Officials from the Metropolitan Water District, the City of Pasadena, and the City of Glendale recently traveled to Sacramento, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and the Central Valley to inspect dams, reservoirs, farms, and State and Federal Water Project infrastructure to learn about how water is delivered to Southern California and about challenges to that system.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is one of the world’s largest water agencies. From the Colorado River and from Northern California through the State Water Project, Metropolitan imports more than half of all the water used by nearly 19 million consumers in its six-county service area. Metropolitan is the wholesale water provider to 26 member public agencies, which, along with about 130 sub-agencies, deliver the water to homes, businesses, and agriculture in Metropolitan’s 5,200-square-mile service area, including Pasadena.

Oroville Dam & Fish Hatchery

Oroville Dam is on the Feather River above the city of Oroville in Butte County, California. It creates Lake Oroville, generates electricity, and provides drinking and irrigation water for Central and Southern California. The dam, lake, and other facilities are owned and operated by the state Department of Water Resources and are part of the State Water Project.

The State Water Project is the largest state-built and operated multi-purpose water and power system in the United States. In addition to providing water to 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland, the project generates power, provides year-round recreation and flood protection, enhances fish and wildlife habitat, and helps maintain water quality and control saltwater intrusion in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The project includes 705 miles of canals, tunnels, and pipelines, 444 miles of California Aqueduct, 36 storage facilities, 26 dams, 21 pumping plants, four pumping-generating plants, and five hydroelectric plants.

California’s history, landscape, and economy have been shaped by water. To address nature’s water imbalance and allow for growth, water has to be transferred from where it is plentiful to where it is needed. Californians provided the solution with passage of the 1960 California Water Resources Development Bond Act, which authorized $1.75 billion for construction of the State Water Project.

Construction of Oroville Dam altered the Feather River and a portion of spawning and nursery grounds were lost to Chinook salmon and steelhead trout returning to their home stream to deposit eggs. To compensate for this loss, the Feather River Fish Hatchery was opened in 1967 south of Oroville Dam.

The hatchery facility—one of the most advanced and successful fish hatcheries in California—was cooperatively planned by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Water Resources to intervene to help ensure the continuation of spring and fall run salmon and trout. The fish are raised at the hatchery and released in the Feather River or San Francisco Bay to find their way to the Pacific Ocean where they mature. After two to three years in the ocean, they instinctively return to their natal origins—through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, up the Sacramento River to the Feather River Fish Hatchery.

In 2017, a major flood at Oroville Dam caused enormous damage, so a massive spillway was built, an impressive engineering feat.

Sites Reservoir

Sites Reservoir is an innovative 21st century water project, a proposed off-stream reservoir located northwest of Sacramento that would provide 470,000 to 640,000 acre-feet of water storage and improve water supply reliability and flexibility in the system. The goal is to save water for the future by capturing water during high runoff, and then saving this water for various beneficial uses at a later time.

A number of agencies are investors/partners in the project, including the Metropolitan Water District. Each agency would own a certain proportion of the water in the reservoir, should it ever get built. There is a growing list of agencies on the waiting list.

The Joint Project Authority, which is managing and planning the project and consists of seven regional entities including several local water agencies and counties, is coordinating with 30 landowners in the proposed, sparsely populated area of the reservoir. Land and water rights acquisitions are anticipated to begin in 2024.

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

About 30 percent of the water that flows to taps in Southern California homes and businesses originates in Northern California watersheds and flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The Department of Water Resources is leading the effort to modernize the Delta’s infrastructure to withstand a growing list of challenges. This includes the Delta’s declining ecosystem and 1,100 miles of levees that are increasingly vulnerable to earthquakes, flooding, saltwater intrusion, subsidence, sea level rise, the impacts of climate change, and other environmental degradation.

Saltwater from the San Francisco Bay mixes with fresh water from the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and other rivers to create the largest estuary on the West Coast with habitat critical to the survival of many fish and wildlife species. The Delta is also a rich agricultural area that supports a $32 billion agricultural industry and a wide range of recreational opportunities.

