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
From the Sierra Wave:
“As if Fred Stump didn’t make his position on specific groups joining the Owens Valley Groundwater Authority board as voting members clear enough at last month’s meeting, the Mono County Supervisor doubled down Monday afternoon, objecting on ethical terms.
“This is an ethical issue,” he said at the end of a discussion on letters to be sent to potential associate members and interested parties in order to gauge interest. “I’m against votes for government agencies, businesses and special interest groups,” he said. “I want to take the decision on voting (privileges) back to our individual boards.” … ”
Read more from the Sierra Wave here: Report from the Owens Valley Groundwater Authority meeting
New forum topic: Addressing stakeholder apathy
In the forum, there’s a new question:
DWR updates the Commissioners on the evaluation of alternative plans, basin boundary modifications, and basin prioritization
At the November meeting of the California Water Commission, staff from the Sustainable Groundwater Management Program at the Department of Water Resources updated the Commissioners on the various activities of the Department to implement Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
Taryn Ravazzini, the Deputy Director for Special Initiatives and the Executive Sponsor of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Program at the Department of Water Resources, began the presentation by noting that on January 1st of 2018, the Department established the Sustainable Groundwater Management Office, which resides within the Executive Division under Ms. Ravazzini’s management. “This represents the Department’s commitment to SGMA implementation as a priority and does allow for nimble management and direct connection to DWR Executives, both of which are necessary to meet the demands of the aggressive schedule outlined in the Act,” she said.
To continue reading at Maven’s Notebook, click here: CA WATER COMMISSION: Update on implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
From Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment:
“Many arid regions face groundwater security and reliability challenges, such as overdraft and climate change-driven precipitation shifts. Increasingly, water managers are considering recharging aquifers using stormwater and recycled water–Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR). These projects are hindered by a lack of tools to evaluate system design costs and trade-offs. Stanford researchers have developed AquaCharge, a planning tool that can optimize system costs and performance to help water managers make more informed decisions about how MAR can fit into water management strategies. … ”
Read this research brief here: AquaCharge: A Design Tool for Balancing Groundwater Management Trade-Offs
From Michael Campana at the Water Wired blog:
“A process of Incentivized Managed Aquifer Recharge, utilizing ownership of marketable Aquifer Recharge Units is being implemented within Idaho’s Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer. A powerful tool in establishing balanced and sustainable aquifer management, the Incentivized Managed Aquifer Recharge program could have beneficial application in suitable water basins throughout the West.
Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) may be defined as processes designed to move water from land surface to aquifer storage. MAR has been conducted in various locations throughout the world since ancient times. Modern MAR efforts in the western United States have been frequently documented in The Water Report (see Recharge References below). Virtually all of these efforts, however, have been undertaken by or through a governmental entity (state or municipal), or by a private entity at a local scale involving one or just a few wells. The State of Arizona created a basin-wide opportunity for crediting recharge water but this system applies only in Arizona. While localized efforts in other basins have been implemented, to date they do not provide cost-effective incentivized solutions at a basin scale.
The Recharge Development Corporation (RDC) is an Idaho corporation created for the purpose of developing infrastructure, processes, and strategies that will facilitate water retention projects to benefit residents and water users in the State of Idaho.
RDC is helping incentivize Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer entities to be involved in MAR through the application of Incentivized Managed Aquifer Recharge (patent-pending). …
From Bakersfield Now:
“Absent major changes to farming practices and an increase in water supply, Kern County‘s farming juggernaut will have to shrink considerably to meet aggressive new targets for conservation.
A study commissioned by the Kern Groundwater Authority suggests tremendous job losses are a possibility as water district managers and farmers work toward compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. … ”
Read more from Bakersfield Now here: Absent major changes, new groundwater rules will cost Kern County 24,000 jobs