SGMA in the News

SGMA in the news …

November 30, 2019

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

State tells Napa County to form agency to monitor Napa Valley groundwater:  “California has told Napa County to form a local groundwater agency to ensure the underground reservoir that nurtures world-famous wine country is being kept in good shape.  The county submitted more than 1,000 pages of documents to try to avoid that outcome. It argued that the groundwater basin is already being managed sustainably and is nowhere near to being sucked dry.  But the state Department of Water Resources earlier this month reaffirmed a tentative verdict announced in July by rejecting a county appeal. … ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here: State tells Napa County to form agency to monitor Napa Valley groundwater

BAY AREA

Zone 7 applies for $500,000 grant from state:  “In order to better plan for safeguarding and preserving the Livermore-Amador Valley water supply, Zone 7 Water Agency is turning to the state and applying for a $500,000 grant that would help achieve their goals.  Zone 7 is the sole Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) for the Livermore Valley Groundwater Basin, which it has overseen for more than 45 years. … ”  Read more from the Livermore Independent here: Zone 7 applies for $500,000 grant from state

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

Water in the bank: Coalition of agencies develops ‘historic’ sustainable groundwater plan:  “There’s progress to report in the momentous task of ensuring that San Joaquin County and surrounding communities have enough water to meet anticipated needs for the next 20 years.  Earlier this month, the Eastern San Joaquin Groundwater Authority — or ESJGWA, comprised of 16 area agencies including cities, counties and water districts — recommended that each of its member agencies adopt a mutually agreed upon Groundwater Sustainability Plan by Jan. 8. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: Water in the bank: Coalition of agencies develops ‘historic’ sustainable groundwater plan

Greater Kaweah GSA to partner on easing climate change impacts:  “As California’s groundwater aquifers continue to deplete at what experts consider to be an alarming rate, the state passed a comprehensive groundwater management law in 2014 that is changing how this precious resource is used for the next 20 years and beyond.  Under the law, the state established groundwater sustainability agencies, which are tasked with drafting extensive plans on managing groundwater for their designated water basins. The Greater Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA), which is one of three for the Kaweah subbasin, covers most of the subbasin throughout Tulare and Kings counties. … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Greater Kaweah GSA to partner on easing climate change impacts

Locals gear up for fight to keep Kings River water away from Kern district:  “Just as they did more than two generations ago, Kern County farmers are looking to another Central Valley river to the north to refill their groundwater shortfall.  But this time around, natives in the Kings River watershed are “sharpening their knives” to fight off what they say is a desperate water grab.  The sprawling Semitropic Water Storage District, in the northwest corner of Kern County, has filed an application with the State Water Resources Control Board claiming the Kings River Water Association has forfeited two of its floodwater licenses by not using that water. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Locals gear up for fight to keep Kings River water away from Kern district

Video: Kern County In Depth: Ground water regulations:  “The state legislature in 2014 passed the groundwater sustainability management act, a sweeping and unprecedented attempt to halt the widespread depletion of groundwater basins up and down the state.  The implementation of SGMA, as it’s called, will make California the last state in the western U.S. to regulate access to and use of our groundwater supplies.  Since 2014, newly formed groundwater sustainability agencies, or GSA’s have been hammering out the details of how they will comply with this state law…an extremely complicated and contentious endeavour. … ”  Read more from KGET here: Video: Kern County In Depth: Ground water regulations

Water in Tehachapi: A precious commodity in the past and in our future:  “Historically, water is often valued more than gold, runs short of supply, and is even more needed now than in Tehachapi’s past.  Let’s take a look at the water situation in the greater Tehachapi area from the days of old to the present. … ”  Read more from the Tehachapi News here:  Water in Tehachapi: A precious commodity in the past and in our future

CENTRAL COAST

Finished Paso basin sustainability plan awaits final approval:  “Sidestepping continued grumbles from the agricultural industry, the Paso Robles Basin Cooperative Committee recommended final approval of a finished groundwater sustainability plan on Nov. 20, a move that precipitates its submission to the California Department of Water Resources.  The 20-year groundwater plan, required by state law, aims to bring the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin back into balance. … ”  Read more from New Times SLO here: Finished Paso basin sustainability plan awaits final approval

