News Worth Noting: State Water Board simplifies recycled water permitting process; Facilitation services available for Groundwater Sustainability Agency formation and plan development; Tidal marsh restoration project clears Delta Stewardship Council’s covered action process
State Water Board Expands its Commitment to Recycled Water With New Permitting Process
From the State Water Resources Control Board:
The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) has approved a new General Order to simplify the permitting process for recycled water projects, advancing the state’s goal of increasing recycled water use statewide.
This new Order, approved Tuesday, will encourage more recycled water projects by providing a single permit that can be used across Regional Water Quality Control Board boundaries. It also establishes conditions for recycled water use and gives authority to an administrator to issue recycled water permits to users.
Expanding water recycling is a key component of the state’s efforts to increase regional self-reliance under the California Water Action Plan, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s roadmap for sustainable water management.
The General Order, which will be administered by the nine Regional Water Boards, applies to the use of treated municipal wastewater for irrigating landscapes and crops; dust control; industrial and commercial cooling; decorative fountains and other uses on a case-by-case basis. The Order does not cover potable reuse projects.
The order affirms recycled water as a resource by permitting its use through water recycling requirements as opposed to waste discharge requirements. The Order replaces the General Waste Discharge Requirements for Recycled Water Use from 2014. Those requirements from 2014 will expire after 60 days.
With the adoption of the Order, any existing permit for recycled water use approved under any of the nine Regional Water Boards’ specific regional General Order requirements will remain in effect for three years. Recycled water permittees must be under the State Water Board’s recycled water General Order, or a new individual permit, once the three-year period ends.
Adoption of the Order is one more step toward the goal of substituting as much recycled water for potable water as possible by 2030. Under the State Water Board’s Policy for Water Quality Control for Recycled Water (Recycled Water Policy), recycled water use should increase by at least one million acre-feet per year from 2002 levels by 2020, and reach two million acre-feet per year by 2030. In the latest data from 2009, recycled water use came in at 669,157 acre-feet per year.
Facilitation services available for Groundwater Sustainability Agency formation and plan development
From the Department of Water Resources:
DWR is offering in-kind facilitation services to support local efforts including forming groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) and developing groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management (SGMA). Facilitation support services from contracted professionals include strategic planning, stakeholder assessments, meeting facilitation, mediation, governance assessment, and public outreach services.
Requests for facilitation support services will be evaluated on a regular basis, and support will vary based on need and funding availability. To date, one facilitation project has been completed, 14 projects have been funded and are underway, another six projects are in various stages of the approval process, and four applications are pending.
For information on program eligibility and submittal requirements please visit the facilitation services webpage at http://water.ca.gov/irwm/partnership/facilitation_services.cfm.
Tidal Marsh Restoration Project Clears Delta Stewardship Council’s Covered Action Process without Appeal
From the Delta Stewardship Council:
The State and Federal Contractors Water Agency certified that its Tule Red Tidal Restoration Project in the Suisun Marsh – as a Covered Action – is consistent with the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan, and no appeal was filed with regard to that certification.
The proposed project would restore approximately 420 acres of existing managed brackish wetlands owned by Westervelt Ecological Services and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to tidal habitat, which would benefit federally and state-listed Delta smelt, longfin smelt, and salmonids.
The project would partially fulfill the 8,000-acre tidal restoration obligations of the Fish Restoration Program Agreement, satisfying the requirements of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2008 Biological Opinion for Delta smelt, the 2009 National Marine Fisheries Service’s Biological Opinion for the Coordination Operations of the State Water Project (SWP) and the Federal Central Valley Project, and the CDFW longfin smelt Incidental Take Permit for the SWP.
The project is also identified as a priority restoration project under the California EcoRestore program.
The 30-day public review/appeal period has concluded and the Certification was not appealed to the Council.
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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.