Registration OPEN – CA Water Commission Workshop

April 22, 2014

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California Water Commission Meeting and Workshop on Small Water Systems

California Water Commission meetings are open to the public. For more info: cwc.ca.gov

The California Water Commission will hold a public workshop on the challenges facing northern CA small water systems in rural, urban, and disadvantaged communities.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 2014      9:30 AM – 3:00 PM

Supporting Partners:

 REGISTRATION OPEN

Agenda – May 21 Program

RSVP TODAYhttp://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/662540

DATE: Wednesday, May 21, 2014                                                             
Registration:  9:30 AM                                                           
Program: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM       
 
LOCATION:
The Ridge Golf Course and Events Center
2020 Golf Course Road, Auburn
 

Underwritten by: Associate Member Sierra West Consultants, Inc.

Hosted by:  Executive Member Placer County Water Agency

Agenda – May 21 Program

RSVP TODAY: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/662540

 
 

Job Opportunities / Members Helping Members

April 17, 2014

Job Opportunities

Here is a list of the current jobs available and posted on behalf of  MCWRA members;

Click Here for Job Postings

Members Helping Members

Here is a list of Associate Members that help sponsor the MCWRA website.  If your water agency, district or firm needs a consultant or contractor, you are encouraged to review this member list and consider our member sponsors in your Request for Proposal process.

 Click Here for Members Helping Members List

 

MCWRA and Partners Take Watershed Management Interests to Southern California

April 11, 2014

Urban Water Institute, Spring Conference 2014, Palm Springs, CA

By: Lisa Ohland, Chair, Urban Water Institute

 Pictures from the Gallery

UWI 2014 (6)

UWI 2014 (8)

Picture on right – L-R:  John Kingsbury, Executive Director, MCWRA; Lisa Ohland, Chair, Uuban Water Institute; Dr. Martha Conklin, UC Merced; Dr. Roger Bales, UC Merced;  Jim Branham, Executive Director, Sierra Nevada Conservancy

The UWI’s Spring Conference theme of “Water: The Future is Now!” was epitomized in the opening session with the Mountain Counties’ Futuristic Watershed Management panel.  Moderator John Kingsbury, Executive Director of the Mountain Counties Water Resources noted that 40 percent of the state’s water – around 17 million acre-feet of runoff – originates in the mountain counties.  Panel members Dr. Roger C. Bales, Dr. Martha Conklin of the University of California, Merced and Jim Branham, Executive Director of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy discussed advanced watershed management principles, with one of the most intriguing being the UC Merced research showing how the selective culling of trees through forest management could increase the water stored in the mountains.  When densely treed forests form a canopy of branches that don’t allow snow and rainfall to penetrate, the interception of snowfall in the canopy causes increased evaporation loss from solar forces.  If trees were selectively culled to allow penetration of the canopy, the professors estimated (from their pilot program) that increased runoff of between 9-16% could be achieved.  This concept was new and intriguing to the urban water community and several questions were asked regarding how to move this concept forward amongst the appropriate stakeholders.

Nicole Sandkulla, General Manager of the newly formed Bay Area Water Supply & Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) spoke about the innovative legislative approach to achieving supply reliability taken by the agencies served by the City of San Francisco’s Public Utility District (SFPUD) in her presentation, “Bay Area Innovation – What’s New in Northern California Water?” SFPUD owns and operates the Hetch Hetchy regional water system that was originally constructed in 1937.  Twenty-four (24) agencies (including San Jose, all of the Peninsula cities, Oakland, Berkeley and several other East Bay cities and water agencies) are reliant upon contracts with SFPUD for their entire water supply – they have no ownership position in the system and no say in its costs or operation.  In the early 2000s, after unsuccessfully trying to convince SFPUD to commence an assessment and rebuilding of the then failing system, BAWSCA was formed initially as a voluntary association that successfully lobbied the state legislature to force SFPUD into adopting a $4.6 billion repair, rehabilitation and replacement program.  Despite the improvements and increased reliability that have been achieved due to this program, SFPUD will not provide any additional water over what they provide now and can shut-off San Jose and Santa Clara without notice. BAWSCA again sought legislative support and was re-created as a public agency that can acquire water, coordinate water conservation and recycling activities, finance projects and build facilities jointly with other local agencies or on its own.

