By Al Morrissette
The Mojave Water Agency has established a number of community outreach programs that enable High Desert residents to observe and understand the purpose and various functions that the agency provides. Their interwoven service with local water districts and community service districts that provide the water resource is often not seen by residents, yet it is vital to maintain the high desert demands.
The launching of this new program named, Community Ride-Along Tour, was on Monday Jan 31 from 8am-noon. Participants had 5 agency operations to priorities through their application, which were divided into 2 hour segments, thus you were able to participate in 2 segments during the 4 hour window.
These segments are: Field Operations, which are responsible for all operations and maintenance pertaining to the pipeline and facilities owned by the Agency. It also performs a wide variety of duties relating to operating & maintaining the water systems including pump operations, instrument calibration, USA line locating, cleaning mains & flushing the water system and conducting water quality sampling.
Water Resources, which is responsible for performing a wide variety of tasks in support of the Agency’s stewardship of the groundwater basins and the water resources in the region. The department’s mission is to collect data, understand the common resource and present their knowledge to facilitate science-based decision making. They also research and perform tests and compile and analyze hydrologic and climate data, supervise geologic studies, monitor well installations, collect water level and quality data and act as a data repository for regarding water/groundwater data for the region.
Watermaster; MWA was appointed as Watermaster in 1993 pursuant to the Court Judgment which adjudicated the rights to pump groundwater in the Mojave Basin Area. Watermaster’s main responsibilities are to monitor and verify water production for approximately 475 parties (1,700 wells), collect required assessments, conduct studies and prepare an annual report of its findings and activities to the Court. Watermaster also acts as the clearinghouse for recording water transfers, maintains records for all such transfers and reports changes in ownership of Base Annual Production rights to the Court.
Engineering, which develops engineering planning and operational studies, all aspects of engineering design, right-of-way acquisitions for all Agency projects, contract administration and construction management, field inspections of construction projects, preparation of grant applications and all phases of Agency capital projects.
And the Public Relations Division is responsible for all communications and public relations functions for the Agency. The Division prepares the Agency’s newsletter, updates the website, news releases, publications and brochures; manages the Agency’s conservation efforts, including providing leadership and support to the Alliance for Water Awareness and Conservation (AWAC); provides oversight of the Water Conservation Incentive Program and coordinates special projects.
I chose to view field operations and was teamed up with MWA Field Supervisor Wayne Vogel. He took me on a tour of their current project named R-Cube. This is a comprehensive recharge project that runs from a aquifer recharge station near the Mojave River. This station draws water from the aqueduct transferring the water directly to three spurs from the 42-in diameter feeder pipeline. It will provide recharge water to Hesperia, Victorville and Adelanto by utilizing the aquifers beneath them. The monitoring system will utilize fiber optic cables and be triggered by the level in a 5 million gallon reservoir near Hwy 395,
Upon returning from this tour phase I embarked upon the next choice which was Water resource. Hydrogeologist Tony Winkel took me to Lucerne where MWA had a team of Hydrogeologist monitoring grown water quality and aquifer levels at a monitoring well. This is 1 of 300 monitoring wells that MWA uses throughout their region. The team utilizes a mobile lab that provides a pristine environment for the research and as Winkel mentioned, they use to read parts per million, now they read parts per billion and a pristine environment is accomplished by this lab, which has been in operations for less than 1 year.
This tour is for any resident in the high desert to participate in as well as MWA’s quarterly Mini Tour and the monthly ABC’s in water class held at the office. For more information about any of the upcoming tours or classes you can contact Community Liaison Officer Mike Stevens at (760) 946-7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org