OWENS VALLEY/EASTERN SIERRA

Paiute traditions inform water management practices in once-lush Owens Valley:  “About 250 miles north of Los Angeles, there is a long valley known to the Big Pine and Bishop Northern Paiute people of the Owens Valley — the Nüümü (Paiute) and Newe (Shoshone) — as Payahüünadü, “The Land of Flowing Water.”  For at least 15,000 years, these Northern Paiute tribes have tended their homeland, more recently also known as the Owens Valley. The beloved region of green, well-tended gardens and wetlands, nestled between mountain ranges to the east and west, along California’s eastern edge, was nurtured by extensive and sophisticated irrigation ditches the Northern Paiute built and maintained to channel water from the seasonal, and wildly fluctuating snowmelt flowing down from the nearby Sierra Mountain Range. … ”  Read more from KCET here: Paiute traditions inform water management practices in once-lush Owens Valley

Lawsuit aims to save desert ag: Draft groundwater sustainability plan would end large-scale agriculture in Indian Wells Valley:  “Water managers trying to bring groundwater into balance in the severely overdrafted Indian Wells Valley basin near Ridgecrest laid out a draft plan last month that would essentially mean the end of large-scale agriculture in that desert region.  “We are giving options to (ag) pumpers so they understand they have a limited future here and can make the best decisions for their businesses,” said Kern County Supervisor Mick Gleason, who represents the area and sits on the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: Lawsuit aims to save desert ag: Draft groundwater sustainability plan would end large-scale agriculture in Indian Wells Valley

Ridgecrest: Spelling out post-GSP water fee types:  “With the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority moving at increasing speed to wrap up the development of a groundwater sustainability plan by Jan. 31, the question posed is: how will one pay for administration costs and projects the plan proposes.  Ridgecrest City Attorney Keith Lemieux, who is part of the IWVGA’s legal team, provided an overview on mechanisms that would ensure revenue streams over in the coming decades. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Ridgecrest: Spelling out post-GSP water fee types

Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Water District board discusses GSP impact:  “The Indian Wells Valley Water District board discussed its own place in the IWV Groundwater Authority and how its groundwater sustainability would impact them after its implementation.  Board member Ron Kicinski noted that with the release of the entire draft GSP to the IWVGA’s advisory committees and to the public in general, questions will be coming.  The water district is one of five voting member agencies on the IWVGA, with the others being Kern County, the City of Ridgecrest, Inyo and San Bernardino counties. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Indian Wells Valley Water District board discusses GSP impact

Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority report: positive 2020 budget requires increased pump fee:  “Budget discussions will be the top item for the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority as it tackles its 2020 finances at its board meeting on Thursday. The open session starts at 11 a.m. in the Ridgecrest City Hall council chambers, 100 W. California Ave.  According to a staff report, the budget IWVGA initially faced a negative balance of $515,718 by the end of 2020, in part due to underperforming pump fee revenues and the required projected expenses for running the groundwater authority. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority report: positive 2020 budget requires increased pump fee

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Santa Clarita: Water heads name advisers to groundwater agency:  “It wasn’t easy for water officials tasked with hammering out a plan to manage the Santa Clarita Valley’s groundwater to find seven people to serve as the agency’s advisory group, but on Monday, they approved a list of double the number they sought.  Members of the Santa Clarita Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency met Monday afternoon for special meeting, in part, to define which volunteers would serve as groundwater advisers. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Clarita Valley Signal here: Santa Clarita: Water heads name advisers to groundwater agency

Category: News Article

State Water Board streamlines permitting process for diversions of floodwater and other high flows to support groundwater sustainability

November 14, 2019
Coachella Valley Water District’s Thomas E. Levy Groundwater Replenishment Facility.  Photo by Department of Water Resources

Press release from the State Water Resources Control Board:

In an effort to expedite its water right permitting process, the State Water Resources Control Board announced today it has streamlined requirements for applicants seeking to divert surface water to underground storage during floods and other high flow conditions.

