AQUAOSO™ Launches Free Digital Water Map for California

From Aquaoso:

AQUAOSO™ Technologies, PBC, a Public Benefit Corporation and a leader in water risk management with massive water data and expertise on California’s water supply, officially launched a free digital water map of California water districts, GSAs and groundwater basin priority levels.

The free digital water map is a joint effort between AQUAOSO and California Chapter, ASFMRA, whose members are active in appraisal and management of agricultural properties and who provide consulting for agribusiness.

“Much of this information is publicly available, but does not always exist in the same place, making it hard to identify the relationships between various geographical regions,” said Christopher Peacock, CEO/Founder of AQUAOSO. “After extensive discussions with leaders in the agricultural economy, and based on our existing research into California agricultural water risk, it was obvious we should launch a free version of this map.”

JoAnn Wall, ARA, President of California Chapter, ASFMRA added, “This free resource is a natural extension of the information we have been providing to the agribusiness community for years and is one of the many benefits we can bring to our members.”

Early sponsors of the digital water map includes AgriFinancial, Golden State Farm Credit, Hortau, Pearson Realty, Schuil and Associates, Terra West Group and WaterWrights. Mr. Peacock states, “We are fortunate to have such a great group of early supports in our efforts to deliver new resources to the broader community.”

AQUAOSO will be providing additional data to the free map in the coming months as they continue to assist the agricultural economy in identifying, understanding, monitoring and mitigating water related risks. They currently support some of the largest agricultural lenders, appraisers, brokers and agricultural investors in California to identify water risk at the parcel level. This is in addition to their broader loan and land portfolio tools they provide that includes extensive public and private datasets, including parcel level information, water district deliveries, crop types, soil, and more.

Earlier this month, AQUAOSO launched its innovative Programmatic Assistance with Water Data program to help smaller non-profits with their water data needs. “We are constantly looking for ways in which we can leverage our corporate footprint to have a positive social impact,” Mr. Peacock continued.

For more information about the free digital water map, check out https://research.aquaoso.com/register.

About AQUAOSO™
AQUAOSO Technologies, PBC is a Public Benefit Corporation with a mission to build a water resilient future. AQUAOSO provides advanced water risk management and mitigation tools for the agricultural economy. Farmers, brokers, appraisers, lenders, insurers and water managers use our tools daily to identify, understand and mitigate water related risks. www.AQUAOSO.com

SGMA IMPLEMENTATION: DWR Updates 2018 Draft Basin Boundary Modifications Based on Public Comments

From the Department of Water Resources:

The Department of Water Resources Sustainable Groundwater Management Office today released updates to the 2018 Draft Basin Boundary Modifications decisions. Based on clarifying comments received during the public comment period, three draft decisions were revised for Shasta Valley, Paso Robles Area, and Kern County basins.

For additional information, please refer to the Basin Boundary Modifications webpage.

The 2018 Draft Basin Boundary Modifications decisions, including these updates, will be presented to the California Water Commission on Wednesday, January 16, 2019.

YOUR HELP NEEDED: Take a Survey on Energy Used For Groundwater Pumping

The California Energy Commission has funded Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to survey municipal and agriculture water suppliers on the challenges of reducing energy associated with pumping groundwater. If you are at least 18 years of age, work for either a retail or wholesale water supplier, or a water supplier that delivers water for irrigation purposes, please click on the appropriate link below to take the anonymous survey. The survey ends Friday, February 1, 2019.

Municipal Water Suppliers

Agricultural Water Suppliers

Recharge Roundtable Call to Action

From UC Water and the Groundwater Resources Association:

There are only two ways to reduce groundwater overdraft: decrease pumping or increase recharge.

While addressing California’s overdraft will certainly require both actions, we convened a meeting of water management experts around groundwater recharge. The goal of the “Recharge Roundtable” was to address California’s severe groundwater overdraft problem through actions that would produce substantial increases in recharge in the next five years.

