Panel discusses water rights and pumping allocations, groundwater recharge as a beneficial use, public trust doctrine and groundwater, and the fee authorities for GSAs
From Maven’s Notebook:
In 2014, California passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which required all groundwater basins designated as high or medium priority to form Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to prepare locally-developed plans to bring the basin into sustainability. Since the legislation took effect, many agencies and organizations have concerns about how to best meet the requirements of the law.
Whenever a new law is passed, particularly like the SGMA, challenges arise about how to implement the new policy. At the Groundwater Resources Association’s Western Groundwater Congress, a panel of experts discussed emerging issues as agencies work to develop their plans.
“Mutual water companies and environmental groups have been waiting a year to find out what their participation in the Owens Valley Groundwater Authority might look like. The question of Associate Members and Interested Parties was on last Thursday’s agenda, but potential members of either category may never get a seat at the table.
The Joint Powers Authority that set the guidelines for the formation of the Owens Valley basin’s groundwater sustainability agency spelled out participation of groups other than governmental agencies. It was complicated, but gave a voice to groups outside the immediate circle. … “
Read more from the Sierra Wave here: Apparently, size matters to some on the Owens Valley Groundwater Authority board
From the Harvard Gazette:
“Seismic noise — the low-level vibrations caused by everything from subway trains to waves crashing on the beach — is most often something seismologists work to avoid. They factor it out of models and create algorithms aimed at eliminating it so they can identify the signals of earthquakes.
But Tim Clements thinks it might be a tool to monitor one of the most precious resources in the world — water. A graduate student working in the lab of Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Marine Denolle, Clements is the lead author of a recent study that used seismic noise to measure the size and water levels in underground aquifers in California. … ”
Read more from The Harvard Gazette here: Study uses seismic noise to track water levels in underground aquifers
From the Ventura County Star:
“A board that manages groundwater allocations made no final decisions on a pumping formula last week, but gave preliminary support to a proposal that restricts agricultural users.
The Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency considered a plan Wednesday that would allow agricultural uses to pump 56,000 acre-feet of water starting next year and municipal and industrial uses to pump 36,000 acre-feet, representing a 60 percent vs. 40 percent split between the two groups. … ”
Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Ventura County: Groundwater agency mulls multitude of allocation plans, postpones final decision
“The San Benito County Water District (SBCWD) is initiating a Groundwater Sustainability Plan in compliance with California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The plan is being done in partnership with the Santa Clara Valley Water District. The development of this plan, which is required to be in place by 2022, encourages community involvement and input, according to a recent press release.
The public is invited to attend and participate in the first workshop, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 14 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Hollister Veterans’ Memorial Building, Room 218 at 649 San Benito Street in Hollister. Refreshments will be provided. … ”
Read more from Benitolink here: San Benito: Community invited to first workshop on Groundwater Sustainability Plan
From The Union:
“The Nevada Irrigation District Board of Directors received an update about the Groundwater Sustainability Plan Development and authorized a contract for work at Scotts Flat Campground, during its Wednesday meeting.
Directors got an update on the California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act from the West Placer Groundwater Sustainability Agency, including development of the required Groundwater Sustainability Plan. … ”
Read more from The Union here: Nevada Irrigation District directors hear groundwater plan update
There are interesting groundwater events coming up I want to alert you to:
On Saturday, October 27, Self Help Enterprises is hosting a Groundwater Sustainability Workshop in Visalia from 10am to 3pm. To RSVP, contact: Sonia Sanchez, (559) 802-1689, SoniaS@selfhelpenterprises.org
On Wednesday, October 31st, a SGMA Survival Roundtable at the Center for Irrigation Technology at Fresno State from 2pm to 4pm. Waterwrights.net and DisinfectWater present a discussion about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014. Click here for more information and to register.
On Monday, November 5, a groundwater recharge workshop in Acampo from 9am to 12pm. Presented by Sustainable Conservation, the workshop will focus on how farmers, landowners and water districts can use active and fallow farmland to increase groundwater recharge while avoiding crop health problems, minimizing nutrient leaching and disruption of annual farm operations. Click here for more information and to register.
For more groundwater events, check out our groundwater calendar. And be sure to send us your groundwater-related events for inclusion.
Four essential policy reforms are needed to reduce the social, economic, and environmental costs of future droughts, says Dr. Mount
From Maven’s Notebook:
California’s climate is changing. Hotter temperatures, a shrinking snowpack, shorter and more intense wet seasons, rising sea level, and more volatile precipitation—with wetter wet years and drier dry years—are stressing the state’s water management system. Recent climate projections indicate that the pace of change will increase. To avoid unwanted social, economic, and environmental consequences, the water system will need to adapt to greater climate extremes and growing water scarcity.
Dr.Jeff Mount is senior fellow with the Public Policy Institute of California, Water Policy Center. At the Western Groundwater Congress, hosted by Groundwater Resources Association of California, he argued that managing groundwater resources sustainably is the most important climate adaptation measure that the state can implement, and discussed four essential reforms are needed to reduce the social, economic, and environmental costs of future droughts. … “
Read the article from Maven’s Notebook here: DR. JEFF MOUNT: Making groundwater a centerpiece of managing the droughts of the future
From the Ventura County Star:
“A state water management agency will consider a new pumping allocation formula on Wednesday that city officials fear will lead to higher water rates. The Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency board is expected to vote on an ordinance that sets pumping allocation for agricultural and municipal users.
The proposal calls for municipal and industrial users to pump no more than 35,000 acre-feet of groundwater a year, representing less than 40 percent of the total allocation. There are two groups that pump water from the Oxnard and Pleasant Valley basins — agricultural and municipal and industrial. Negotiations have been taking place for years with the groundwater management agency as it prepares a sustainability plan under state conservation mandates. … ”
Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Ventura County: Groundwater allocation between cities and agriculture up for discussion
From Plumas County News:
“The public will have an opportunity to learn about local implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in the Sierra Valley Basin at a workshop Thursday, Oct. 25, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Sierra Christian Church, 81059 Highway 70, in Beckwourth. … “
Continue reading at Plumas County News here: Public workshop to discuss sustainable groundwater management in Sierra Valley