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Business & Technology Manager Roy Wolfe showcased “Innovation & Water – Where is the Cutting Edge?” – a panel comprised of seven firms that are in various stages of impacting the future of water and wastewater delivery.  From Dr. Greg Quist’s Hadronex system that senses wastewater overflows at manholes and alerts operators before an spill (currently available), to the Water Research Foundation’s “Targeted Collaborations” in forward and reverse osmosis, IDEXX rapid coliform tests and micro turbines (currently available), to Bill Kelly/Isle, Inc.’s work testing a patented UV reflector that increases UV performance (coming soon) and “TrunkMinder” – an automated continuous monitoring system for leaks in larger diameter pipelines (coming soon) – it was clear that the future looks bright .  Also discussed were small hydro projects that can be placed in pipelines as small as 8” to recover energy from the gravity flow of water, and solar installations on reservoir roofs that supplied ¼ to ½ of the energy requirements of an Orange County water agency pump station.

The concept of mining underground supplies in remote areas was discussed in the panel, “New Water – Is Cadiz Part of the Answer?”  Representatives of Cadiz Water and the Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) discussed the geological and environmental aspects of the proposed two-phase Cadiz water program: Phase I which would capture an average of 50,000 AFY of water (for 50 years) from a wellfield on the Cadiz property (near Fenner Valley and Orange Blossom Wash in the eastern Mojave Desert) and deliver it via a pipeline to the Colorado River Aqueduct near Twenty-Nine Palms, California to users throughout Southern California; Phase II would use the available capacity to store up to 1 MAF of imported water.  Only Phase I has been reviewed through CEQA.  As of the end of 2013, 80% of the Project’s water supplies are under option or committed under purchase agreement; participants include SMWD, Three Valleys Municipal Water District, Suburban Water Systems, Golden State Water Company, Jurupa Community Services and California Water Service Company.

Kevin Kelley, General Manager of the Imperial Irrigation District presented “Will Geothermal be the Solution for the Salton Sea?”  IID’s proposal would use fees charged for geothermal power to restore and enhance the Salton Sea.  While the fluid geothermal resources at the Salton Sea are significant, they are stymied by two problems:  1) there are no nearby transmission lines to transfer the power to the electrical grid and 2) the cost of initial development is slightly higher than solar power – however unlike solar or wind power, geothermal is baseline (continuous) power that is uninterrupted by lack of sun or wind.

UWI 2014 (62)And finally, one of the highlights of the conference was a keynote address by UWI Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Pat Mulroy, the retiring chief of the Southern Nevada Water Authority – the “Vegas Water Czar” as she was named by the New York Times.  Ms. Mulroy spoke about the growing scarcity of water in the west, and how all water systems are interrelated – that what happens in the Bay Delta will affect the residents of Las Vegas as surely as what happens in the Rocky Mountains. She noted that we will not litigate our way out of these shortages, but rather, need flexible and adaptive management ability – along with a lot of good will –  in order to continue to provide reliable water service to urban and agricultural communities while minimizing the effect on the environment.

MCWRA Sponsors DWR Drought Funding Briefing

April 9, 2014

The day following the release of the Draft Emergency Drought Grant Funding Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) on March 3, 2014,  the MCWRA sponsored a Department of Water Resources IRWM Drought Funding Briefing.   The program was held at the El Dorado Irrigation District facilities in Placerville.

There were more than 55 people in attendance to hear from Tracie Billington, Branch Chief, Integrated Regional Water Management Grants, Department of Water Resources, and Hong Lin, P.E., Senior Engineer, Water Resources (Section Chief), North Central Region Office, Department of Water Resources.  Joining the conversation was Eric Lamoureux, regional administrator of the Office of Emergency Services for the Governor’s Office and Bill Croyle, drought manager for the Office of the Governor.

