A list of posts published on Maven’s Notebook this week …
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SGMA IMPLEMENTATION: Groundwater Sustainability Plan evaluation and State Water Board intervention
A joint workshop hosted by the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Board provides details on how incoming plans will be evaluated and what State Water Board intervention might look like
It has been over 1950 days since the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act was signed into law, and since that time, the Department of Water Resources, the State Water Resources Control Board, and the myriad of Groundwater Sustainability Agencies across the state have been working diligently to create a new paradigm for groundwater management for California.
On January 31, 2020, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies overseeing groundwater basins designated as critically-overdrafted are required to submit their adopted Groundwater Sustainability Plans to the Department of Water Resources. Failure to submit a plan or submitting a plan that is deemed inadequate by the Department of Water Resources could result in intervention by the State Water Resources Control Board. The remaining high and medium priority basins that are subject to SGMA will be submitting their plans in just two years’ time, so how these first GSPs will be evaluated is of interest for the remaining basins who are responsible for developing, adopting, and submitting their plans to DWR by January 31, 2022.
With the deadline of January 31st fast approaching, the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board held joint workshops in Paso Robles and in Clovis earlier this month to give groundwater managers and stakeholders a better understanding of how the Department will approach evaluation of the groundwater sustainability plans and the triggers and process for intervention by the State Water Board.
METROPOLITAN COMMITTEE: The Newsom Administration’s draft Water Resilience Portfolio
On January 3, State agencies released a draft Water Resilience Portfolio which outlines more than 100 integrated actionable recommendations in four broad areas that are intended to help California cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising temperatures, declining fish populations, aging infrastructure and other challenges. The draft document is essentially the basis for the Newsom Administration’s water policy and is currently being circulated for public review with feedback being accepted through February 7, 2020.
At the January meeting of Metropolitan Water District’s Conservation and Local Resources Committee, Nancy Vogel, Director of the Governor’s Water Portfolio Program at the Natural Resources Agency, gave committee members an overview of the draft resilience portfolio.
CENTRAL VALLEY FLOOD PROTECTION BOARD: Update on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program
Historically, the San Joaquin River has supported large chinook salmon populations. However, since the Bureau of Reclamation’s Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River became fully operational in the 1940s, much of the river’s water has been diverted from the river for agricultural uses. This has resulted in about 60 miles of the river bed going dry in most years and the river no longer being able to support salmon populations.
In 1988, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other conservation and fishing groups sued the Bureau of Reclamation and the Friant Division contractors of the Central Valley Project (CVP) in the case, Natural Resources Defense Council v. Rodgers. The judge ruled that operation of Friant Dam violates state law because of its destruction of downstream fisheries. Faced with mounting legal fees, uncertainty, and the possibility of dramatic cuts to water diversions, the parties reached a settlement in 2006 that called for releases of water from Friant Dam to restore fisheries, as well as efforts to mitigate those reductions in deliveries to water users that are a result of restoration flows. Since that time, the San Joaquin River Restoration Project has been working towards achieving those objectives.
At the December meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, Elizabeth Vasquez from the Bureau of Reclamation and Paul Romero from the Department of Water Resources provided an update on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program.
WEEKEND DAILY DIGEST: Why California’s water crisis is everyone’s problem; Why did this CA farmer end up in court for growing wheat?; Disappointing numbers for salmon returns in some NorCal rivers; and more … READ IT HERE: Weekend Daily Digest
MONDAY: Time’s up on groundwater plans: SGMA explained; Journal highlights ecology of offshore oil platforms; It’s fish vs. dams, and the dams are winning; Trump teases plan to roll back key Obama-era water rule, limiting protections for waterways; and more … READ IT HERE: Monday’s Daily Digest
TUESDAY: Rain and snow return, but it won’t be enough to quench NorCal’s needs; CA water restrictions to become more severe; Weed and water woes in the Emerald Triangle; Could Sacramento flood like New Orleans?; and more … READ IT HERE: Tuesday’s Daily Digest
WEDNESDAY: Small farmers wait for California’s groundwater hammer to fall; Newsom wades into decades-long bid to wring more water for California; Governor’s budget seeks to build water resilience; California launches new weapon against wildfires; Trump admin fast-tracks Colorado River pipeline; and more … READ IT HERE: Wednesday’s Daily Digest
THURSDAY: CA will be hit hard as Trump administration weakens clean water protections; Precip continues to lag below normal; King tides sound a pollution alarm in the bay; Climate change will stress water in the West. But we don’t know how; and more … READ IT HERE: Thursday’s Daily Digest
FRIDAY: Newsom pledged to fix California water politics. Now he’s bogged down in the delta; New Delta tunnel project is déjà vu all over again; Researchers: Drought threat lingers over Northern California; Trump’s latest water policy exposes sharp divides; and more … READ IT HERE: Friday’s Daily Digest
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