NEWS WORTH NOTING: California Supreme Court confirms certain groundwater pumping charges are outside scope of Prop 218; Reclamation considers allowing non-CVP water thru Folsom Reservoir; Enviro docs for Widren Water District pilot project

California Supreme Court Confirms Certain Groundwater Pumping Charges are Outside Scope of Prop 218

From Downey Brand:

On December 4, the California Supreme Court ruled that groundwater pumping charges levied to fund a basin-wide conservation and management program were not property-related fees subject to Proposition 218.  The decision, City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District (Cal. Supreme Court Case No. S226036), will reverberate through water management and public agency circles for years to come.

Monday’s decision arose out of a long-running dispute over pumping charges levied by United Water Conservation District as to well pumpers within its territory, including the City of San Buenaventura. The City argued that the District’s volumetric pumping charges, which were substantially higher for non-agricultural users and which were directed toward funding the District’s groundwater conservation and replenishment programs, were inconsistent with Proposition 218.  In the City’s view, the fees were property-related charges that failed to comply with the procedural and substantive requirements of California Constitution, Article XIII D. The City further argued that even if these fees were not property-related charges subject to Article XIII D, the District had not demonstrated that such fees, in this case, bore a reasonable relationship to the benefits received by the payors (a requirement of Article XIII C).

The Supreme Court granted review of the case in 2015.  In its long-awaited decision, a unanimous Court concluded that the District’s groundwater charges were not property-related fees under Proposition 218.  As to the question of whether the relationship between charges and benefits was appropriately allocated among the payors, the case was remanded to the lower court for further discussion and analysis.

Continue reading at Downey Brand here: California Supreme Court Confirms Certain Groundwater Pumping Charges are Outside Scope of Prop 218

Reclamation considers allowing Placer County Water Agency to move non-CVP water via Folsom Reservoir

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

The Bureau of Reclamation proposes to allow Placer County Water Agency to move up to 100 acre-feet a year through Folsom Reservoir that will ultimately be delivered to Granite Bay’s Los Lagos subdivision in Placer County. Reclamation has released for public review a draft Environmental Assessment for the 5-year Warren Act contract.

The draft EA was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and is available at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=30641 .

Comments are due by close of business Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, to elizabethdyer@usbr.gov or mailed to Beth Dyer, Bureau of Reclamation, 7794 Folsom Dam Road, Folsom, CA 995630. To request a copy of the draft EA or for additional information, please email Dyer or call 916-537-7061 (TTY 800-877-8339). Copies of the document may also be viewed at Reclamation’s Folsom office at the above address.

Reclamation releases final environmental documents for Widren Water District’s water quality, supply and drainage enhancement pilot projects

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

The Bureau of Reclamation has released final environmental documents for a pilot project for Widren Water District that would allow the district to convey up to 1,000 acre-feet of reverse osmosis treated groundwater through the Delta-Mendota Canal and potentially store it in San Luis Reservoir. The pilot project is part of a larger effort aimed at reducing dissolved minerals like salt and selenium in a 97,000 acre area known as the Grassland Drainage Area.

Widren Water District, located in northwestern Fresno County west of Firebaugh, has recently constructed a reverse osmosis treatment plant to extract and treat its in-district shallow groundwater. It has been shown in the region that removal of shallow groundwater can assist in reducing drainage impacts by lowering poor-quality drain water below the crop root zone.

A final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact were prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, and are available at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=30446.

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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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