As a collaboration between the Groundwater Resources Association of California and the University of California Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative, we aimed to motivate focused actions that effect large quantities of recharge and produce regional benefits. The Recharge Roundtable participants and organizers produced a call to action, organized around six key questions and related action steps:

  1. How much water is hydrologically available for recharge?
  2. How much water can be recharged in different hydrogeologic environments?
  3. What are the legal and regulatory bottlenecks, and how can they be eliminated or reduced?
  4. How can hundreds to thousands of recharge projects be incentivized?
  5. What changes in reservoir reoperation and conveyance are needed?
  6. What are the water quality benefits and concerns for recharge?

It is increasingly obvious that tantalizing possibilities for increasing recharge to California’s aquifers exist, yet state and local water agencies and stakeholders are not sufficiently prepared to capitalize on those possibilities. This call to action is intended to help our state prepare.

Download the Call to Action:Recharge Roundtable Call to Action: Key Steps for Replenishing California Groundwater (Updated January 2019)

DWR Finalizes Basin Prioritizations under SGMA

From the Department of Water Resources:

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) [last Friday] announced final basin prioritization for the majority of groundwater basins in the state as required under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Today’s announcement finalizes the prioritization for 458 basins, identifying 56 basins that are required to create groundwater sustainability plans under SGMA. For most basins, the results are a confirmation of prioritizations established in 2015. Fifty-nine basins remain under review with final prioritization expected in late spring.

“Prioritizing groundwater basins is a critical step along the path of ensuring sustainable groundwater supplies for future generations of Californians,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Groundwater management is a big, complicated endeavor for California, which is why DWR is investing heavily to provide local planning entities with technical assistance to be successful.”

SGMA requires local agencies throughout the state to sustainably manage groundwater basins. Basins identified as high- or medium-priority are required to adopt groundwater sustainability plans beginning in 2020. DWR is required to reassess groundwater basin prioritizations any time it updates basin boundaries. This prioritization for 458 basins incorporates the basin boundary modifications finalized in 2016. Prioritization is based on factors such as population, irrigated acreage, and the number of wells in the basin. Changes in prioritization generally reflect changed conditions or new information about existing conditions.

Today’s prioritization reflects updates based on new requirements under SGMA, including adverse impacts to habitat and streamflow, adjudicated areas, critically over drafted basins and groundwater related transfers.

Twenty-one basins were changed to ‘very low’ because they are covered by adjudicated areas with existing governance and oversight in place. Adjudicated areas are not required to prepare groundwater sustainability plans and are instead required to submit annual reports to DWR on their groundwater management and monitoring.

Draft prioritizations were announced in May 2018. These finalizations come after a 94-day public comment period and four public meetings that resulted in 500 individual comments and related datasets leading to some revisions in basin prioritization.

FLOOD MAR LISTENING SESSION: Flood-MAR Agricultural Community Listening Session in Merced on January 14

From the Department of Water Resources:

On January 14th, please join us at a Flood-MAR Agricultural Community Listening Session to share your insights into potential barriers and challenges to implementing voluntary Flood-MAR projects in the Central Valley.

Event Description

In the fall of 2017, the State Board of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), with support from the Department of Water Resources (DWR), convened a public forum on Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR). Participants identified a number of barriers and challenges to implementing Flood-MAR projects, such as permitting challenges and insufficient data and tools for identifying recharge potential and impacts to crops.

A key component in expanding Managed Aquifer Recharge is the willing participation of land owners. As potential implementers and beneficiaries, understanding the experiences, concerns, and questions of landowners within the agricultural and rural communities is critical to informing State and local agency planning and assistance, such as through DWR’s Flood-MAR program.  This “Listening Session” will be an opportunity for farmers and landowners to:

  • Share personal experiences or concerns about Flood-MAR implementation
  • Engage with and learn from farmers who have participated in pilot Flood-MAR projects
  • Advise on what incentives might encourage you to implement a Flood MAR project on your land
  • Learn about how State agencies are supporting the expansion of MAR

