NEWS WORTH NOTING: New Sonoma County groundwater agencies plan first meetings, public hearings; LADWP honored as leading water utility in the world at 2017 Global Water Summit; Western Municipal Water District and the City of Riverside strike historic water deal

Sonoma County: New Groundwater Agencies Plan First Meetings, Public Hearings

From the Sonoma County Water Agency:

Public hearings are scheduled to consider designating three local agencies to be responsible for ensuring groundwater is available now and into the future. The hearings will be held on June 1 for the Santa Rosa Plain basin; June 8 for the Sonoma Valley basin; and June 22 for Petaluma Valley basin. (Details below.)

The hearings are one item on the agendas of the first meetings of the Santa Rosa Plain, Sonoma Valley and Petaluma Valley groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs). These agencies were formed to meet the requirements of California’s historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which went into effect in 2015. The public hearings will include an opportunity for members of the public to speak.

The three GSAs were formed as joint powers authorities by local public entities that have responsibility for water supply, water management and land use. (See chart for entities and the individuals appointed to represent each entity on the Board of Directors of each new groundwater sustainability agency.) In Santa Rosa Plain, the small community water companies (also known as mutual water companies) and PUC-regulated water companies will also participate in that GSA and appoint one representative to serve on the board.

SGMA requires that these new entities hold a public hearing prior to formally deciding to be the GSA for SGMA purposes. The deadline for forming GSAs is June 30, 2017. If local agencies fail to serve as GSAs, the state will step in to manage groundwater in the three basins.

The meetings will also include the election of the GSA officers, administration of the GSAs, and the advisory committee process. (Meeting agendas can be found at

Each GSA board will create an advisory committee to provide input and feedback on policies, programs and projects, including groundwater sustainability plans.

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City of Cotati

Mayor Susan Harvey

Councilmember Mark Landman (alt)

City of Petaluma

Councilmember Mike Healy

Public Works Director Dan St. John (alt)

City of Sonoma

Councilmember David Cook

Councilmember Madolyn Agrimonti (alt)

City of Rohnert Park

Vice-Mayor Pam Stafford

Councilmember Gina Belforte (alt)

North Bay Water District

Director Carolyn Wassem

Director Mike Sangiacomo (alt)

North Bay Water District

Director Mike Sangiacomo

Director Carolyn Wassem (alt)

City of Santa Rosa

Councilmember Tom Schwedhelm

Alternate to be determined

County of Sonoma

Supervisor David Rabbitt

Supervisor James Gore (alt)

Valley of the Moon Water District

Chairman Mark Heneveld

Board member Bruce Adams

Town of Windsor

Councilmember Mark Millan

Mayor Debora Fudge (alt)

Sonoma County Water Agency

Director Susan Gorin

Director James Gore (alt)

County of Sonoma

Supervisor Susan Gorin

Supervisor James Gore (alt)

County of Sonoma

Chairwoman Shirlee Zane

Supervisor Susan Gorin (alt)

Sonoma Resource Conservation District

Director Bruce Abelli-Amen

Executive Director Kara Heckert (alt)

Sonoma County Water Agency

Director David Rabbitt

Director James Gore (alt)

Sonoma County Water Agency

Director Lynda Hopkins

Director James Gore (alt)

Sonoma Resource Conservation District

Vice-Chairwoman Vickie Mulas

Director Bruce Abelli-Amen (alt)

Sonoma Resource Conservation District

Chairman Walter Ryan

Associate Director John Nagle (alt)

Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

Director Joe Dutton

Director Mel Sanchietti (alt)



Santa Rosa Plain Basin

Thursday, June 1, 5:30 p.m.

Santa Rosa Utilities Field Office

35 Stony Point Road, Santa Rosa


Sonoma Valley Basin

Thursday, June 8, 5:30 p.m.

Vintage House Senior Center

264 1st St E, Sonoma


Petaluma Valley Basin

Thursday, June 22, 5:30 p.m.

Petaluma Community Center

320 North McDowell Blvd., Petaluma


SGMA was passed into California law in fall 2014. SGMA requires that State-designated medium- and high-priority basins form a GSA(s) and develop a groundwater sustainability plan(s). Sonoma County has three medium priority basins: Petaluma Valley, Santa Rosa Plain and Sonoma Valley; these basins have to comply with SGMA.

The Sonoma Valley has a voluntary groundwater management plan and Basin Advisory Panel and is in its 10th year of plan implementation. The Santa Rosa Plain adopted a voluntary groundwater management plan in 2014, has a Basin Advisory Panel, and is in the initial stages of implementing that plan. These existing groundwater management plans will remain in effect until new groundwater sustainability plans are developed. The Petaluma Valley has embarked on a study with the U.S. Geological Service to understand its basin. These programs will be incorporated as much as possible when developing the groundwater sustainability plan.