More:  Link to the Mountain Democrat

Story by: Michael Rafferty, Editor

PowerPoint Presentations

Pictures from the Gallery

By , Editor, Mountain Democrat

 Key state officials appeared in Placerville on April 4 to give area water purveyors the keys to the drought grant kingdom.

The event was sponsored by the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association and took place in the large downstairs meeting room of the El Dorado Irrigation District headquarters on Mosquito Road.

After the morning meeting broke up, two of EID’s top engineers in attendance expressed confidence about receiving drought funding for the district’s No. 1 drought grant application — piping the Main Ditch.

The 3-mile-long Main Ditch brings water from Forebay reservoir in Pollock Pines to Reservoir 1 Water Treatment Plant in Camino.

In addition to saving 1,000-1,300 acre feet of water lost to evaporation and sinking into the soil, piping the Main ditch will improve the purity of the water delivered to the treatment plant and reduce treatment costs.

“How you might leverage in other activities, such as public health…” said Bill Croyle of the Governor’s Drought Task Force, in describing an additional factor in allocating drought project funding.

EID’s Main Ditch deposits 300,000 pounds of dirt and trash at the water treatment plant in addition to collecting coliform bacteria from 28 uphill septic systems along the way.

Saving that 1,300 acre-feet of water could also result in $300,000 more revenue from EID’s hydroelectric powerhouse, also served by Forebay reservoir.

Regional Drought Solicitations Manager Tracie Billington promised that the state would not be “cherry-picking” projects in deciding what projects to fund in the first round with $200 million. The first round would be “expedited drought projects,” Billington said.

After the 2014 solicitation, the final round of Proposition 84 funds totaling $250 million would be allocated in 2015.

A state draft document on drought grant funding identifies $40.5 million available for the Sacramento River funding area, which includes El Dorado County west of Echo Summit. Funding applications are made to one of four regional offices of the state Department of Water Resources. For this area that is the North Central office in Sacramento. The chief of the Water Supply Evaluations Section of that office is Hon Lin, a civil engineer and Ph.D.

Lin told the group the latest update to the California Water Plan would be released in June. She also added that promoting regional cooperation and working together to solve regional problems were key goals of her office and the state.

The application criteria were released this month in draft form and remain open to comment. By the end of June, the application details will be finalized and the deadline to have grant applications submitted will be “early July,” Billington said. Grants will be awarded by mid-August through early September, she added.

State documents call for a 25 percent match from local agencies receiving the grants.

For immediate drought relief, particularly from those relying on wells that have gone dry, or small water companies serving a group of houses from a well that is drying up, such as those that exist in Calaveras County, Eric Lamoureux, regional administrator of the Office of Emergency Services for the Governor’s Office, urged agencies to call their local Office of Emergency Services.

Lamoureux, a Placerville resident, said he has a weekly teleconference with local OES officials and he can bring state resources to bear on identified local water emergencies.

In addition to the Main Ditch, EID Engineering Manager Brian Muller also noted two small localized water service improvements — Outingdale and Strawberry — may qualify for drought funding.

The grant funding briefing Friday drew water purveyors from throughout the region served by the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association. The area encompassed by Mountain Counties covers 15,700 square miles and is home to more than 40 percent of the state’s developed water. EID Director Bill George is a member of the board of directors for Mountain Counties Water Resources Association.

Moderator for the event was John Kingsbury, executive director of Mountain Counties Water Resources Association.

 

 

Mountain Counties looks at drought from the top of the Sierras

March 30, 2014

Mountain Counties looks at drought from the top of the Sierras

By Roberta Long,
MCWRA writer
 
Contact:  John Kingsbury, Executive Director
Email: Johnkingsbury.mcwra@gmail.com
 

View all the pictures from the program 

Two federal officials, two state officials from the Governor’s office of emergency services, a statewide water organization representative, and three speakers from local water districts shared up-to-date information on California’s water situation at The Ridge Golf Course and Events Center in Auburn on March 11. The program, entitled “Drought: A View from the Top,” was a joint program by Mountain Counties Water Resources Association and Region 3 of the Association of California Water Agencies.