Date and Time: January 14, 2018 12:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: University of California Cooperative Extension
2145 Wardrobe Ave, Merced, CA  95341-6445

Please RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/flood-mar-ag-community-listening-session-tickets-52324219148

And please participate in our Landowner Experiences survey that will inform our conversation on January 14thhttps://csusaccce.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cHEzFu0uxLRpdrf

SGMA IMPLEMENTATION UPDATE: New Climate Change Data Tools Available

From the Department of Water Resources, Sustainable Groundwater Management Office:

Three, new climate change tools are now available on the California Natural Resources Agency Open Data Platform to assist local agencies with groundwater planning. The tools are:

  1. ArcGIS tool designed to work with USGS MODFLOW models.
  2. ArcGIS tool designed to work with Department of Water Resources IWFM models.
  3. Second Order Correction tool, designed to help correct for shifts in monthly timing and annual volume of streamflow in watersheds where the Variable Infiltration Capacity Model is used.

To view existing climate change resources plus the new desktop tools, click here.

For more information, contact Tyler Hatch at Tyler.Hatch@water.ca.gov.

SGMA IMPLEMENTATION: DWR announces draft Groundwater Basin Boundary Modifications

From the Department of Water Resources:

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has announced draft decisions for groundwater basin boundary modification requests submitted by local agencies as part of the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Basins boundaries were previously updated in 2016.

Basin boundaries characterize the extent of groundwater basins in California and SGMA requires these basins to be prioritized to determine which will be required to develop groundwater sustainability plans.

Of the 517 groundwater basins and subbasins in California, local agencies submitted 43 requests for basin modifications that affect 59 basins and subbasins. Modifications could be requested for either scientific or jurisdictional reasons. Scientific modifications are based on geologic or hydrologic conditions, while jurisdictional modifications change boundaries to promote sustainable groundwater management.

DWR staff reviewed all requests and approved modifications that met the requirements of the Basin Boundary Regulations. In total, DWR approved 33, denied seven and partially approved three modification requests. Denials were based on the criteria identified in regulations and were specific to the unique information presented for each type of modification request. Some requests were partially approved because some portions of the modification requests were adequately supported by the information provided, while other portions were not.

A 30-day public comment period is being held to allow further input by the public and local agencies. A Basin Boundary Modifications Public Meeting to solicit comments will be held at 1 p.m., Tuesday, December 11, 2018, in the California Natural Resources Agency Auditorium, at 1416 9th Street, Sacramento. The meeting will also be webcast live. Comments can be submitted online at any time during the public comment period, which ends January 4, 2019.

DWR will present the draft Basin Boundary Modifications at the California Water Commission meeting on January 16, 2019, where further public comment can be submitted. All public comments received throughout the process will be reviewed and evaluated before final Basin Boundary Modifications results are announced in February 2019.

For Draft Basin Boundary Modifications results, click here.
To submit public comments, click here.
For more information on SGMA and groundwater, click here.

DWR SUSTAINABLE GROUNDWATER MGT UPDATE: Draft basin boundary modifications and updated FAQ available, Update on basin prioritization and alternatives; SGMA Governance Survey, and more …

From the Department of Water Resources, Sustainable Groundwater Management Office:

NEW Draft Basin Boundary Modifications Released

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released the Draft Basin Boundary Modifications. The modifications are a result of requests from local agencies to modify basins based upon scientific or jurisdictional reasons. To view Draft Basin Boundary Modifications results, click here.

Public Comment

A public comment period on Draft Basin Boundary Modifications is open now through January 4, 2019. All public comments received throughout the process will be reviewed and evaluated before Final Basin Boundary Modifications results are announced in February 2019. To submit public comments, click here.

Public Meetings

Public comments on Draft Basin Boundary Modifications can also be provided at the following public meetings.

Draft Basin Boundary Modifications Public Meeting
Tuesday, December 11, 2018, at 1 p.m.
California Natural Resources Agency
First Floor Auditorium
1416 9th St., Sacramento.
The meeting will be webcast live at 1:20 p.m. To view the live webcast, click here.
Please RSVP for the meeting here.