The group heard a presentation by Delta expert Curt Schmutte, who argued that the Delta is not sustainable, and will be unusable by the end of the century if the sea level continues to rise. The Delta is the hub of California’s water supply system and the home to hundreds of animal, fish, and bird species, many of which are non-native. The Delta used to be a wild, natural area; in the 1880s to 1930s, humans built levees (mostly by Chinese labor) for farming, resulting in an enormous transformation of the area and destroying 90 percent of the food supply for local species. To maintain a healthy water supply and increase the amount of fish, we need to improve the Delta’s ecosystem and make it more natural. It will require $1 billion to restore the balance of food and habitat.

Schmutte proposes large, twin tunnels underneath the Delta, sandy beaches, and floating marshes to overcome some of the challenges facing the Delta region.

San Luis Reservoir

On August 18, 1962, President John F. Kennedy led the official groundbreaking ceremonies for the San Luis Joint-Use Complex. The event was the result of a 1961 agreement between California and the federal government to build the facilities, since both state and federal water projects required the development of the B.F. Sisk San Luis Dam site for storage of flows pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The agreement integrated storage, pumping-generating, and conveyance facilities for state and federal water operations. Construction of the Sisk and O’Neill dams began in 1963 and was completed in 1967.

Located in the eastern foothills of the Diablo Mountain Range, San Luis Reservoir is the largest off-stream reservoir in the United States (an off-stream reservoir is one that is filled with water pumped from a source other than its natural watershed). San Luis Reservoir holds water originally captured from rainfall and snowmelt stored in Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville that flows through the Delta and is pumped into the California Aqueduct and the Delta-Mendota Canal. The reservoir can store 2,027,840 acre-feet of water (an acre-foot is 325,851 gallons, often described as the amount of water two families use in a year).

Water in the mainstem of the California Aqueduct flows south by gravity into the San Luis Joint-Use Complex, which was designed and constructed by the federal government and is operated and maintained by the Department of Water Resources. Within the complex are O’Neill Forebay, Sisk Dam and San Luis Reservoir, the nation’s largest off-stream reservoir (it has no natural watershed), the Gianelli Pumping-Generating Plant, Dos Amigos Pumping Plant, and the San Luis Canal. This section of the California Aqueduct serves both the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

The San Luis Reservoir is currently at 68 percent capacity. Usually at this time of year, it is at 30 percent capacity. The reservoir can hold 2.1 million acre feet, and 65 million gallons are lost every day to evaporation. About 55 percent of the water in the reservoir is Southern California’s drinking water. Construction is underway to raise the reservoir by 10 feet and make it earthquake safe.

Del Bosque Farms

The group visited Del Bosque Farms on the Great Westside of the San Joaquin Valley. Owner Joe Del Bosque is a grower of fresh, organic fruits, nuts, and vegetables, and one of the largest organic melon farmers in the United States. His biggest client for his organic watermelons, cantaloupe, and honeydew melons is Whole Foods. He explained that to be certified organic, a farm’s soil must be free of pesticides for three years.

He is an advocate for agriculture, water supply, and for farm workers, and he served on the California Water Commission. The son of a migrant farm worker, he earned his way through college as a farm worker, and his wife, Maria Gloria Del Bosque, is a former migrant worker who immigrated to the United States with her family.

Del Bosque explained about senior and junior water rights in the Central Valley that date back more than a century, before 1914. The rights stay with the land, even if a farmer sells their property. A piece of property with junior water rights could go for about $7,000 per acre, while a piece of property right next door with senior water rights could go for about $30,000 per acre.

He also talked about Prop 1, a water bond passed in 2014 that provides $7.5 billion for water projects, $2.5 billion of which is for water storage, which he said is not nearly enough.

He said the Central Valley grows a quarter of all food in the United States. It has unique soil and climate, which, along with water supply systems such as the state and federal water projects, make this region a particularly perfect place to grow food. Farmers grow tomatoes (95% of all tomatoes are grown in California), garlic (grown here and then shipped to Gilroy in Fresno County), onions, pomegranates, melons, pistachios, almonds, dairy/meat, olives, grapes, citrus, figs, berries, walnuts, lettuce, cotton, and much more.