California State Water Resources Control Board

2014 Membership Meeting Mar 11 1 (1) Frances Spivey-Weber, Vice Chair

Like a drumbeat, Spivey-Weber repeated “We’ve got to work together” in different ways throughout her remarks. “The drought is a huge challenge,” she said. “The most important thing is getting to know people before a crisis occurs. You have to know who to contact in other agencies.”

She said the State Water Board had not had an alliance with the California Office of Emergency Services until recently. By connecting with the agency, “we will be better prepared to handle whatever comes,” she said.

Spivey-Weber commended the Integrated Regional Water Management program. The program  was created by SB 1672 in 2002 “to encourage local agencies to work cooperatively to manage local and imported water supplies to improve water quality, quantity and reliability.” Three successive bonds were approved by voters that fund grants for local collaborative plans under the program. She said this approach “offers the shape of the future.”

She talked about the possibility of an El Niño weather pattern next year. An El Niño typically brings large amounts of precipitation in the form of a series of large storms called atmospheric rivers by climate scientists and commonly referred to as a Pineapple Express. She said the State Water Board’s Executive Director, Tom Howard, believes, “We have to manage for what we know. The forecast for an El Niño is not certain yet,” she said. “Tom plays it conservatively. That’s how we’re operating at the State Water Board.”

The curtailment decision, the amount of reduction in water deliveries to State Water Project contractors, will have some flexibility. “The decision can change,” she said, adding, “It will not affect water transfers.”

Spivey-Weber confirmed “pre-1914 water rights are not sacrosanct.” Riparians thought they would never be touched, she said. They are not first in line. However, she recommended that holders of junior water rights prepare for a dry summer.

Spivey-Weber repeated, “This is a family.” She said, “We’re in foreign territory. Conditions are different today than they were in the past. We all have to work together.” ” She invited anyone with concerns to “call me or any member of the board or staff.”

United States Bureau of Reclamation

2014 Membership Meeting Mar 11 1 (23)Michelle Denning, Mid-Pacific Regional Planning Officer

As Mid-Pacific Regional Planning Officer, Denning is responsible for conducting planning studies in most of California, part of southern Oregon, and most of western Nevada. Currently, that includes plans to enlarge Shasta, San Luis and Los Vaqueros dams. In addition, she oversees the Title XVI Recycled Water Program, the Water SMART Basin Studies Program, and water operations and water quality models. She directed her presentation to the difficulties of managing water resources through drought and climate change.

Denning said that in California, the pattern of precipitation has come at the wrong time and the wrong place for the needs of miners, farmers and growing populations. To deal with those problems, Californians constructed systems of storage reservoirs and conveyance canals, pipes and pumps to deliver water to where it was needed. These systems contributed to making California wealthier. Do we need to continue to do more of the same? she asked.

Along the way, environmental values such as protection of fish and other marine animals and plants became included in water management. Additional agricultural considerations now encompass ensuring safe food supplies, increased use of organic pesticides and the planting of permanent crops.

With increased and diverse demands, a multi-year drought and uncertain future climate conditions, the widespread practice of  conservation measures–reduce, reuse and recycle–will grow more important.

Denning said current efforts to redesign water management started in the 1990s when CALFED, an affiliation of federal and state agencies involved in water management, reviewed the status of water supply reliability, surface water, conveyance, ecosystem restoration, water use efficiency, watersheds, water quality, levees and science. Around 20 years later, Reclamation is doing feasibility studies on surface storage projects authorized by the 2000 CALFED Bay Delta Programmatic Record of Decision. She mentioned that El Dorado County Water Agency Resource Engineer Tracey Eden-Bishop is a local point person for the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association (MCWRA) and its members for the feasibility studies.

Denning reported on the status of the studies:

1.  The Draft EIS and Feasibility Report for the Shasta Enlargement was completed in June 2013. The final is scheduled for completion in December. It will cost an estimated $1 billion to construct.