California Water Commission Meeting
Wednesday, January 16, 2019, at 9:30 a.m.
California Natural Resources Agency
First Floor Auditorium
1416 9th St., Sacramento
For questions, email sgmps@water.ca.gov.


NEW Frequently Asked Questions Updated

Basin Boundary Modifications Frequently Asked Questions have been updated.


NEW Basin Prioritization Update

Final Basin Prioritization for basins not affected by Basin Boundary Modifications is expected in early January 2019. Draft Basin Prioritization for modified basins is expected in February 2019, with final Basin Prioritization in May 2019. The 2018 SGMA Basin Prioritization Timeline has been updated to reflect this.


NEW Alternatives Update

SGMO continues to prioritize review of Alternatives to Groundwater Sustainability Plans and recognizes the importance of this work to the submitting agencies. DWR expects to release assessments for each of the submitted Alternatives during the first quarter of 2019. If you have any questions or comments, please email Craig Altare at Craig.Altare@water.ca.gov.


NEW UC Davis SGMA Governance Survey

UC Davis Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior is conducting a voluntary survey, as a part of a research project, to understand local views and participation in the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) development process. UC Davis Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior has provided unique survey links to GSP coordinators. Please contact your GSP coordinator for the survey link if you are interested in participating. If you have any questions regarding the survey, please contact surveys@ucdavis.edu.


REMINDER: Submit Your GSP Initial Notification

Groundwater sustainability agencies (GSA) are required to notify DWR, in writing, prior to initiating development of a GSP. GSAs must submit all applicable GSP initial notification information to DWR using the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System. The SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System also allows edits to be made to a previously submitted Initial Notification, including the ability to withdraw a submittal.

Also, remember, “If the geographic area to be covered by the plan includes a public water system regulated by the Public Utilities Commission, the groundwater sustainability agency shall provide the written statement to the commission.” See Water Code § 10727.8.

For more information, please see Frequently Asked Questions on GSP Initial Notification Requirements or contact the Regional Coordinators in DWR’s four Regional Offices.

For assistance with the system, please email monica.reis@water.ca.gov.


Connect with Your Basin Point of Contact

DWR has designated Basin Points of Contact to assist local agencies and GSAs as GSPs are developed and implemented and to assist with applications for Technical Support Services and Facilitation Support Services.

To determine your basin point of contact, please see the following links that provide maps and contact information:

For more on DWR’s Assistance and Engagement Programs, click here.

For regional inquiries, please contact sgmp_rc@water.ca.gov.

For general inquiries, please contact sgmps@water.ca.gov.


ENVIRO DOCS/PUBLIC MEETING: Reclamation releases EIS/EIR and schedules public meeting for the proposed Mendota Pool Group 20-year groundwater exchange

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

The Bureau of Reclamation has released for public review the draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Mendota Pool Group 20-year groundwater exchange program.

Under the proposed action, Reclamation would execute a series of exchange agreements with the MPG over a 20-year period. The water exchange would allow MPG farmers to deliver groundwater to the Mendota Pool in exchange for Central Valley Project water delivered via the San Luis Canal for use on approximately 42,316 acres of historically irrigated MPG lands in Westlands. The program incorporates design constraints, management actions, monitoring, and reporting requirements as well as groundwater recharge components intended to replenish the local groundwater basin through use of existing recharge facilities.

The draft EIS/EIR was prepared in accordance with National Environmental Policy Act is available at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=36282.

Public comments will be accepted through Jan. 14, 2019. Reclamation will respond to all substantive comments received and will consider them in the decision-making process.

The release is concurrent with the Westlands public release of the draft EIS/R pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act. Westlands Water District serves as the lead state agency for compliance with CEQA.

A joint public meeting is being held to solicit public comments on the draft EIS/R. The meeting will be held in:

Mendota Branch Library
Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018
3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
1246 Belmont Avenue, Mendota, CA 93640