California grows more citrus than Florida and more peaches than Georgia, and the Central Valley grows more grapes than Napa Valley. One hundred percent of almonds in the United States are grown in the Central Valley, and 70 percent of almonds in the entire world are grown in California. There used to be 1.2 million acres of cotton grown in California; that has decreased to 200,000 acres, having been replaced by other crops, mostly almonds, which use more water.

California is home to roughly 68,400 farms, which harvest approximately 15.8 million acres of farmland and produce about $51.1 billion in farm product sales. California farms dedicate approximately 25.8 million acre-feet of water to grow food and fiber, contribute about $89 billion to the economy every year, and employ more than 829,000 people per year.

View more photos from the trip below:

Justin Chapman writes, produces, and hosts a monthly TV talk show on Pasadena Media's TV channel, called "Pasadena Monthly with Justin Chapman," formerly known as the award-winning "NewsRap Local with Justin Chapman." The tenth episode aired Friday, October 27, 2023, and featured a discussion with Dr. Richard Rosenthal, Pasadena's Independent Police Auditor. Watch the full episode below:

Pasadena’s Independent Police Auditor Dr. Richard Rosenthal Joins Friday’s Episode of ‘Pasadena Monthly with Justin Chapman’


Pasadena Media’s award-nominated local TV talk show, “Pasadena Monthly with Justin Chapman,” formerly known as the award-winning “NewsRap Local with Justin Chapman,” continues this Friday at 5 p.m. PT on Pasadena Media’s cable TV channels and streaming apps. The episode will feature a discussion with Dr. Richard Rosenthal, Pasadena’s independent police auditor.


Dr. Rosenthal is a former LA County public corruption prosecutor who was responsible for uncovering the LAPD Rampart scandal in the 1990s. He has created police oversight agencies in Portland, Oregon (2001); Denver, Colorado (2005); and British Columbia, Canada (2012). He received his PhD in Criminology from Simon Fraser University in 2021, with an emphasis on civilian oversight of the police. His PhD dissertation evaluated the implementation of the federal Consent Decree in Seattle, Washington. In 2019, Dr. Rosenthal published the first academic article describing the Independent Critical Incident Investigation Agency form of civilian oversight on a global basis.


Dr. Rosenthal is currently a member of the Cleveland Consent Decree Monitoring Team working on police accountability mechanisms; is the principal consultant for the Washington State Office of Independent Investigations (which will be the first civilian-based agency to conduct criminal investigations of police uses of deadly force in the United States); and is currently serving as the Independent Police Auditor for the City of Pasadena, California.


“Pasadena Monthly” airs at 5 p.m. PT on the fourth Friday of every month on Pasadena Media’s Arroyo Channel and streaming apps, available on channel 99 on AT&T U-verse, channel 32 on Charter Spectrum, YouTube, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku. The show is written, hosted and produced by Chapman, directed and edited by Jeffrey Stanfill and executive produced by George Falardeau, CEO and executive director of Pasadena Media.


“This is must-watch television each month for everyone who cares about this city,” Falardeau said.


Earlier this year, Chapman won two 1st place journalism awards from the Los Angeles Press Club, as well as a 3rd place award and two finalist positions. He has won a total of nine awards from the LA Press Club in recent years, including three 1st place awards. Last year, the previous iteration of the show, “NewsRap Local,” won a 2nd place award in News Programming at the Alliance for Community Media West’s WAVE video awards.


Guests on “Pasadena Monthly” and “NewsRap Local” have included Congress member Judy Chu (D-27); Congress member Adam Schiff (D-28); Assembly member Chris Holden (D-41); Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo; Pasadena city manager Miguel Márquez; LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger; JPL director Dr. Laurie Leshin; and many others.


Chapman was the youngest elected official in LA County when he served on the Altadena Town Council at age 19. He has served on a number of local boards and wrote hundreds of articles for two dozen print and digital publications, including KPCC/LAistAlta JournalHuffington PostLA Weekly, Irish PostBerkeley Political ReviewPasadena Weekly, Pasadena Star-NewsPasadena Now and many others. He currently serves as the District 6 Council Liaison/Field Representative to Pasadena City Councilmember Steve Madison.


