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AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“Given the unknowns, we are not not panicking. We are concerned. The water districts are concerned, and we are going to work with them to see how this will play out,” Palmdale Assistant City Manager Laurie Lile said. District 40, which provides water to much of Lancaster and west Palmdale, gets 60 percent of its water from the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency, a water wholesaler that gets its water from the State Water Project. “In addition to record-dry conditions, there’s also this recent court ruling about the delta smelt,” Barrett said. “What that means is that AVEK can’t assure they can deliver water. If they can’t assure it, then we can’t assure delivery of water to this project.” Lile said Palmdale has so far not been notified by District 40 or the Palmdale Water District about insufficient water supplies or denials of water service. Palmdale did request a water supply assessment for an industrial, commercial and office development planned on two city-owned parcels, but District 40 asked for an extension, citing the need to wait for information from the state about the reliability of the water supply. LANCASTER – Antelope Valley officials are concerned that a record-dry year and uncertain water supplies could lead to delays or a halt in construction in the sprawling High Desert. County officials have already determined that there is insufficient water to serve a 650-home development proposed in west Lancaster, putting the future of that project in limbo. “Everyone is kind of waiting to hear from the state as to how much water we are going to get. Everybody is holding their breath,” said Melinda Barrett, manager of Los Angeles County’s water conservation program. The situation will depend on how the state handles the deepening water crisis caused by drought conditions and a federal judge’s ruling in August that water flowing through the California Aqueduct from Northern California must be cut by 30 percent to protect the delta smelt, a small fish threatened with extinction. District 40 officials did complete the assessment on the 650-home project proposed for Avenue J and 65th Street West in Lancaster, and determined that there is no clear indication of an adequate future water supply. “Since they are the ultimate decider on what projects get water and which don’t, this applicant has to demonstrate they have a source of water available, and if they can’t do that, it appears the county at this point would be unwilling to grant water service,” Lancaster Planning Director Brian Ludicke said. The Lancaster City Council discussed the water supply issue at its meeting last week, receiving a staff report that noted the county action. “The absence of favorable assessments would, in general, prevent such projects from being approved for construction,” the report said. The council directed staff to set up a workshop on water issues and invite other relevant agencies to participate, Ludicke said. The report enumerated projects launched by Lancaster and water agencies to improve the Antelope Valley’s water supply but, “regrettably, the individual steps have to date not yet improved water supply realities, so the immediate challenges at hand may require drastic action.” Most recently, a coalition has developed the Integrated Regional Water Management Plan, which includes projects that could generate an additional 25,400 acre-feet of water per year. The cost of the projects is more than $206 million, $25 million of which the group hopes to get funded by state grants, the report said. It is projected that the demand for water in the Antelope Valley will reach approximately 389,000 acre-feet annually by the year 2035, but the projected supply will only be about 191,000 acre-feet. In a severe drought year, the shortfall could range from 249,000 to 286,000 acre-feet per year. An acre-foot is enough to serve two average-size families for a year, according to the state Department of Water Resources. County water officials in 2004 had for a while held up issuing permission for new Lancaster and west Palmdale housing tracts – without formally declaring a halt to building – because of uncertainty over the water supply. A similar situation occurred in 1986. But those instances had more to do with lack of financing to construct facilities to distribute water than to drought conditions and court rulings. The water crisis had officials in Los Angeles this past week saying they were drafting plans that could force residential water rationing for the first time in more than a decade. Long Beach has already imposed restrictions for residents and businesses. The Palmdale Water District decided in August to forgo mandatory water rationing while strictly enforcing conservation rules that include $1,000 fines and water shut-off for violators. [email protected] (661) 476-4586160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!