Water Reliability

The Lake Arrowhead Community Services District (LACSD or District) provides water and wastewater services to the Lake Arrowhead area and surrounding communities. The District manages multiple sources of water supply to meet the consumption needs of its community. These activities require careful planning and management to ensure resources are used wisely and sufficient supplies are available for the future. The purpose of the Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP) is to document and communicate the District’s water supply plan.

The California Legislature has declared that waters of the state are a limited and renewable resource subject to ever increasing demands. While the conservation and efficient use of these waters are of statewide concern, the planning for those supplies is best done at the local level. Conservation and efficient use of water should be actively pursued to protect both the people of the state and their water resources. Therefore, urban water suppliers such as LACSD are required to develop water management plans to achieve the efficient use of available supplies and strengthen local drought planning.

As part of our long-range planning activities, LACSD makes every effort to ensure that the appropriate level of reliability in our water service is sufficient to meet the needs of our customers during normal, dry, and multiple dry water years now and into the foreseeable future. The District’s UWMP  demonstrates how LACSD will carry out its long-term resource planning responsibilities to ensure adequate water supplies to meet existing and future demands for water. The District’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan details the activities that will be put into place under varying levels of shortage.

LACSD Water Reliability Overview
The following overview describes how much water the District has on a reliable basis, how much it needs for the foreseeable future, what the District’s strategy is for meeting its water needs and the challenges facing the District.

In a normal year, the District currently has 1,841 acre-feet (AF) of reliable potable water available. This is a combination of surface water from Lake Arrowhead, groundwater from wells in Grass Valley, and imported water from the Crestline-Lake Arrowhead Water Agency (CLAWA). LACSD has a very reliable source of surface water from Lake Arrowhead. The amount that the District can withdraw is limited to 1,566 AF per year (AFY) which has been sufficient in recent years to meet the District’s consumptive needs. One of the reasons the District has been able to stay within this limited supply is the use of recycled water for irrigation, which has reduced potable water demand.

LACSD also supplements its supply with groundwater which produces between 180 and 250 AFY. While these supplies are highly reliable, the District also has a connection for imported water from the State Water Project (SWP). 

In recent years, District customers used an average of 1,366 AFY which gives LACSD a surplus of 475 AFY. However, supply and demand vary, so LACSD must plan and prepare for uncertainty. On the supply side, drought, earthquake or regulatory changes may reduce water availability. During dry years, when lake level is a concern, the District may elect to not draw all of the water allowed from Lake Arrowhead. On the demand side, population shifts may have an effect on water usage. For example, in 2020, District customers used 10% more water than average due to an influx of people spending more time in Lake Arrowhead during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To assess how much water may be needed in the foreseeable future, the District evaluates a variety of possibilities for changes in supply and demand. The area doesn’t have a lot of potential for future growth since it is mostly built out and surrounded by state and federal forest lands. However, increases to the full-time population, as seen in 2020, can increase demand in a short amount of time. For this reason, the District is projecting demands of 2,050 AFY by 2045. In the short-term, the District can purchase limited amounts of imported water to fill any gaps in supply, but imported water supplies are constrained. For the long term, the District is developing more local groundwater supplies to increase local sources and reduce reliance on Lake Arrowhead.

A long-term, reliable supply of water is essential to protect the productivity of a community’s businesses and economic climate. Water use efficiency and water supply planning are critical for resilience to drought and climate change. The UWMP examines how the District will ensure that there is enough water for the Lake Arrowhead community in future years, and what mix of programs should be explored for making this water available. Water management in California is not a matter of certainty, and planning projections may change in response to a number of factors. As part of LACSD's past and current sustainability goals, LACSD is currently implementing all facets of this plan to achieve its water conservation and usage targets.