Q&A: Perspectives on Groundwater Sustainability: Jane Wagner-Tyack with the League of Women Voters of California
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.
FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Proposition 68 Groundwater Treatment and Remediation Grant Program Proposal Solicitation
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 email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>, Subject Line: Prop 68 Groundwater Treatment and Remediation Grant Program Proposal Solicitation.
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
GROUNDWATER TWO-FOR: The disconnect between groundwater legal systems and groundwater hydrology; Proactively managing groundwater to sustain communities and nature in an uncertain future
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.
“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
“A technique that would help California manage floodwater and replenish groundwater has gained more attention, and removing barriers to the strategy known as Flood-MAR provided the focus for a conference in Sacramento. F
lood-managed aquifer recharge involves moving floodwater from surface streams onto land where it could percolate into a groundwater basin. Though the concept sounds simple, it brings complications that include managing the floodwater, finding appropriate land to accept it and establishing rights to the water involved. … ”
Read more from Ag Alert here: Water officials work to assist recharge projects
“New solar energy installations may be headed to the valley portion of Kern County as investors, government officials and advocacy groups weigh options for reusing land that will have to be taken out of production as a result of state restrictions on groundwater pumping.
Photovoltaic solar arrays, for years an attractive investment for local farmland owners, would appear to align with California’s ambitious goal of meeting all its electricity needs with renewable energy. … ”
Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: Farmland owners look to solar as groundwater restrictions loom
“Jovita Torres Romo lives in a grayish bungalow surrounded by cactus and succulents and strung with Christmas lights. It’s located on one of the handful of streets that make up Tombstone Territory, an unincorporated Fresno County community that’s been her home for 30 years. …
A tiny community on the outskirts of the City of Sanger, Tombstone is a bellwether for groundwater issues—one of the reasons Governor Gavin Newsom chose the community as the location to sign the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Act into law earlier this year. … ”
Read more from KVPR here: Disadvantaged communities claim a stake in state groundwater overhaul
San Luis Obispo Supervisors react to ag board letter regarding Paso basin: “San Luis Obispo County supervisors offered their reactions on Oct. 22 to a recent California State Board of Food and Agriculture letter that levied criticism against the county’s approach to groundwater management in Paso Robles. The Sept. 30 ag board letter shared concerns about “limited” ag industry involvement in developing sustainability plans for the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, as part of complying with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). … ” Read more from New Times SLO here: San Luis Obispo Supervisors react to ag board letter
Look out for a helicopter hoisting a giant hexagon over Paso. Here’s what it’s up to: “In the next few weeks, a large hexagon will soar through the sky, dangling from a low-flying helicopter over the rural towns and farms east of Paso Robles. It isn’t the latest trend in skydiving. Rather, it’s the frame for an aerial mapping technology that California is borrowing from Denmark to study how water moves underground. That’s important information to have. … ” Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Look out for a helicopter hoisting a giant hexagon over Paso. Here’s what it’s up to
Selma: New laws may result in water rate increases: “In order to keep up with the State’s underground water recharge laws, sooner or later, local water rates will likely need to increase. That was the message local water management officials gave in a joint presentation at the Oct. 21 Selma City Council. … ” Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here: New laws may result in water rate increases
Bakersfield: Farmers urged to think big and small to survive groundwater cutbacks: “The thinking started small and then grew much bigger at a gathering Tuesday in Bakersfield that was intended to provide a “survival toolkit” for farmers and water managers facing drastic restrictions on Central Valley groundwater pumping. Irrigation and other technical specialists opened the meeting by promoting ways to maximize the region’s existing water resources. Discussions ranged from individual investments in desalination to gathering water-use data as a way for farmers to defend against government accusations of over-pumping. … ” Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Farmers urged to think big and small to survive groundwater cutbacks
Lois Henry: Kern groundwater shortfall numbers closer to reality: “New numbers coming in from water districts to the Kern Groundwater Authority show a groundwater overdraft of 249,644 acre-feet a year — and that’s a good thing. “At the last meeting, I admonished water managers to get serious about this, and I’m pleased to report that they have,” said Dennis Mullins, chairman of the KGA, during Wednesday’s meeting. He referred to the Sept. 25 meeting at which he said it was “obvious that some districts have created water with their paperwork” and that the state would not accept such “phony numbers.” … ” Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: Lois Henry: Kern groundwater shortfall numbers closer to reality
Searles Valley Minerals reasserts water claims to IWVGA board: “Searles Valley Minerals reasserted that its right to pump water from the Indian Wells Valley during public comment at the IWV Groundwater Authority meeting on Oct. 17. Tom Bunn, SVM’s attorney, cited that this right trumps the Navy’s 1943 federal reserve rights, the year that the naval air facility at China Lake was established. … ” Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Searles Valley Minerals reasserts water claims to IWVGA board
Montecito’s ‘lousy’ ground water basin: “The groundwater basins on most of the urban South Coast are drought buffers of last resort, to be conserved for pumping in emergencies. But in Montecito, as many as 1,500 private well owners may have “straws” in the same small basin as the Montecito Water District with its 12 public wells, a team of consultants told the district board this month. … ” Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here: Montecito’s ‘lousy’ ground water basin
Dr. Douglas Tolley gives an explanatory presentation on integrated hydrologic modeling, including how models are coupled and key terms such as sensitivity analysis, model calibration, and uncertainty analysis
Douglas Tolley recently finished his PhD from UC Davis where his research focuses on the development, calibration, and prediction uncertainty of groundwater models. In this presentation from the Groundwater Resource Association’s Western Groundwater Congress, Dr. Tolley focused on integrated hydrologic model development and evaluation from the standpoint of a non-modeler with the goal of providing the layperson with a fundamental understanding of what integrated hydrologic modeling is, as well as applications and processes involved with model development itself, such as sensitivity analysis, calibration, and uncertainty analysis.