies continue to be strained, lower
quality and more expensive water sources will be
developed or recovered for use.
Development of these lower quality waters often
requires the use of membrane or other treatment
technologies that produce brine or concentrate waste
streams. This waste is classified by the United States
Environmental Protection Agency as an industrial waste
and can face regulatory limitations on disposal.
Currently, the most common practice for disposal is the
use of brinelines and ocean outfalls. However, as the
amount of brine-concentrate waste increases, several
implementation, regulatory, and institutional issues present complex challenges
From the issues facing management of brine-concentrate, it is clear that there are a
number of different elements that together formulate the regional landscape for
management of this waste stream. These elements are the amount of brine-concentrate
produced, regulatory issues driving brine-concentrate management needs
(including emerging constituents of concern), institutional arrangements, available
brine-concentrate management or disposal options, and planned agency brine-concentrate
management projects including pilot/demonstration projects. Each of these is a key element in formulating a comprehensive view of the southern
California brine-concentrate management landscape. For this reason, complete
reports were developed for each of these elements as part of this study:
- Executive Summary (PDF, 3 MB)
- Survey Report
Part 1 (PDF, 3.8 MB)
Part 2 (PDF, 5.6 MB)
Part 3 (PDF, 1.7 MB)
- Regulatory Issues and Trends Report
Part 1 (PDF, 8.5 MB)
Part 2 (PDF, 438 KB)
Part 3 (PDF, 1.9 MB)
Part 4 (PDF, 7.1 MB)
Part 5 (PDF, 3.2 MB)
Part 6 (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Part 7 (PDF, 797 KB)
- Secondary/Emerging Constituents Report (PDF, 1.5 MB)
- Institutional Issues (PDF, 2 MB)
- Brine-Concentrate Treatment and Disposal Options Report
Part 1 (PDF, 3.7 MB)
Part 2 (PDF, 5.6 MB)
- Pilot / Demonstration Projects Evaluation Report (PDF, 4 MB)
Water and Energy Efficiency Program for Commercial, Industrial, and
Institutional Customer Classes in SoCal
As a major water provider for southern California, the Bureau of Reclamation, in partnership
with the California Energy Commission and the Metropolitan Water
District of Southern California, commissioned an innovative study in
2007 to bring together energy utilities, water districts, wastewater sanitation
districts, and state and local agencies to study the potential for integrated water
and energy efficiency programs. This approach allows water districts and
energy utilities to take advantage of opportunities to leverage their limited resources and coordinate resource management efforts to meet future needs.
• identifies potential SoCal commercial, industrial, and institutional (CII) customer classes for participation in
water and energy efficiency programs;
• summarizes savings potentials for these CII customer classes;
• develops audit guidelines and tools to
identify water and energy efficiency improvements, and recommends
opportunities for enhancing practices at CII customer sites;
• identifies marketing and outreach practices that are best suited for
promoting water and energy efficiency in southern California; and
• develops a method for evaluating the costs and benefits
associated with water and energy efficiency improvements.
A final report on this activity, published in 2009, is available in 5 volumes:
Southern California Comprehensive Water Reclamation and Reuse Study (SCCWRRS)
Southern California Water Recycling Projects Initiative
This 6-year, $6 million study evaluated the feasibility of maximizing the beneficial uses of
recycled water through regional collaborative programs. SCCWRRS covered a 6 county area in
southern California, included over 7,300 demand points and all wastewater supplies in its data
bases. SCCWRRS was a partnership between Reclamation and 8 cost sharing partners:
A final report on this activity is available with attachments (all are PDF files):
The Southern California Water Recycling Projects Initiative is a multi-year Bureau of Reclamation planning program. The Initiative is designed to continue the work begun
during the Southern California Comprehensive Water Reclamation and Reuse Study and assist
local water and wastewater agencies in final planning and environmental documentation leading
to implementation of projects identified in the SCCWRRS. The Initiative began in 2000 with $3.4 million dedicated to effort over the following three years.
