SGMA News from around the state …

California’s chronic water overuse leads to sinking towns, arsenic pollution: “When you walk through Jeannie Williams’s sunny orchard, you don’t notice anything wrong. But the problem’s there, underfoot. The land around her — about 250 square kilometres — is sinking. “It’s frightening,” Williams says. “Is the land going to come back up? I don’t know.” She points out the well from which she obtains all of the water she needs to grow organic fruits and vegetables. The well is small and shallow; she only has two acres of crops to water. But her neighbours are far more thirsty, and have been for a very long time. ... ” Read more from CBC here: California’s chronic water overuse leads to sinking towns, arsenic pollution

SACRAMENTO VALLEY

Butte County: Supervisors shelve groundwater plan until next month:  “The Butte County supervisors chose to hold off on an agreement for a new groundwater sustainability plan Tuesday.  The agreement will now be moved onto the next Butte County Board of Supervisors meeting on Oct. 8, as more information was needed from staff.  The agreement that was scheduled to be approved Tuesday would have ushered in groundbreaking research for the Butte subbasin’s groundwater supply, according to Paul Gosselin, director of the county’s Department of Water and Resource Conservation. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Butte County: Supervisors shelve groundwater plan until next month

Meeting Monday on proposed new water district:  “A new water district has been proposed for northwestern Butte County, and a meeting has been scheduled for Monday evening in Durham to provide information and answer questions.  The proposed Tuscan Water District would cover all of Butte County west of Highway 99, from the Tehama County line south to the agricultural water districts in the southwest county. California Water Service’s Chico District, the Durham Irrigation District and the M&T Ranch would be excluded. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Meeting Monday on proposed new water district

BAY AREA

Cities in north Santa Clara County explore water recycling technologies for a sustainable, resilient water supply:  “With increased water demands due to climate change and population growth, solutions for a sustainable and resilient water supply are more critical than ever. That’s why the Santa Clara Valley Water District, now known as Valley Water, and the cities of Palo Alto and Mountain View are exploring a potential partnership to help fill the need for future drinking water supplies through new regional water reuse programs. Water reuse can include either traditional recycled water for non-drinking purposes such as irrigation and industrial needs, but it can also include reusing water for future drinking water supplies through advanced water purification technologies. … ”  Read more from Valley Water News here: Cities in north Santa Clara County explore water recycling technologies for a sustainable, resilient water supply

CENTRAL COAST

Mid-Santa Cruz County groundwater protection planning winds down:  “A group of policymakers planning for the long-term water supply sustainability of Santa Cruz County’s mid-county region are in their final leg of a multi-year process.  The Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency staff members are in the process of generally responding to a handful of public comments on its state-mandated 20-year plan to revive and secure regional groundwater supplies, the Groundwater Sustainability Plan. The 60-day deadline for comment closed last week after two open houses with nine general public comments, three public agencies — Soquel Creek Water District, National Marine Fisheries Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife — and the Nature Conservancy and a consortium of other non-governmental environmental organizations. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Mid-Santa Cruz County groundwater protection planning winds down

Marina leverages new groundwater law to fight Cal Am on desalination project:  “Four years and hundreds of meetings ago, the farmers and elected leaders of the Salinas Valley set out to prove that they can manage their own groundwater supply. They drafted a plan to limit pumping on more than 130 square miles of mostly agricultural land and to invest their own money to end the seepage of ocean water into freshwater aquifers.  This effort – organized by the Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency – seemed to be coalescing ahead of a Jan. 31, 2020 deadline imposed by state law. Then, Marina came along. … ”  Read more from Monterey Weekly here: Marina leverages new groundwater law to fight Cal Am on desalination project

County steps into Salinas Valley, Marina groundwater dispute:  “The county is considering a move aimed at resolving a dispute between the Salinas Valley and the city of Marina over control of the Cemex sand mining plant site potentially threatening local groundwater management efforts.  On Tuesday, County Administrative Officer Charles McKee announced a formal referral from Board of Supervisors chairman John Phillips that requests the county consider declaring itself as the groundwater sustainability agency over any disputed areas of the Salinas Valley basin’s 180/400-foot subbasin. That would include the 450-acre Cemex site where California American Water is planning to drill its desalination project intake wells. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  County steps into Salinas Valley, Marina groundwater dispute

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

California farmers face ‘catastrophic’ water restrictions. Can they adapt to survive? It was 2015 and, as far as John Konda knew, farming still had a viable future in the San Joaquin Valley.  So he expanded.  The Tulare County grower planted 75 acres of pistachios, adding to a farm he’s owned since 2003. Two years later, in order to augment his water supply, he drilled two new groundwater wells. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: California farmers face ‘catastrophic’ water restrictions. Can they adapt to survive?

How the Central Valley became the ‘Appalachia of the West.’ Now, new threats loom for economy:  ” … Water shortages, already the scourge of the Valley, are about to get worse. A powerful state law called the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act will curb access to water and shrink agriculture’s footprint in the next two decades. Thousands of acres will be turned into solar-energy farms and other non-agricultural uses. The long-term effect of climate change, meanwhile, will squeeze water supplies even more.  All of which suggests a bleak future for a region that is among America’s poorest. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: How the Central Valley became the ‘Appalachia of the West.’ Now, new threats loom for economy

Merced Irrigation District workshops continue to discuss groundwater sustainability:  “The Merced Irrigation District (MID) Board of Directors met recently to discuss and receive an update during a public workshop on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  Established by the state legislature in 2015, the law requires communities with overdrafted groundwater basins become sustainable by 2040.  This means that a community is not taking more water than can be replenished back into the local groundwater basin. All groundwater pumpers in the basin are expected to cooperate and provide the best outcome. … ”  Read more from the Merced County Times here: Merced Irrigation District workshops continue to discuss groundwater sustainability

Higher groundwater pumping fees are coming to Oxnard:  “The conversation about increased pumping fees for groundwater in the Oxnard basin continues with seawater invasion and how it relates to the groundwater locally.  The Fox Canyon, Groundwater Management Agency, held its fourth workshop, Aug. 21, and discussed the reasons why the area will reduce pumping in the future to meet its sustainability goals as it moves toward 2040. … ”  Read more from the Tri County Sentry here: Higher groundwater pumping fees are coming to Oxnard

INDIAN WELLS VALLEY

Ridgecrest: Current Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority projections look grim: “The future budget looks grim for the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority, according to a report given by its acting general manager Don Zdeba. Zdeba provided the IWV board of directors with an update on the finances at the Thursday meeting. He noted that while the state has approved a reimbursement check under the Proposition 1 grant it received, and the IWVGA currently has a positive balance, projections aren’t good. The IWVGA’s 2019 budget was approved with $1.71 million in projected revenue and $3.57 million in expenses. ... ” Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Current Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority projections look grim

Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board structure talks future admin structure:  “The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority rolled out concepts for an administrative structure that could eventually cement the new agency as an independent entity — should money ever be found to fund them.  IWVGA Acting General Manager Don Zdeba presented a draft organizational chart, which places the board members for the five voting member agencies at the top. For administrative staff, the roles would include general manager, followed by an administrative assistant and a joint financial officer/benefits coordinator. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board structure talks future admin structure