2.  The Draft EIS and Feasibility Report for the Upper San Joaquin River Basin Storage project is due in summer 2014. It contains an in-depth examination of the potential construction of a new dam and reservoir on the upper San Joaquin River between Friant and Kerckoff dams. The Final Report is due in summer 2015. The estimated price tag is $2.5 billion.

3. Phase I of the Los Vaqueros Enlargement project is complete. The dam height was raised and storage increased to 160,000 acre-feet.  As part of Phase II, a study is being done to evaluate the feasibility of expanding the reservoir to 500,000 acre-feet.

4. The North of Delta Off-Stream Storage is a 100-year investment. The State Department of Water Resources is the lead agency. The plan envisions a 1.8 million acre feet reservoir. It will be designed for durability under a wide range of conditions.

5. On Dec. 3, 2013, Reclamation released a Draft Appraisal Report describing the methods and costs of increasing the storage capacity of San Luis Reservoir. It also addresses seismic risks under B.F. Sisk Dam. Reclamation estimates that it would cost $360 million to raise the dam by 20 feet and expand the reservoir by 130,000 acre-feet. The report recommends that Reclamation explore opportunities for enlarging the dam with its partners, the State Department of Water Resources, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. The comment period ended Jan 17.

Reclamation will be studying the impacts of climate change on its systems’ capabilities, said Denning. What new facilities, new operations and new technology will be required by changes in temperature, precipitation, energy and water demands, economies, ecosystems and plant communities? she posed. “That’s the challenge,” Denning said.

United States Bureau of Reclamation

2014 Membership Meeting Mar 11 1 (27)Arlan Nickel, Senior Project Manager, Mid-Pacific Region Basin Study Coordinator

Nickel is responsible for initiating the current four basin studies in the mid-Pacific Region. He is also project manager for the three basin studies that cover most of California: Truckee and the combined Sacramento and San Joaquin basins, including the Tulare basin.

Basin studies

Basin studies are authorized by the SECURE Water Act (Science and Engineering to Comprehensively Understand and Responsibly Enhance Water Act).The Act passed Congress in 2009.  In 2010, then Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar established the WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) program to implement the legislation. Reclamation was directed to conduct “comprehensive water studies that define options for meeting future water demands in river basins in the western United States where imbalances in water supply and demand exist or are projected.” The Act requires Reclamation to work with local interests.

WaterSMART special studies follow the comprehensive studies. The California Landscape Conservation Cooperative is one of them. In 2013 a management-science partnership was created to develop landscape-level strategies.

Nickel said the key elements in the basin studies are:

1. Analyzing existing and future basin-wide water supplies and demands.

2. Identifying potential climate impacts to supplies and demands.

3. Identifying adaptive strategies in response to climate impacts.

In the Sacramento-San Joaquin basin study, projections show declines in overall precipitation in the San Joaquin and Tulare basins and uncertainty with respect to the Sacramento basin. The study also projects changes in storm tracks and characteristics.

Specifically, projected precipitation changes indicate a reduction of April 1 snow water average for the 2020s of 53.4 percent, for the 2050s of 75.9 percent, and for the 2070s of 88.6 percent, measured at the Sacramento River at Freeport. The mean April-July runoff measured at the same point is projected at 11.1 percent less in the 2020s, 23 percent less in the 2050s, and 36.1 percent less in the 2070s.

In general, Nickel said the projections for California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin basins indicate a 2-3 degree rise in average annual temperature, a smaller snowpack, longer droughts, and changes in the paths of atmospheric rivers. We need to build in resilience to manage for flood flows and provide carryover for long drought periods, he said.

The announcement for adaptation strategies and options will start April 1 and continue through mid-May. More information is available at http://ww.usbr.gov/mp/SSJBasinStudy.

High elevation storage

Nickel said there have been several studies on adaptation options; for example, groundwater recovery targets, salinity, urban and agricultural use efficiency, recycled municipal water, and desalination. High elevation storage has not been examined.

In keeping with the theme of the program, Nickel focused on high elevation storage as an adaption strategy. He referred to Gerle Creek, Ice House and Hell Home reservoirs, in the Eldorado National Forest, and Bowman Lake, in the Tahoe National Forest, Nevada County, as typical candidates.

