News Worth Noting: SGMA basin boundary modification request period now open; Final language of 2016 water priorities ballot initiative; CCWD Board approves water transfer policy principles; Enviro docs for Delta salinity stations refurbishment; Updated Central Valley basin plans
SGMA Groundwater Basin Boundary Modification Request Submission Period Now Open
As implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act continues, the first submission period is now open for groundwater sustainability agencies to submit requests to modify the boundaries of the groundwater basins as identified in Bulletin 118. Local agencies have from now until March 31, 2016 to complete their submission.
This is the first basin boundary modification request submission period. Future submission periods will correlate with updates to Bulletin 118 in years ending with 0 or 5, with 2019 being the next identified submission period for the 2020 Bulletin 118 update. There may possibly be an additional submission period in 2018 based upon demand from local agencies. Only local agencies are eligible to request basin boundary modifications, but the process is open to the public for review and comment.
DWR has established a series of supporting documents to guide users through the process, and they can be found at the Basin Boundary Modifications website: http://water.ca.gov/groundwater/sgm/basin_boundaries.cfm.
If seeking a boundary modification, each local agency is required to submit to DWR an Initial Notification to advertise their exploration of the modification prior to submission of the basin boundary modification request. All initial notifications and basin boundary modification requests can be reviewed in the Basin Boundary Modification Request System (BBMRS) here: http://sgma.water.ca.gov/basinmod/. Once a request is submitted, reviewed and deemed by DWR to be complete, a 30-day public input period is opened. Public input can be submitted to each specific request using the BBMRS system. Technical reviews will not be made by the department until the 30-day public input period concludes and local agencies have provided any additional information in response to the public input.
California Water Alliance Releases Final Language of 2016 Water Priorities Ballot Initiative
The California Water Alliance (CalWA) today announced it submitted revised language to the state on December 18, 2016 for its ballot initiative proposed for the 2016 ballot. The measure seeks to provide a long-term fix to California’s dysfunctional and inadequate system for storing and managing the state’s water supply.
“The final proposed initiative – The Water Priorities Constitutional Amendment and New Surface Water and Groundwater Storage Facilities Bond Act – contains a number of improvements to address concerns of stakeholder groups,” said Aubrey Bettencourt, the executive director for CalWA.
“Prior to the filing deadline we met with interested parties from around the state to consider their views and we have amended the measure where appropriate,” Bettencourt continued. “We clarified provisions in the measure that protect existing water rights and added flexibility for expending some funds redirected from an existing water bond measure.”
With the amendments, the proposed ballot initiative is gaining significant momentum from the public as the proponents seek to qualify it for the November 2016 ballot. The California Attorney General will release its title and summary for the measure, kicking off the qualification signature gathering period.
“In the face of prolongued drought, government gridlock and politics as usual, California voters are telling us this initiative gives them a chance to take back direct control of how their water is used,” said Bettencourt. “They, rather than the state, want to manage the water supply, the most basic of our natural resources.”
The proposed initiative, sponsored by George Runner, Vice Chair of the California Board of Equalization, and California State Senator Bob Huff (R-San Dimas), establishes priorities for the state’s use of water in a constitutional amendment. It also redirect unspent High Speed Rail Proposition 1A (2008) and Proposition 1 (2014) water storage bond funds to build new surface water and groundwater storage projects without adding more debt or levying new taxes. The measure makes drinking water and irrigation the primary beneficial water use priorities of the state ahead of all other needs, and is expected to create thousands of construction and permanent jobs throughout the state.
Bettencourt also noted that the measure promotes conservation, storm-water recycling and recharging groundwater aquifers that increase the state’s water supply.
Click here to read the latest version of the initiative.
About the California Water Alliance: The California Water Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan organization comprised of 4,000 members statewide that is dedicated to achieving both short-term relief and a long-term solution to the water emergency afflicting California. To this end, California Water Alliance supports the development of a water infrastructure bond that is comprehensive, and takes into account the needs of all Californians. To learn more, please visit www.californiawateralliance.org
Calaveras County Water District Board approves water transfer policy principles
The Calaveras County Water District Board of Directors unanimously approved water transfer policy principles at a regular board meeting Wednesday, December 9. To the District’s knowledge, no other water agency in the state has formally adopted comprehensive water transfer policy principles of this nature.
The principles will ensure that any water transfer by CCWD would advance the fundamental interests of the District in providing safe, reliable and affordable water supplies in the community for years to come. They were carefully designed to protect and preserve CCWD’s underlying water rights – some dating back to the Gold Rush – by maximizing their beneficial use and in turn improving the long-term reliability and affordability of local water supplies.
“Throughout these principles, there is an emphasis on protecting our local communities’ water supplies now and for generations to come,” said Dave Eggerton, CCWD general manager. “With water rights dating back to the 19th century, we have the ability to partner with other agencies in a responsible and sustainable manner that could be very beneficial to our customers and our region.”
Continue reading here: Calaveras County Water District Board approves water transfer policy principles
Reclamation Releases Draft Environmental Documents for Delta Salinity Stations Refurbishment Project
The Bureau of Reclamation has released for public review a Draft Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a project to refurbish the San Andreas and Staten Island salinity stations within the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta.
There are two monitoring stations in the Delta that measure salinity. The San Andreas Salinity Station, built in the 1960s, is located along the San Joaquin River in Sacramento County. The Staten Island Salinity Station, built in 1985, is located along the Mokelumne River in San Joaquin County. Both stations contain water quality monitoring and telemetry equipment that are in need of refurbishment.
Reclamation proposes to replace the salinity stations with better quality materials to withstand deterioration, and has determined the San Andreas and Staten Island Salinity Stations Refurbishments Project to not significantly affect the quality of the human environment enough to require an environmental impact statement.
The Draft EA and FONSI were prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and are available at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_projdetails.cfm?Project_ID=24155. Comments are due by close of business, Friday, Jan. 29, 2016.
Sacramento River, San Joaquin River, and Tulare Lake Basin Water Quality Control Plans now posted
Updated versions of the Water Quality Control Plans for both the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River Basins and the Tulare Lake Basin have been posted at the Central Valley Water Board website. These latest versions include all amendments adopted by the Central Valley Water Board that were fully approved and are now in effect. You can find the documents here: Central Valley Regional Water Board Basin Plans webpage
Sign up for daily emails and get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. Breaking news alerts, too. Sign me up!
About News Worth Noting: News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations. News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms. If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.