SGMA news from around the state …

California looks to Australia for ways to manage its groundwater after worst-ever drought:  “In the powerhouse food bowl of California, the impact of its most recent drought — which finally ended in 2017 after eight gruelling years — continues to be felt across the sunshine state.  Farmers, experts and lawmakers are working to find more sustainable ways to drought-proof farms and address the vexed issue of water allocation. And it turns out many farmers and water experts in California are looking to Australia for answers as they face up to the biggest water reforms in the history of the US. … ”  Read more from the Australian Broadcasting Company here: California looks to Australia for ways to manage its groundwater after worst-ever drought

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Siskiyou County groundwater case: After 10 years of fight, county admits defeat:  “The county’s aggressive litigation strategy involved retention of one of the nation’s preeminent natural resource lawyers to advance its legal argument that the common law Public Trust Doctrine does not apply to the county’s issuance of ministerial well construction permits in Scott Valley, according to a press release.  In July of 2019, the County of Siskiyou entered into a $1.7 million settlement agreement with the Environmental Law Foundation, Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations, and Institute of Fisheries Resources, to settle the county’s payment of attorneys’ fees and costs in the case of Environmental Law Foundation, et al v. State Water Resources Control Board and County of Siskiyou (“ELF”), a Writ of Mandate case that the county aggressively litigated for close to a decade, and ultimately lost. ... ”  Read more from the Taft Midway Driller here: Siskiyou County: After 10 years of fight, county admits defeat

Supervisors vote to form Big Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency; goal is to keep local control of water supply:  “The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to move forward with forming the Big Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency, a move county leadership said is necessary to keep local control of the watershed.  The unanimous vote to adopt a resolution to form the new agency – in accordance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which went into effect as part of California Water Code in January 2015 – followed a brief public hearing Tuesday morning. … ”  Read more from Lake County News here: Supervisors vote to form Big Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency; goal is to keep local control of water supply

SACRAMENTO VALLEY

Roseville water update: Groundwater basin recharged“Increasingly, water management in California is a balancing act where solutions must knit together the needs of people, industry, farming, species and the environment.  Managing water to benefit these multiple uses is hard enough if water was a stationary resource – but it’s not. Especially during the winter months, water managers confront complex decisions about when and where water is released from reservoirs for winter flood protection as well as environmental flows and supply needs throughout the year. ... ”  Read more from Roseville Today here:  Roseville water update: Groundwater basin recharged

CENTRAL COAST

The fight over Salinas Valley groundwater heats up as free-for-all nears its end:  “California was the last Western state to pass legislation regulating groundwater: the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 arrived after more than a century of development, intensive agriculture, bouts of drought and the looming threat that our aquifers will dry up.  But the details of who would get to pump what – and the financial cost of achieving groundwater sustainability – are only now becoming clear. Agencies at the local level, like the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin Sustainability Agency, are finalizing the details in the coming months. … ”  Read more from the Monterey County Weekly here: The fight over Salinas Valley groundwater heats up as free-for-all nears its end

Paso Robles Groundwater Sustainability Agency meets to discuss draft plan for basin:  “The Paso Robles Groundwater Sustainability Agency met Wednesday afternoon at the Paso Robles Library Conference Room. The agency includes representatives from the City of Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, San Juan Water District and San Miguel. About 50 people in attendance learned that the draft plan for the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin has been finalized and is available to be viewed on the website, PasoGCP.com.  Among those to speak at the meeting Wednesday afternoon, Steve and Jerry Lohr, who cultivate vineyards on the east side of Paso Robles. Jerry Lohr explained how his managers monitor groundwater levels and how they plan to manage reclaimed waste water from the city of Paso Robles with Lake Nacimiento water to protect water in the groundwater basin. … ”  Read more from the Paso Robles Daily News here: Paso Robles Groundwater Sustainability Agency meets to discuss draft plan for basin

Carpinteria Valley Water District plans sustainable groundwater basin:  “The Carpinteria Valley Water District (CVWD) is in the process of forming a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) for Carpinteria Groundwater Basin (CGB) in partnership with the city of Carpinteria, Santa Barbara County and Ventura County. The GSA is a requirement of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) which was passed in 2014 to ensure better regional management of groundwater use in California.  SGMA aims to have sustainable groundwater management in California by 2042, which is defined as “management and use of groundwater in a manner that can be maintained during the planning and implementation horizon without causing undesirable results.” These undesirable results include chronic depletion of groundwater supply, reduction of storage, significant seawater intrusion, decreased water quality and substantial land subsidence. … ”  Read more from Coastal View here: Carpinteria Valley Water District plans sustainable groundwater basin

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

Caps on groundwater use create a new market in California:  “A long stretch of highway running between Los Angeles and San Francisco separates the dry hills to the west from the green plains of the San Joaquin Valley to the east, where much of America’s fruit, nuts and vegetables are grown. Every couple of miles billboards hint at the looming threat to the valley. “Is growing food a waste of water?” one billboard asks. Another simply says, “No Water, no Jobs”.  In the San Joaquin Valley agriculture accounts for 18% of jobs and agriculture runs on water. Most of it comes from local rivers and rainfall, some is imported from the river deltas upstate, and the rest is pumped out of groundwater basins. … ”  Read more from The Economist here: Caps on groundwater use create a new market in California

