Snow in the know about your H2O

 “Life is a journey, not a destination.” What if we applied that same perspective to all of the vital resources that make their way to us for use every day? Before running water rushes through our pipes and into our homes, much of our tap water has taken a significant journey. This month, we want to show our appreciation and value for the expedition our Southern California water must take to show up flowing freely at our faucets.

Coastal Southern California is certainly not known for its white winters or frosty temperatures. We live in a dry region that is mainly developed on rock, meaning water isn’t as easily sourced as it is in other regions of the country. Our local water districts must truly get creative and go the extra mile to bring us the safe, clean and dependable H2O we rely on.

Much of your trusted tap water’s journey begins in the mountains where it starts as a snowflake in the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains. 

As temperatures rise and seasons change, the snow begins to melt and that water begins its voyage down the mountains to your tap!

The snowmelt travels hundreds of miles to flow into rivers, reservoirs and groundwater recharge basins, which capture that precious snowmelt. Rivers, lakes, creeks and ponds also collect and deliver water naturally. Facilities such as reservoirs and groundwater recharge basins are two different types of infrastructure investments your water district operates to assist in the capturing and management of the snowmelt. 

A reservoir is an artificial lake where this snowmelt and water is stored. A groundwater recharge basin is a location where snowmelt, rainfall and runoff water is collected and stored in a groundwater aquifer below.

From there, Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountain water is pumped into California’s State Water Project, which transports the water to farms and cities throughout Central and Southern California. The water is cleaned, treated and tested by scientists and engineers to ensure that your water meets or exceeds federal standards. 

Snowmelt, rainfall and imported recharge water provides water to 23 million people living in cities stretching from the Bay Area to Southern California. It’s fascinating to realize that the tap water in your glass and the water that washes our cars and irrigates our crops may have begun as snow. We are thankful for each drop because it is as precious as the snowflakes that created it.