Council gets water update at Dec. 20 meeting

An acre foot of water is enough water to submerge 1 acre of flat land one foot deep in water. The illustration above compares an acre foot of water to a football field. Artwork courtesy Catalina Islander staff

As of Monday, Dec. 19, Southern California Edison reported a water level equivalent to 427.96 acre-feet of water.

On Dec. 12, Edison reported that “the current water elevation at Middle Ranch Reservoir is 649.08 feet above sea level. This equates to a storage capacity of 429.48 acre-feet.”

At the Dec. 20 City Council meeting, Luke Schaner of Southern California Edison said it was important to conserve water to defer Stage 2 water rationing. (Avalon is currently in Stage 1 water conservation.) According to Schaner, November water demands increased by about 4% over the prior month.

Schaner said Edison forecasts Stage 2 water rationing on Catalina in the summer of 2023.

Councilmember Lisa Lavelle wanted to see now Avalon was doing with water usage compared with other communities.

Schaner said Avalon does want to look at residential water usage versus commercial water usage.

According to one of the slides Schaner presented, proposed changes to Avalon’s desalination plants will go to the State Lands Commission at a hearing scheduled for February 2023. The desalination project will then have a California Coastal Commission hearing in March 2023.

Schaner also said that Edison was preparing an advice letter to the California Public Utilities Commission to revise Catalina’s Water Rationing Plan. According to Schaner, the goal is for Edison to file that letter early in 2023.

According to one of the slides, Edison is preparing red-lined versions of the city code to present to the council in January that will reinforce water conservation that is consistent with industry research.

Councilmember Lisa Lavelle suggested looking at the building code as it relates to water. Lavelle said she believes the community would be better-served by moving away from saltwater to greywater.