“County government is considering pulling out of a coalition of local water agencies after failing to secure blanket immunity from lawsuits that could arise from efforts to rein in local groundwater pumping.
The proposal follows a written assurance by state water officials that the county’s withdrawal from the Kern Groundwater Authority will not, by itself, jeopardize local control of groundwater use across much of the area. Some local water agencies had worried it would. … “
Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Kern County proposes walking away from groundwater management role it previously embraced
From the Daily Democrat:
“The immediate, physical impact of the Camp Fire is plainly obvious to anyone who lost one of the nearly 14,000 homes in the blaze, or who sees the blistered remains of buildings that once made up the town of Paradise.
But less immediately visible are the scars wildfire can inflict on the local environment, including surface water, groundwater and the wildlife population. … “
Read more from the Daily Democrat here: Camp Fire effect on groundwater, wildlife still uncertain
From the Antelope Valley Press:
“The Antelope Valley Watermaster, the body tasked with overseeing the 2015 court settlement that set limits on groundwater pumping for users across the Valley, will look to reduce administrative costs in the coming year by shifting some of the work to staff from the contracted watermaster engineer, now that procedures are in place to make some matters more or less routine.
On Wednesday, the watermaster board accepted a proposal put forth by the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency, the Palmdale Water District and the Quartz Hill Water District to provide administrative services for the coming year for a proposed $108,901. … “
Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here: Antelope Valley: Watermaster staff cuts near?
From Environmental Monitor:
“In drought-stressed areas like California where every drop in the aquifer counts, seismic noise may be the key to monitoring water. Harvard University PhD student and principal investigator Tim Clements spoke to EM about this recent work, and how it might be a game changer for water watchers across the country.
“The inspiration for this research was the historic drought in California from 2011 to 2017,” explains Clements. “This was the driest period in recorded history in the state. We started this research after California had implemented the first mandatory water restrictions in state history in 2015.” … “
Read more from Environmental Monitor here: Tracking aquifer water with seismic noise
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.
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.
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 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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For general inquiries, please contact email@example.com.
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
Join us for a live demo of the Groundwater Exchange on *December 4th* to learn more about key features and opportunities to engage with the site and others during this webinar hosted by the Groundwater Exchange, Stanford University’s Water in the West, and Environmental Defense Fund. We will be joined by Herb Smart, a regulatory analyst at the Turlock Irrigation District who will discuss how water agencies can use the Groundwater Exchange.
From Pacific Standard:
“In a legal battle between a Californian tribe and the state’s water agencies, experts are seeing a turning point in the history of United States water rights, potentially affecting how water is controlled across the entire country.
In November of last year, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, concerned about the effects of climate change and the quality of the water in the aquifer, brought against the Coachella Valley Water District and the Desert Water Agency.
This Supreme Court decision left standing a Ninth Circuit ruling, which established—for the first time—the principle that tribes have priority over their reservations’ groundwater. … ”
Read more from the Pacific Standard here: A legal battle in the Coachella Valley could transform how California – and the nation – uses water
From the San Diego Union Tribune:
“It’s back to square one for the desert community of Borrego Springs, which is facing the daunting task of reducing its consumption of water by at least 75 percent in the coming decades.
Mostly lost in the hubbub surrounding the Nov. 6 election was the defeat of Proposition 3, an $8.8 billion state water bond. Had it passed, Borrego Springs would have received $35 million to fallow most of the 3,800 acres of citrus and other farms in the northern part of the community. … ”
Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here: Defeat of water bond imperils desert community of Borrego Springs