The new measures are expected to directly benefit groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) and associated local entities striving to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and replenish overdrafted groundwater basins.

The changes, which have no impact on existing laws and regulations, simplify the permitting pathway for capturing water during high flow events and storing that water underground, a process known as recharge. The streamlined approach also reduces application filing fees and annual permit and license costs.

“Achieving groundwater sustainability is one of California’s most pressing water management challenges,” said State Water Board Chair E. Joaquin Esquivel. “With a more variable hydrology expected, it’s critical that we prepare to capture floodwaters and other high flows, increase groundwater recharge, and better prepare for the effects of climate change. These permitting revisions will help make that process more nimble and efficient, while still protecting fish and senior right holders.”

California depends on groundwater for a third of its annual water supply, and significantly more during droughts. Parties who divert to underground storage and choose this less complicated approach must meet certain criteria and comply with a water availability analysis that monitors diversion of high flows during the winter.

Within the December-to-March time frame, applicants can choose between two diversion triggers: (1) when a river or stream’s daily flows exceed the 90th percentile and no more than 20 percent of the total stream flow is taken; or (2) a flood control agency determines actions are needed to protect the public.

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which became law in 2015, empowers local agencies to manage groundwater resources for long-term sustainability. The long-term planning requirement provides a buffer against drought and climate change and contributes to reliable water supplies, regardless of weather patterns.

New groundwater recharge projects will likely be proposed and implemented by many GSAs as part of sustainable groundwater management. The new streamlined recharge permitting measures are designed to help GSAs obtain water right permits faster to help meet timelines for achieving sustainability.

GSAs also are encouraged to pursue “umbrella” permitting to cover dozens and possibly hundreds of diversion locations in a watershed and large areas of use, such as a water district. This makes broadscale recharge, particularly on agricultural lands, more feasible. It allows a water right holder to manage the diversion, storage and extraction of water on a landowner-by-landowner basis, from one high flow event to the next, or from year to year, without additional approvals from the Board. This enhances efficiency in permitting and annual reporting, gaging and measurement requirements, and accounting.

The State Water Board intends to hold an informational item on the streamlined permitting pathway as part of its regularly scheduled board meeting on November 19.

Information about recharge and underground storage can be found on the State Water Board website.

Category: Announcement

Groundwater: Deadline nears for completion of local plans

November 14, 2019

“With roughly two and a half months remaining before a state-mandated deadline, local agencies overseeing critically overdrafted groundwater basins are working to finalize sustainability plans as required by a 2014 state law.

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, requires local groundwater sustainability agencies in critically overdrafted basins to submit their plans by next Jan. 31. The plans must describe how local agencies will achieve groundwater sustainability by 2040, and should include measurable objectives and milestones in five-year increments. … ”

Continue reading at Ag Alert by clicking here.


Putting the ‘Flood’ in Flood-MAR: Reducing Flood Risk While Replenishing Aquifers

November 14, 2019

Water management in California includes a diverse range of strategies that often requires a community of water experts to come together, collaborate, and solve issues ranging from infrastructure to operations.

Scientists, water managers, and other stakeholders had an opportunity to do just that during the 2019 Flood-MAR Public Forum held Oct. 28 to 29 in Sacramento. Hosted by the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the event provided a venue to discuss the implementation of Flood-MAR projects throughout the state.

Click here to continue reading at DWR’s News page.


NEW RESOURCE: Geophysical and Hydrophysical Logs and Data Base

November 14, 2019

Provided by: RAS REALtime Aquifer Services and Dewey Data

Geophysical logs with electrical resistivity profiles are available in an area including the broader Central Valley.  When a new well is drilled, logs are acquired to identify water bearing locations and geologic parameters.  We have logs from approximately 30,000 wells which have been drilled over periods of drought and flood.  Reviewing these logs can potentially help evaluate larger aquifer parameters.  Some wells also have hydrophysical logs, which indicate the specific flow at different depths in a particular well.  Logs can also indicate saltwater intrusion and other water quality.