The Initiative began with 12 cost sharing partners:
Several reports have been produced during the initiative including:
Santa Margarita River Watershed Activities
Feasibility Design Report - Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project - Sept 2013 (PDF, 22.4 MB)
Southern California Steelhead Passage Assessment, Lower Santa Margarita River, California and CUP Surface Water Availability Analysis (TM 1.1)
Final Report - April 27, 2012 (PDF, 8.6 MB)
Appendix A (PDF, 240 KB)
Appendix B (PDF, 552 KB)
Appendix C (PDF, 857 KB)
Appendix D (PDF, 2.5 MB)
Appendix E (PDF, 7.0 MB)
Appendix F (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Final Report - Hydrological and Biological Support to Lower Santa Margarita River Watershed Monitoring Program - February 2010
Final Report (PDF, 4.8 MB)
Appendices (PDF, 9 MB)
October 29, 2008, Conjunctive Use Project Open House
Presentation (PDF, 2.45 MB)
Decision Regarding Alternatives for Further Study Memorandum - December 11, 2006 (PDF, 125 KB)
Recommendation of Alternatives for Further Investigation Memorandum - June 2, 2005 (PDF, 24 KB)
Proposed Obermeyer Modifications to O’Neill Diversion Weir - August 2004 (PDF, 884 KB)
Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project
Final Technical Memorandum No. 1 - April 2007 (PDF, 3.1 MB)
Final Technical Memo No. 2.2 - Volume 1 - April 2007 (PDF, 2.1 MB)
Final Technical Memo No. 2.2 - Volume 2 - April 2007 (PDF, 8.8 MB)
Final Technical Memo No. 3 - April 2007 (PDF, 3.4 MB)
Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Pre-Feasibility Plan Formulation Study - May 2005 (PDF, 6.3 MB) and Appendices (PDF, 467 KB)
Report - Hydraulic & Sediment Considerations for Proposed Modifications to O’Neill Diversion Weir on Santa Margarita River - Sept 2004 (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Report - Santa Margarita Watershed Supply Augmentation, Water Quality Protection, and Environmental Enhancement Program - December 2003 (PDF, 1.6 MB)
Appendix A (PDF, 2.5 MB)
Appendix B (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Appendix C (PDF, 335 KB)
Appendix D (PDF, 56 KB)
Recycle and Reuse Study - Fallbrook Public Utility District: Supplemental Study to the Santa Margarita River Recharge and Recovery Enhancement Program - Permit 15000 Feasibility Study
for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton - February 2002
Part 1 (PDF, 7.6 MB)
Part 2 (PDF, 1.4 MB)
Part 3 (PDF, 6.2 MB)
Part 4 (PDF, 6.2 MB)
Part 5 (PDF, 4.7 MB)
Santa Margarita River Recharge and Recovery Enhancement Program - Permit 15000 Feasibility Study for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton - March 2001
Part 1 (PDF, 3.6 MB)
Part 2 (PDF, 5.4 MB)
Part 3 (PDF, 4 MB)
Part 4 (PDF, 2.7 MB)
Appendix A (PDF, 3.1 MB)
Appendix B - Part 1 (PDF, 6.3 MB)
Appendix B - Part 2 (PDF, 3.9 MB)
Appendix B - Part 3 (PDF, 6.3 MB)
Appendix C (PDF, 645 KB)
Appendix D (PDF, 3.7 MB)
Appendix E (PDF, 2.7 MB)
Appendix F (PDF, 6.1 MB)
Appendix G (PDF, 8.2 MB)
Reclamation holds three water rights permits totaling 185,000 acre-feet on the Santa Margarita
River. These permits were intended for surface water impoundment that, at one time,
Reclamation was proposing to develop. Under California Water Rights Law, these permits must
be "perfected" - the water must put to beneficial use - by 2007 or the water rights may be
lost. Reclamation has been
meeting with interested parties on the watershed to examine the possibility
of perfecting the permits by identifying and implementing a functional equivalent to the dams
and surface impoundment originally envisioned for these permits.
As a result of these
discussions, Reclamation recognizes that more effective water management on the watershed
will depend on water quality monitoring methods that include water supply management as an
objective. Presently, Santa Margarita watershed agencies are required to monitor for various
constituents as set by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. These water quality
monitoring requirements are viewed as expensive, with little water management value, by local
water agencies. Thus, to augment local water supplies through
perfection of Reclamation's water rights permits, a more effective water quality monitoring
approach needs to be identified and adopted for use on the watershed by the regulatory authorities.
Activities included a review of existing methodology and regulations, and development of
new water quality monitoring plan. Reclamation, along with its partners on the watershed, obtained and reviewed information on monitoring programs by Santa Margarita River watershed agencies, and suggested monitoring
alternatives. The information was
obtained from Fallbrook Public Utilities District, Rancho California Water District, Eastern
Municipal Water District, Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, the
Santa Margarita River Watermaster, the Pechanga, Cahuilla, Pauma, and Ramona Band of
Indians, US Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base
Office of Water Resources.
Reclamation developed a framework-monitoring plan to supersede existing monitoring requirements, and
satisfy regulatory mandates scheduled to be set on the Santa Margarita watershed and water
supply issues related to the water rights permits that Reclamation holds in the name of local
In January 2005, Reclamation held public meetings to receive comments on the scope of issues to be addressed in a Environmental Impact Statement /Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for a proposed conjunctive use water
resource development project on the Santa Margarita River. The Federal Register Notice about this activity offers additional information.
Need More Information?
If you have water resources planning questions or need technical assistance, contact Amy Witherall at email@example.com or call 951-695-5310.