NEWS WORTH NOTING: State Water Board approves Prop 1 stormwater implementation grants; SGMA Implementation: Submitting alternatives to Groundwater Sustainability Plans; Boxer to introduce bill protecting water of tribes and municipalities

State Water Board Approves Proposition 1 Storm Water Implementation Grants

From the State Water Resources Control Board:

SWRCB logo water boardsToday the State Water Resources Control Board announced it is awarding more than $100 million in grant funds to municipalities and special districts statewide to capture stormwater and put it to beneficial use. Twenty-seven projects are benefiting from the grants, ranging from major infrastructure to capture stormwater that recharges depleted groundwater supplies, to neighborhood projects that infiltrate stormwater and remove pollutants while creating greenspace. With matching local dollars, the total value of the projects supported by the state grant funds is nearly $300 million.

“We are delighted to help some of California’s most innovative communities address their critical water supply needs and protect water quality at the same time,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus. “Necessity being the mother of invention, these communities have seen that the stormwater running down the gutter is a waste of a potential resource and are coming up with creative ways to capture it and put it to good use. Using stormwater to recharge our depleted groundwater aquifers or replace precious drinking water to irrigate our green spaces are examples of how we can tackle water scarcity and increase resiliency to climate change. We will learn a lot from these projects, which will benefit communities throughout California.”

The current drought has highlighted the need for innovative and high priority implementation projects to help local agencies maximize their use of local water resources and reduce dependence on water imports. The funding of these projects compliments the goals of the State Water Board’s Storm Water Strategy, as well as California’s Water Action Plan, the state’s roadmap to sustainable water management. To see a list of the projects receiving funding, see the stormwater webpage.

The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1) was approved by California voters in the Nov. 4, 2014, general election. Proposition 1 provided $200 million for matching grants for multi-benefit stormwater management projects. A second solicitation for an additional $95 million in Proposition 1 Stormwater Grant Program (SWGP) funding is anticipated for 2018. The State Water Board adopted the SWGP Funding Guidelines for administering SWGP Proposition 1 funds Dec. 15, 2015. Leftover grant funds from previous bonds passed by the voters are also being used to support these projects.

SGMA Implementation:  Submitting Alternatives to Groundwater Sustainability Plans

From the Department of Water Resources, Sustainable Groundwater Management Program:


The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) established a process for local agencies to develop an Alternative in lieu of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) (see Water Code §10733.6) for evaluation by DWR.  An Alternative is required to be submitted to DWR for review no later than January 1, 2017, and every 5 years thereafter. Additional requirements and evaluation criteria are provided in the GSP Regulations (CCR §358 et seq.). In general, Alternatives must satisfy one of the following (Water Code §10733.6(b)):

    1. A plan developed pursuant to Part 2.75 (commencing with Section 10750) or other law authorizing groundwater management.
    2. Management pursuant to an adjudication action.
    3. An analysis of basin conditions that demonstrates that the basin has operated within its sustainable yield over a period of at least 10 years. The submission of an alternative described by this paragraph shall include a report prepared by a registered professional engineer or geologist who is licensed by the state and submitted under that engineer’s or geologist’s seal.

Submission and Public Comments on Alternatives

DWR has developed an online Alternative Reporting System that allows local agencies to submit Alternatives and the public to review and comment on the Alternatives. The public comment period will remain open for 60 days following the submission of the Alternative to DWR.

On Dec 2, 2016, DWR hosted a webinar to demonstrate how to use the Alternative Reporting System. The presentation from the webinar, along with guidance documents and other resources, are available on the Alternative Submittals webpage.

Boxer to Introduce Bill Protecting Water of Tribes and Municipalities

From the Office of Senator Barbara Boxer:

BoxerU.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today announced that she will introduce the Protect Our Drinking Water Act of 2016, which would require permission from federally recognized tribes and communities before projects affecting their water supply are approved by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“As we watch the events unfold in North Dakota, it has become clear that the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to a safe water supply are not being respected and we must protect the drinking water of every American,” Senator Boxer said. “I understand the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline was moved because it was considered a potential threat to the municipal water supply of Bismarck. My legislation would ensure that whether a project affects a tribe or a local community, the people whose water supply could be at risk must get equal consideration.

“The legislation is being prepared and will be introduced on Monday. It is critical that we send a message to the Standing Rock Sioux and all of its supporters, including thousands of veterans, that their voices are being heard.”

Senator Boxer’s legislation would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to obtain written consent from federally recognized tribes and municipalities that operate a water system before granting an easement for pipelines that could threaten water supplies.

The proximity of the Dakota Access Pipeline to the municipal water supply of Bismarck was a consideration that resulted in the currently proposed route near Standing Rock. The new legislation would ensure that both tribes and municipalities have a voice in decisions that impact their water supply.


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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.

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