Officials from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency will celebrate completion of the first stage of the High Desert Water Bank, a critical groundwater storage project that will significantly increase Southern California’s water supply reliability by allowing Metropolitan to store up to 280,000 acre-feet of State Water Project supplies in the Antelope Valley groundwater basin. This is comparable in size to Castaic Lake, nearly double the size of Lake Perris and four times the capacity of Big Bear Lake.
After three years of construction, the first stage of the High Desert Water Bank is complete. Metropolitan can now take advantage of this historically wet year by storing water in the groundwater basin for use in the next inevitable dry year. The water bank not only significantly increases Metropolitan’s total storage capacity along the State Water Project, its scale allows Metropolitan to annually store and withdraw up to 70,000 acre-feet of water – enough to serve the annual needs of 210,000 average Southern California homes. Using the newly built infrastructure, water managers take water directly from the California Aqueduct and move it into recharge basins, where it percolates into the groundwater basin. It can then be pumped back out using newly built wells and delivered to Southern California communities through the California Aqueduct. This ability to directly pump back stored water also provides increased supply reliability in the event of an emergency, and it helps Southern California reduce its reliance on the Colorado River by providing an alternative source for the region to turn to during drought years in the state.