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Wrexham AFC, a Welsh Soccer Team Owned by Actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, Defeat LA Galaxy II, 4-0

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Now, 10/1/2023

Following LA Galaxy’s win over LAFC at the Rose Bowl on July 4, Galaxy’s reserve soccer team LA Galaxy II faced off against Wrexham AFC in Carson, California, on July 22. The Rose Bowl used to be LA Galaxy’s home stadium from 1996-2002, but the team now plays home games in Dignity Health Sports Park.

Wrexham AFC, owned by actors Ryan Reynolds (“Deadpool”) and Rob McElhenney (Mac from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), defeated Galaxy II 4-0. McElhenney, who lives in LA, was in attendance. Reynolds, who lives in New York and was filming “Deadpool 3” in the UK until the actors’ strike started, was not. The friendly match is part of Wrexham AFC’s tour across the United States called “Wrexham USA Invasion.”

Founded in 1864, Wrexham AFC is the third-oldest soccer club in the world and the oldest club in Wales. The team’s homebase is the Racecourse Grounds, the world’s oldest soccer stadium that still hosts international matches. The team and the town are the focus of the FX/Hulu docuseries “Welcome to Wrexham,” which chronicles the transformation that the small, working-class Welsh town has been experiencing ever since two Hollywood celebrities purchased their soccer team, pumped millions of dollars into the club and turned the team’s—and thus the town’s—fortunes around.

Season one of “Welcome to Wrexham” aired August 24 last year and season two airs September 12 on Hulu. The critically acclaimed show was nominated for six Emmy Awards and won two Critics’ Choice Television Awards. It is about more than just soccer—it’s a moving human drama that explores the lives of the people of Wrexham and how their soccer team is the beating heart of their town, a real life “Ted Lasso” that shows soccer is more than just a “beautiful game.”

Wrexham AFC now competes in the fourth tier of the English football league system, League Two. The team was mired in a lower level league for 15 years, after being relegated down to the fifth tier of the English football league system, the National League, in 2008. In season one of the show, which chronicled the 2021-22 season, the team almost got promoted but fell short late in the season. However, the perfect Hollywood ending will come to fruition in season two, as the team became the champions of the 2022-23 National League when they defeated Boreham Wood 3-1 on April 22 and got promoted to League Two for the upcoming 2023-24 season.

When Wrexham AFC lost to FC Halifax Town 3–1 on April 7 leading up to that final match, Wrexham AFC’s head coach Phil Parkinson said during the post-game press conference on July 22  that he could almost hear their supporters saying, “Here we go again, we’re going to blow it.”

“When you have a lot of near misses as a club, you naturally feel a bit negative and you think, ‘We’re never going to get out of this division,’” he said. “You could really feel that, but I was always confident we had the ammunition in the squad to do it [get promoted]. The lads handled the pressure, and it was not just the pressure of a normal title race, it was the pressure of the club being out of the division for 15 years, and if we didn’t do it this year, it can be tough to reproduce what we’ve done. And also the documentary, because that’s always in the back of your mind—creating a story. I’m sure that’s going to be well received.”

Many of those Wrexham residents are so dedicated to the team that they’ve flown to the United States to follow the soccer tour. The majority of the crowd of 10,553 people at Dignity Health Sports Park on July 22  seemed to be rooting for Wrexham AFC rather than Galaxy II, with loud chants of “Let’s go, Wrexham!” Cameras were rolling at the stadium for season 3 of the TV show.

Parkinson, who’s featured in “Welcome to Wrexham,” told Pasadena Now after the game that the TV show and new Hollywood owners have transformed the town of Wrexham.

“It’s incredible, the positivity in Wrexham, honestly, you’ve got to be there to believe it,” he said. “If you just talk about the local people, what it’s done is lifted the area so much. Wrexham have had so many years of having nothing, no money, no backing into the club, operating on a shoestring. And Rob and Ryan come in and they’ve just raised everything. You can see everybody in Wrexham walks around with a spring in their step. A football club can do that in an area in the UK. It really can. It can transform a community. It’s been great to see that real connection between supporters and the players, and obviously the ownership. Long may that continue and if we keep winning games, I’m sure it will.”

