What's Wrong With Pasadena's Water Plan

February, 2021 — Pasadena Water & Power (PWP) has unveiled a plan for the next 25 years called the Water System and Resource Plan (Plan). It is a $425 million plan, though, that is not resilient, and it relies heavily on continuing to drain the local Raymond Groundwater Basin, neglecting environmental stewardship and minimizing the impacts of Climate Change.

The Plan will be considered for approval by the Pasadena City Council in March 2021. We hope you will get involved and let the City Council know that we need a environmentally-responsible, resilent plan.

There is some good information in the plan, such as much of the factual data it provides about Pasadena water and the emphasis on better management of local supplies and programs. It is worth studying carefully. Here is the link to the document:

PWP's Proposed Plan

  1. The Plan fails to adequately address the disastrous, declining groundwater levels in the Raymond Basin, our vital local water source;
  2. The Plan evaluates several alternative portfolios but ends up picking the worst alternative, the one that will "Maximize Groundwater Supplies" without stabilizing and replenishing the basin;
  3. The Plan evaluates alternative portfolios with a questionable ranking system that assigns a low value to cost (11%) and gives a comparable value to intangible factors like "community values" that are difficult to calculate and are often arbitrary.
  4. The Plan minimizes or ignores the impacts of Climate Change, using only past usage patterns that are overly-optimistic in the era of Climate Change;
  5. The Plan doesn't provide a detailed comprehensive conservation strategy, setting big goals with sparse analysis and only minimum funding;
  6. The Plan fails to properly consider the potential for stormwater capture, recycled water, transfers and other 21st century water management programs.
  7. The Plan has largely been shielded from public review and input; it has only been shared with a small group of insiders and two poorly-attended public meetings held more than a year ago;
  8. The Plan has a whopping $425 million cost estimate over the next 25 years, which will drive water rates far higher, $250 million more than current revenues without solving key problems;
  9. The Plan neglects partnership programs with the Raymond Basin Management Board (RBMB), Metropolitan Water District (MWD) and other local water agencies;
  10. The Plan will likely lead to the demise of the Raymond Basin, an invaluable water resource and emergency supply.

How to Fix Pasadena's Water Plan

Let the River Flow — Heal the Basin

Pasadena's Water Crisis Groundwater PWP's Water Plan Arroyo Seco Canyon Project