Surviving the Next Drought: It’s Political in California’s Central Valley:  “Growers in California’s Central Valley, famous for transforming patches of desert into the world’s most productive farmland, suffered more than any other during a recent stretch scientists mark as the Golden State’s driest since record-keeping began in 1895. The meager rain and snowfall between 2011 and 2015 forced some smaller farmers to give land back to nature or sell their remaining water supplies to bigger, wealthier farmers and developers.  Before the skies finally opened up in late 2016, the saving grace for many Central Valley farmers was groundwater. Farmers that could afford it drilled hundreds of feet below the valley floor, siphoned up water and rescued lucrative crops like almonds, pistachios and grapes. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here: Surviving the Next Drought: It’s Political in California’s Central Valley

Gustine: City eyes groundwater sustainability options:  “The city is facing a fast-approaching deadline for identifying steps that will be taken to achieve groundwater sustainability, as required under state legislation enacted five years ago.  City Manager Doug Dunford told Mattos Newspapers recently that the city, which relies solely on groundwater wells to meet municipal water needs, has until Dec. 31 to submit its plan for achieving sustainability.  “We’re pumping 1,000 acre-feet a year, and 600 acre-feet is being percolated back into the system. We’re losing 400 acre-feet a year that is not recharging the system. That is where we are short,” Dunford explained. ... ”  Read more from the West Side Connect here:  Gustine: City eyes groundwater sustainability options

EASTERN SIERRA

The Owens Valley Groundwater Authority, according to Mono County:  “The Mono County Board of Supervisors heard a tutorial on the Owens Valley Groundwater Authority delivered by Deputy County Counsel Jason Conger at Tuesday’s meeting. The presentation and comments indicate a distinct line has been drawn between Mono’s members on the OVGA and Inyo County.  The bottom line: with the tentative low rating on the Owens Valley groundwater basin, Mono County’s Board doesn’t seem to see any advantage in keeping the OVGA intact. As Supervisor Bob Gardner said, “what’s broken that needs fixing? We need serious conversation to balance Mono County with Inyo’s Owens Lake issues.” … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here: The Owens Valley Groundwater Authority, according to Mono County

Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves well registration ordinance:  “All residents and organizations within the Indian Wells Valley will have to implement register their wells come Oct. 1 following the approval of an ordinance by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board of directors.  The board passed the ordinance unanimously at its Thursday board meeting as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to collect data for a required groundwater sustainability plan.  According to IWV Water District attorney James Worth, who acts as lead legal counsel for the IWVGA in 2019, it is a critical component in developing that plan. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves well registration ordinance

Ridgecrest: Meadowbrook, Searles Valley Minerals protest groundwater model:In light of the recent groundwater modeling scenarios generated by Indian Wells Valley Water Groundwater, some stakeholders in the basin have pushed back, including Searles Valley Minerals and Meadowbrook Dairy.  Lawyers for both entities submitted letters to the Policy Advisory Committee during a special meeting on Aug. 7 contesting the results generated from Model Scenario 6, which is a modified version of a previous scenario.  The scenarios generate data points about how the basin will be impacted after the IWVGA implements its groundwater sustainability plan. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Meadowbrook, Searles Valley Minerals protest groundwater model

Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority water resources manager talks transparency, options:  “Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority Water Resources Manager Steve Johnson touched on several concerns from the public in a lengthy report Thursday morning.  Johnson and his company Stetson Engineers are tasked with developing the IWVGA’s groundwater sustainability plan, a roadmap that will oversee the management of the basin for the next 20 to 50 years.  The top thing on his report Thursday was transparency, or the concern from members of the public, stakeholders and members of the technical and policy advisory committees. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority water resources manager talks transparency, options

Ridgecrest: Stephens grills Hayman on water: “It’s a frequent and recurring item on the Ridgecrest City Council’s agenda: discussing and providing guidance to Councilman Scott Hayman who is the city’s representative to the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority. At the council meeting August 21, however, Mayor Pro Tem Lindsey Stephens used the opportunity to ask several specific pointed questions about the IWVGA and its plans, essentially grilling Hayman on the status of the project.  Stephens hammered on the topic with a relentless list of questions, until Hayman eventually said he did not feel the questioning was fair. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Ridgecrest: Stephens grills Hayman on water

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

San Bernardino district tops 30-year record for groundwater storage: “Like money in the bank, local groundwater aquifers have seen record-breaking deposits this year with a staggering 20 billion gallons saved so far and another two months still left in the water year, the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District has announced.  More than 61,000 acre-feet of snowmelt and rainfall has been diverted from Mill Creek and the Santa Ana River by the district and recharged into the groundwater basin for future use by those who pump water from the basin. Imported water was also used to help supplement the amount of water stored. (An acre-foot contains 326,000 gallons of water, enough to fill a football field a foot deep and to satisfy the needs of the average family for one to two years.) … ”  Read more from Redlands Community News here: San Bernardino district tops 30-year record for groundwater storage

Coachella Valley Commentary: Regional collaboration needed to keep the desert’s groundwater supply healthy, says Trish Rhay:  She writes, “Recent validation by state regulators of the effective and sustainable management of Coachella Valley’s groundwater basins speaks volumes about the importance of collaboration by local water managers to protect our most important resource.  For years, the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD), Desert Water Agency (DWA), Indio Water Authority (IWA) and other local public water agencies across the valley have worked together to protect underground basins — a shared resource that supplies the majority of our drinking water. These local sources are particularly important in times of drought, when imported water is subject to drastic reductions. … ” Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Regional collaboration needed to keep the desert’s groundwater supply healthy