McElhenney first got the idea to buy a soccer team after watching Netflix’s 2018 docuseries “Sunderland ‘Til I Die,” about how that English soccer club was relegated from the Premier League and tried to launch a comeback. Parkinson previously managed Sunderland among other teams before McElhenney and Reynolds hired him at Wrexham AFC.

McElhenney knew he’d need “movie star money” to buy a team, so he reached out to Reynolds on social media with the idea, sparking their new friendship and partnership and the TV show to document the whole process, which was been so popular that the two actors recently met the new king and queen.

McElhenney created and stars in two other popular shows as well: “Mythic Quest,” an Apple+ comedy about a video game company, and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” which just concluded airing its 16th season on FX/Hulu last week. “Sunny” is the longest-running live-action sitcom in history and one of the best shows on television. It has been renewed for its 17th and 18th seasons and also stars Danny DeVito, Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton and Kaitlin Olson, McElhenney’s wife.

Parkinson also talked about the response Wrexham AFC have received from the American public as they tour across the States, due to the show and the buzz generated by Reynolds and McElhenney’s ownership.

“Over here [in the United States], I think the lads have been surprised how much interest there is in the club,” Parkinson said. “It’s fantastic for us, it really is. We had an extraordinary season last year and got a record amount of points, and for that to be documented, which will be shown in the next series, I’m sure that’s going to be really exciting again for everybody over here to watch and and see the story behind the scenes. It has surprised us a bit but it’s been great, not just the level of interest, but the detail of that interest as well. When I speak to people like tonight, it’s the knowledge of our players, asking me about individual games and people have been really engaged in it which is amazing, really, for the American public to be interested in us.”

He also offered his take in the post-game press conference on how Galaxy II fared against his storied team. Galaxy II consists mainly of younger players, between 16-23 years old. 

“The Galaxy youngsters did well and caught us a bit by surprise,”Parkinson said. “Their technical ability was excellent and gave us a bit of a wake up call in the first half.”

Indeed, during the first half the teams were evenly matched and no goals were scored. However, in the second half Galaxy II’s defense fell apart, with Wrexham AFC scoring four goals to win the game. Still, Galaxy II had possession 56.8 percent of the time overall, executed more passes and had a higher pass accuracy rate. There were several fouls on both sides but only one yellow card earned by Wrexham’s Aaron Hayden.

Wrexham’s Andrew Cannon scored the first goal in the 47th minute with a shot from the center of the goalie box into the center of the net. Wrexham’s Elliot Lee fired the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal in the 55th minute. Ten minutes later, Wrexham team captain “Super” Paul Mullin who’s featured prominently in the TV show, was in the right place at the right time in a cluster of Galaxy II players right in front of the goal where he was the last one to touch the ball before it deflected off a Galaxy II player and went in for an “own goal.” Wrexham’s Anthony Forde shot the game’s final goal in the 68th minute.

Parkinson said Wrexham AFC would love to come back next year and play against the first LA Galaxy team.

The July 4 game at the Rose Bowl between that LA Galaxy team and LAFC was originally scheduled for February 25. The game got rescheduled due to the winter storms and instead replaced the Rose Bowl’s traditional AmericaFest, which consisted of musical performances, motocross jumps and fireworks. Rose Bowl General Manager Jens Weiden told Pasadena Now that the stadium lost half a million dollars hosting AmericaFest in 2022 and that the format would have to change going forward.

“The exciting thing for us is that we have a history of doing soccer matches here on the 4th of July with fireworks,” Weiden said. “When the LA Galaxy played here for years, we would have a soccer match and then do fireworks after the soccer match.”

In the July 4 match-up between LA Galaxy and LAFC, known colloquially as El Tráfico, Galaxy prevailed 2-1. There were 82,110 people in attendance, the most ever for a Major League Soccer game. Instead of losing $500,000, the Rose Bowl made $400,000 from the soccer match and post-game fireworks show. LAFC will return to the Rose Bowl on August 11, which is expected to generate $250,000 in revenue for the stadium. on Sunday, the Rose Bowl hosted an international soccer match between Real Madrid and AC Milan in front of more than 70,000 people, with Real Madrid coming out on top 3-2.