SGMA News from around the state

STATEWIDE NEWS

DWR awards $47 million in grants for groundwater sustainability:  “The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today awarded $47 million in grant funding to 53 applicants to support local agencies in development of plans to manage groundwater basins for long-term sustainability. These grants will support various projects including facilitating community outreach efforts, preparing feasibility studies for proposed actions to restore groundwater supplies, and installing monitoring wells to oversee groundwater levels.  This funding will provide important assistance in successful local implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which establishes a framework for managing the state’s groundwater resources. ... ”  Read more from DWR here: DWR awards $47 million in grants for groundwater sustainability

Groundwater management is a team effort at DWR:  “In California, groundwater is a precious resource that supports the health of our communities, the economy, and the environment.  Groundwater is critical to ensuring a more resilient water future for California, explained Taryn Ravazzini, Deputy Director, Statewide Groundwater Management, with the Department of Water Resources (DWR). Not only does it represent more than half of the state’s water supply in dry years, it is the only source of drinking and irrigation water for many communities, she added. … ”  Read more from DWR News here: Groundwater management is a team effort at DWR

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

Central Valley groundwater markets emerging under SGMA:  “Central Valley farmers may soon have another crop to sell along with almonds, tomatoes and peppers — the groundwater beneath their land.  Proposed groundwater markets have popped up in just about every groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) filed with the state Jan. 31.  One such market is about to launch its first phase within the next a week in Kern County.  The proposed markets are being touted by some as a way to limit groundwater pumping while still allowing farmers the flexibility to optimize their resources. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Central Valley groundwater markets emerging under SGMA

SGMA to dry up one-fifth of irrigated SJ Valley farmland:  “The cost of fallowing upwards of one million acres of farmland across California will be measured in the billions of dollars to the state’s economy as an estimated 85,000 jobs are lost and farm income declines by more than $7 billion annually, according to a university report.  An economic analysis of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), a law passed by the Legislature in 2014 to make groundwater supplies sustainable after decades of over-pumping, paints a grim economic picture for California as the first hurdle towards groundwater sustainability was reached earlier this year. … ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  SGMA to dry up one-fifth of irrigated SJ Valley farmland

San Joaquin Valley: District sues to stop salty water exchange:  “The James Irrigation District in western Fresno County has sued the Westlands Water District over its plan to let farmers pump salty groundwater into the Mendota Pool in exchange for water from the San Luis Reservoir.  The lawsuit could scuttle Westlands’ plans to create a certain supply for its farmers as they, and farmers throughout the Central Valley, adapt to new water uncertainties under the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, a measure to restrict groundwater pumping. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here:  San Joaquin Valley: District sues to stop salty water exchange

EASTERN SIERRA

Owens Valley Groundwater Authority board grows, learns parameters of “sustainability”:  “The Owens Valley Groundwater Authority board took the bulk of last week’s meeting discussing the addition of members within a format established in the Joint Powers Agreement that all members signed nearly three years ago.  The thorny topic: adding a representatives from area tribes, mutual water companies and what are defined as interested parties.  ... ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here: Owens Valley Groundwater Authority board grows, learns parameters of “sustainability”

Owens Valley Groundwater Authority shrinks, major players pick up the financial slack:  “The Owens Valley Groundwater Authority board will need a much smaller table to seat the six remaining members when it meets this afternoon in the Bishop City Council chambers. But, that number could change with the addition of organizations that have been eager for a place at the table.  Tri-Valley Groundwater Management District and Wheeler Crest Community Service District were the latest to drop out of the Authority. The districts won’t participate in the OVGA, but will still have to comply with the sustainability plan. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here: Owens Valley Groundwater Authority shrinks, major players pick up the financial slack

Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves metering standards, requirements:  “The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority signed off on an ordinance and related resolution officially requiring all major pumpers needing metering on all groundwater extraction facilities and pumps during a board meeting on Thursday.  The board met in mostly empty council chambers, fielding questions and comments from a small crowd or remotely due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak to help curb the outbreak. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves metering standards, requirements

CENTRAL COAST

Sustaining Pajaro Valley’s Water:  “The Pajaro Valley enjoys a temperate microclimate, in part because it is situated at the hip of Monterey Bay. It lays like an east-west-oriented horseshoe, with the open end settling around the coastal plains of Elkhorn Slough and its various tributaries and side sloughs. Rimmed by the Santa Cruz Mountains to the north, the Gabilan Range to the south, and the San Andreas Fault at its head, the Pajaro Valley is a unique place in California.  Marks from the state’s past — traces of the indigenous creekside camps to the Mission landmarks and Gold Rush-era place-names — tell part of the valley’s story. Unlike in neighboring areas that have embraced the commuting car culture, the endless lines of perfectly aligned row crops reveal that this valley is still very much a working landscape. … ”  Read more from Estuary News here: Sustaining Pajaro Valley’s Water

VENTURA COUNTY

Casitas pulls out of mediation talks over Ventura River water adjudication:  “An Ojai Valley water district has pulled out of mediation talks with the city of Ventura and others after months of negotiation over water rights.  Those talks started after the city of Ventura filed a cross-complaint in response to a 2014 lawsuit over its own pumping from the Ventura River. Santa Barbara Channelkeeper had filed the lawsuit, alleging the city of Ventura was taking too much water from the river, hurting habitat for steelhead trout and other wildlife. ... ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Casitas pulls out of mediation talks over Ventura River water adjudication