From New Times SLO:
“A jury trial to determine whose groundwater rights should win out in a 5-year-old clash between public water purveyors and private landowners near Paso Robles approached a conclusion in Santa Clara County Superior Court the week of Sept. 20.
In 2013, a small group of North County property owners, led by vintner Cindy Steinbeck, filed a quiet title water rights lawsuit in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, amid anxiety about the drought, its impact on the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, and the regulations set to curb water pumping. … ”
Read more from New Times SLO here: Paso Robles quiet title trial nears end in Santa Clara
From New Times SLO:
“One chapter at a time. That’s how scientists, water officials, and the public are writing the 20-year sustainability plan for the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. Five out of the plan’s 13 total chapters are drafted thus far, covering introductions, basin boundaries, and hydrology.
But that was the easy part. Sustainability discussions are about to get a lot more complicated and challenging as the meat of the plan—future groundwater level targets, well monitoring programs, recharge projects, and financing questions—start to take center stage. … ”
Read more from New Times SLO here: Paso Robles groundwater talks to heat up as state deadline looms
From the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
“A water-sharing project opening a pipeline between Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District may be underway as early as November, serving as a partial solution for the region’s chronic water supply shortage. The two utilities have spent more than a decade researching options for water supply expansion as their populations continue to grow.
Santa Cruz, dependent on river and stream water supplies, does not have enough storage space for its customers’ long-term needs, while Soquel Creek Water District, as with other water agencies in the county, is dependent on underground aquifers that are not refilling as quickly as they are being depleted by well pumping. … ”
Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Santa Cruz, Soquel Creek Water District anticipate water exchange kickoff
“As California begins handing out $2.5 billion in state funds for several new water management projects, a shift is taking place in the ways officials are considering storing water. To contend with the likelihood of future extreme droughts, some of these new strategies rely on underground aquifers — an approach far removed from traditional dam-based water storage.
While diversifying the toolbelt of water management strategies will likely help insulate the state against loss, a group of researchers at Stanford University are drawing attention to a risk they say has long ridden under the radar of public consciousness: the introduction of dangerous chemicals into California groundwater, both through industrial and natural pathways. … “
Read more from KQED here: California’s Plan to Store Water Underground Could Risk Contamination.
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is seeking input via a survey on water quality as it relates to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and the Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP) Regulations. The purpose of this survey is for DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Program (SGMP) to obtain feedback on water quality concerns, which will inform DWR’s continued assistance and guidance to Groundwater Sustainability Agencies as they prepare and implement GSPs with support from interested parties.
The survey will be available until October 10, 2018, and can be accessed here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SGMPwaterquality.
Your participation in this water quality survey is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions or comments, please email SGMP@water.ca.gov.
From the Chico Enterprise-Record:
“Two of the agencies that will manage the water beneath Butte County began to take shape this week, one with some controversy.
Groundwater sustainability agencies are required under the September 2014 law regulating the state’s aquifers, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
The GSAs are supposed to set sustainability goals for the various groundwater basins in the state, develop plans to reach those goals, and then administer the plans to ensure the goals are met. … “
Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Groundwater managing agencies begin to take shape
From the Chico Enterprise-Record:
“The structure of the agencies being established to manage the groundwater beneath Butte County is made clear by two items before the Butte County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
The board is being asked to approve agreements to set up the Vina Groundwater Sustainability Agency and the Wyandotte Creek Groundwater Sustainability Agency.
Sustainability agencies are required under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which was approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Brown in 2014. … “
Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Butte County: Groundwater management agencies before board
From the Ridgecrest Independent:
“The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s policy advisory committee received a comprehensive legal rundown and case history on water rights Thursday night.
In a two-hour meeting, Groundwater Authority special legal counsel Jim Markman highlighted different scenarios, described the difference between overlying water rights (essentially pumping over the land one owns) and appropriators rights (those held by agencies like the IWV Water District), discussed adjudication and possible outcomes for achieving sustainability.
Markman said his task “is to pull all the interests in this basin and have everyone understand their strengths and possible weaknesses of their claims for water production rights,” not advocating for any one group’s water rights or priorities. … “
Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority digests water rights
From the Environmental Defense Fund:
Two new reports are available to aid Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in preparing and implementing their Groundwater Sustainability Plans to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA):
Groundwater Pumping Allocations under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: Guidance for Groundwater Sustainability Agencies
This paper, co-authored with New Current Water and Land, addresses one major dilemma facing Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs): how to comply with SGMA without changing groundwater rights. It starts by providing background on groundwater law and then recommends one approach among four to develop an allocation scheme that is most likely to withstand a court challenge.
- Blog post: http://blogs.edf.org/growingreturns/2018/09/04/groundwater-managers-sgma-compliance/
- Paper: https://www.edf.org/content/groundwater-pumping-allocations-under-californias-sustainable-groundwater-management-act
Depletion Requirements in California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
In this paper, Environmental Defense Fund proposes an approach for GSAs to address surface water depletions – also known as the “sixth deadly sin” or “Undesirable Result No. 6” – under SGMA.
The groundwater manager’s dilemma: How to comply with new California law without changing water rights
From the Environmental Defense Fund’s Growing Returns blog, Christina Babbitt and Daniel M. Dooley with New Current Water and Land write:
“Over the next two years, more than 100 groundwater sustainability agencies in California will have to hammer out a plan to make their groundwater basins sustainable.
But as mangers in many areas work to combat decades of over-pumping, they face a major dilemma: In dividing the groundwater pie to avoid overuse, they can’t change Byzantine groundwater rights that date as far back as 1903.
In a new working paper, “Groundwater Pumping Allocations under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act,” Environmental Defense Fund and New Current Water and Land – a California-based consulting firm – provide water managers with a recommended approach to navigate this challenge and develop plans that are more durable, and thus likely to succeed, under the new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). … “
Read the full post at the Growing Returns blog here: The groundwater manager’s dilemma: How to comply with new California law without changing water rights