The GSA-eligible entities have been meeting since 2015 to understand SGMA requirements and explore options for GSA formation. Basin Advisory Panels (in Sonoma Valley and Santa Rosa Plain) have provided input on reaching out to stakeholders and shared ideas on how eligible entities can work together.  Public workshops were held in the fall of 2015, summer of 2016 and spring of 2017.

A website, includes up-to-date information on SGMA and a place to sign up for more information.

LADWP Honored as Leading Water Utility in the World at 2017 Global Water Summit

From the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power:

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) was recognized as one of the world’s top water utilities at the 11th Global Water Summit 2017, the leading water industry conference, which took place April 23-25 in Madrid, Spain.

The honor was given to LADWP along with five other water utilities as new members of the Leading Utilities of the World (LUOW), which aims to promote innovation within utilities and communication between utilities. The LUOW is comprised of public sector utilities recognized by the Global Water Summit advisory board as among the most innovative in the globe.

“The fact that LADWP was included in this exclusive group of water utilities speaks to our commitment to delivering safe, clean drinking water to our customers, and to exploring new ideas to do that now and in the future,” said David H. Wright, LADWP General Manager. “Our membership in the Leading Utilities of the World will be invaluable for sharing information and working together on water issues.”

LADWP joined Budapest Waterworks (Hungary), South East Water (Australia), Atlanta Department of Watershed Management (USA), VCS Denmark , and K-water (Republic of Korea) as new members of LUOW inaugurated in Madrid. New members along with Advisory Board members were presented with the iconic “Golden Tap” trophy at the 2017 Global Water Awards to commemorate their membership.

Western Municipal Water District and the City of Riverside Strike Historic Water Deal

Water agreement brings benefits to all customers

From Western Municipal Water District:

A long-term water agreement to share surplus local water resources and pipeline capacity to benefit the customers of both water providers was approved at yesterday’s Riverside City Council meeting. The agreement was approved previously by the board of directors of Western Municipal Water District (Western), April 19 and Riverside Public Utilities (RPU), April 24.

Riverside’s Mayor, Rusty Bailey, summed up the agreement’s approval. “It’s all about public agencies working together for the benefit of the region’s water customers – residents and businesses alike.”

Water efficiency is up and water demand is down for both agencies because of the profound drought response by customers throughout the city. The City of Riverside has an average annual water right in the San Bernardino Basin Area (SBBA) that is surplus to the projected yearly water demand of their customers’ needs for the next 10 years – the term of the sales portion of the agreement. Western will purchase this “surplus water” as well as pay for the use of Riverside’s system and energy costs to transport the water to the Western service area.

Riverside has agreed to sell a minimum of 2,000 acre-feet per year of its surplus water to Western; roughly 10 percent of Western’s retail water demand. The purchase price for Riverside’s surplus water is less expensive than Western’s primary source of supply, which is imported water from Northern California and the Bay-Delta via the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Western’s estimated savings for the purchase of these local supplies is $4.6 million over the next 10 years; the revenue gained by the City of Riverside from the sale of the surplus water is $4.6 million. Western’s payment for use of Riverside’s system and for energy will also provide the City with an additional $12.4 million in estimated revenue.

“Securing local water at a lower cost is beneficial to our customers; it’s something Western has worked diligently toward. Partnering with Riverside on a long-term basis to expand our water supply portfolio is crucial,” said John Rossi, Western’s general manager, adding, “Our agencies have a history of working together to find solutions to meet the region’s water needs.”

Riverside’s General Manager, Girish Balachandran, explained his agency’s perspective. “Riverside Public Utilities has a keen interest in doing what’s right to benefit our community. Whether it’s partnering in water supply projects, cohesive communication to help our customers save water, or selling our surplus supply, the goal is to help our customers and keep rates as low as possible.”

In addition to the sale of surplus water for 10 years, the agreement also permits Western to use the Riverside system at times when capacity is available for the next 20 years. Western will coordinate with Riverside to move water supplies secured by Western (other than Riverside’s surplus water) from the SBBA. Over the 20-year term, Western will pay Riverside up to approximately $83 million to move approximately 5,000 acre-feet of water per year. This arrangement allows Western to receive additional water at a lower cost than imported supplies relieving some of the upward pressure in rates from the rising cost of imported water.

Another element of the water collaboration is providing information to customers. Western and RPU have created, a website that provides details about the partnership including projects, water efficiency and history.

For more information, click here.


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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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