Click here for more information.

Click here to view more tools and data sources.

Do you have a tool or data that should be listed in the directory?  Send me an email and let me know!


Q&A: Perspectives on Groundwater Sustainability: Jane Wagner-Tyack with the League of Women Voters of California

November 14, 2019

How did you get involved with sustainable groundwater management issues?

I have been following water issues in San Joaquin County for a long time because I used to work with Restore the Delta, which focuses on protecting fisheries and farming in the San Francisco Bay-Delta and estuary. While working on these local issues, I began following water policy for the California League of Women Voters (LWV). I’m now co-director for the LWVC Water committee, and I’m the League’s legislative analyst for water. The state League has a long relationship with California’s environmental and environmental justice NGOs, which is how I met Jennifer Clary.  Jennifer talked to us about trying to get LWV people involved in the SGMA process around the state.

Click here to continue reading this article at the We All Live Downstream blog.


FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Proposition 68 Groundwater Treatment and Remediation Grant Program Proposal Solicitation

November 14, 2019

The Division of Financial Assistance (DFA) is pleased to announce that the Proposition 68 Groundwater Treatment and Remediation Grant Program funding solicitation is now open.  Information regarding the solicitation process is available on the Proposition 68 Groundwater Treatment and Remediation Grant Program website<https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/grants_loans/propositions/prop68.html>.

DFA staff will conduct a webinar on December 2, 2019 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm to provide useful information and guidance on how to apply.  Please use this link to join the webinar: Join Skype Meeting<https://meet.lync.com/cawaterboards/aparjeet.rangi/8MYFWVTF>

The solicitation will close January 24, 2020 at 5:00 pm.

If you have any questions, please contact us at gwquality.funding@waterboards.ca.gov<mailto:gwquality.funding@waterboards.ca.gov>, Subject Line: Prop 68 Groundwater Treatment and Remediation Grant Program Proposal Solicitation.

Keywords: Funding

SGMA news from around the state

November 14, 2019

Sonoma County drills wells to study groundwater sustainability:  “The shallow wells Sonoma County’s water agency is drilling near 11 waterways have nothing to do with delivering water to 600,000 residents of Sonoma and Marin counties.  Instead, the 21 wells will serve as measuring sticks to determine whether pumping groundwater in the county’s three basins — the Santa Rosa Plain, Petaluma Valley and Sonoma Valley — is curbing the flow in creeks inhabited by federally protected fish and other species. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Sonoma County drills wells to study groundwater sustainability

Supervisors submit letter supporting Sierra Valley groundwater grant:  “Members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors ratified a letter in support of the Sierra Valley Groundwater Management District application for grant funding Tuesday, Nov. 5.  The letter is for a Sustainable Groundwater Management (SGM) Grant, Round 3 SGM planning.  “Plumas County strongly supports the Sierra Valley Groundwater Management District application for Round 3 program funding as this funding is critical to achieving sustainable groundwater management in the Sierra Valley Groundwater Basin,” said supervisor and Board Chairperson Kevin Goss in the letter. … ” Read more from Plumas County News here: Supervisors submit letter supporting Sierra Valley groundwater grant

Fresno County: A new era in groundwater management begins:  “A new era in the sustainable management of groundwater in a portion of Fresno County for the next 20 years and beyond was initiated by the McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA) Board of Directors with the unanimous adoption of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) at their November 6 meeting. ... ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: Fresno County: A new era in groundwater management begins

Paso Robles area farmers share opinions on water management districts:Farmers Dana Merrill and Jerry Reaugh talk about the need for water management in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin basin, which suffers from overdraft. They worry that if extreme restrictions are imposed it will impact the local economy.”  Watch the video from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Paso Robles area farmers share opinions on water management districts

SLO County supervisors fire back at state ag board:  “A confrontational morning session of the Nov. 5 San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting ended in the narrow approval of a written retort to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture, which recently criticized SLO for its handling of water policy over the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.  The supervisors’ 3-2 vote delivered the four-page response letter, in which Chief Administrative Officer Wade Horton wrote that the county “adamantly disagrees” with the state ag board’s complaint that commercial agriculture was insufficiently involved in the development of a groundwater sustainability plan. ... ”  Read more from News Times SLO here: SLO County supervisors fire back at state ag board

Kern farmland values begin to stabilize as investors absorb groundwater restrictions:  “A new report shows market conditions in local agriculture are generally stabilizing — though not improving much — as investors in Kern County farmland take in the bad news about upcoming restrictions on groundwater pumping and, to a lesser degree, lower commodity prices and a continuing labor shortage.  Thursday’s update from Bakersfield’s Alliance Ag Services Inc. points to big year-over-year drops in the value of properties with minimal surface-water supplies, and more modest decreases in areas with more reliable access to irrigation. ... ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here:  Kern farmland values begin to stabilize as investors absorb groundwater restrictions

Kern County: Underground water impacting farmland property value:  “Kern County is seeing a drop in agricultural property value.  The water crisis plaguing the state is also affecting the value of farms here in Kern County.  Michael Ming, Lead Appraiser for Alliance Ag Services, said groundwater sustainability efforts have proven to be a big challenge. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Kern County: Underground water impacting farmland property value

Palmdale Water District agrees to take on monitoring costs:  “Continuing an ongoing, joint effort to monitor groundwater levels and quality in the Antelope Valley, the Palmdale Water District on Oct. 28, agreed to fund its portion of the costs for the next year.  A group of several Valley water agencies annually contract with the U.S. Geological Survey to perform the monitoring duties, using a series of established wells from various points in order to create a picture of the water levels beneath the ground and the overall water quality. … ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here: Palmdale Water District agrees to take on monitoring costs

Category: News Article

GROUNDWATER TWO-FOR: The disconnect between groundwater legal systems and groundwater hydrology; Proactively managing groundwater to sustain communities and nature in an uncertain future

November 6, 2019
David Sandino and Maurice Hall present their big ideas on groundwater management

The Groundwater Resources Association of California (GRA) created the David Keith Todd Distinguished Lecture Series to honor Dr. David Keith Todd, a GRA 1999 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, for his enormous contributions to groundwater science and technology, and to foster interest and excellence in applied groundwater science and technology. Two lecturers are selected with the lectures offered in Northern and Southern California at universities, statewide and regional GRA events, and GRA’s Annual Conference and Meeting.

The 2019 lectures featured David Sandino, Senior Staff Counsel at the Department of Water Resources, who spoke about the disconnect between legal groundwater systems and how the system actually works, describing the areas where they do not accurately reflect the physical environment and pose problems for effective groundwater management; and Maurice Hall, Associate Vice President of Ecosystems-Water at the Environmental Defense Fund, who spoke of how more holistic and inclusive groundwater management can increase the resilience of our water supply and sustain and enhance the services that groundwater basins provide for a wide range of stakeholders.

At the Groundwater Resources Association’s 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, Mr. Sandino and Mr. Hall gave brief presentations of their lectures.

Click here to read this article at Maven’s Notebook.


SGMA Update: List of San Joaquin Valley GSAs and GSPs

November 6, 2019

“SGMA uses Department of Water Resources Bulletin 118 to define basins and sub basins and assign them numbers. The San Joaquin Valley Basin is number 5-22.

Within it are sub basins with their numbers following a decimal. Each sub basin one Groundwater Sustainability Agency or several, but DWR will only recognize one representative GSA per sub basin.

Each GSA must develop a Groundwater Sustainability Plan on its own or as a contribution to an overarching GSP as again, DWR will only deal with one GSP per sub basin. … ”

Continue reading at Cal Ag Today here: SGMA Update: List of SGMA GSAs and GSPs

Category: News Article