Nickel said there are differences between high elevation storage and the other options. High elevation storage is largely unaffected by Delta operations and water quality needs. It is not involved in the Fish and Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries Service Biological Opinion concerns about fish passage. It is the first area that receives annual snowmelt. The watersheds are smaller and relatively isolated. And it has excellent hydropower potential.

Benefits are both regional and downstream. It augments regional water supplies and strengthens local water supply reliability. It provides local revenue from large or small hydropower projects. It buffers high inflow rates to downstream reservoirs, reduces peak flow events on upper tributaries, and reduces downstream levee failure risks. It improves the ability meet downstream riparian and aquatic minimum flow standards. It enhances late summer and fall coldwater management in downstream reservoirs. It sustains water-related recreational activities and related tourism. It integrates water supply and flood control. Nickel said this is a new era of water storage investigations. Nickel invited any partner agency to provide locations of proposed or potential high elevation reservoirs.

Funding is available for projects that meet certain criteria and are ready to go. Criteria include increasing potential yield, technical feasibility and reliability, cost, permitting requirements, energy source and need, long-term viability, and operational flexibility.

Following Nickel’s presentation, Foresthill Public Utility District General Manager Hank White said that his district has a project at Sugar Pine Reservoir that should fit the requirements. Sugar Pine, located in the Tahoe National Forest, is Foresthill’s sole storage reservoir.

Barbara Balen, former Tuolumne Public Utility District director and former Mountain Counties Water Resources Association director, expressed her concerns that high elevation storage might negatively impact archeological sites, river recreation and biodiversity.

To contact Arlan Nickel, email anickel@usbr.gov.

State of California, Governor’s Drought Task Force

2014 Membership Meeting Mar 11 1 (44)Eric Lamoureux, Regional Administrator, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Inland Region

Lamoureux administers the emergency preparedness, response and recovery program in the 31-county Inland Region, which extends from the Oregon border to Kern County.

When Gov. Brown declared a state of emergency on Jan. 17 due to the record dry conditions in California, he convened an interagency Drought Task Force. The five members are Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci, Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, Resources Secretary John Laird, State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus, and Martha Guzman-Aceves, Deputy Legislative Secretary, Office of the Governor. All state agencies with a role in supporting drought mitigation and relief are organized under a unified command system.

As of March 4, the U.S. Drought Monitor placed 66 percent of California in D3/D4 conditions.

The U.S. Drought Monitor was established in 2000. The categories are: abnormally dry, moderate drought, severe drought, extreme drought, and exceptional drought. D3 is extreme drought. D4 is exceptional drought. This year is the first time D4 has been used.

Following the Governor’s proclamation, 16 counties and five tribes issued local drought emergency proclamations.

Lamoureux said that the water levels in reservoirs, rivers and groundwater around the state are low. Farmers who depend heavily on water from the State Water Project and Central Valley Water Project face minimal and uncertain supplies. Water districts with multiple water sources and ample storage are better prepared to weather a third dry winter.

Gov. Brown signed emergency legislation to fund shovel-ready projects and emergency assistance. The largest amount, $549 million, is targeted for infrastructure grants to increase storm water capture, recycled water, groundwater management and water conservation. Other projects are emergency food assistance, housing-related assistance, alternative water supplies for communities with drinking water shortages, and removing groundwater contamination. The state’s cap-and-trade program will be tapped for $40 million for water agencies to improve water and energy efficiency, helping farmers upgrade irrigation and water pumping, and enabling retrofits in commercial and residential buildings that improve water and energy efficiency.

The Drought Task Force is assessing direct or indirect impacts to electricity supply, fire threats, security threats, and other threats to life and property, as it continues to develop response plans.

Association of California Water Agencies

2014 Membership Meeting Mar 11 1 (47)Jennifer Persike, Deputy Executive Director of External Affairs and Operations

Persike said that ACWA members have faced a number of serious droughts in the organization’s 104-year history. “Each drought is unique,” she said. Each affects different areas and has different impacts. The common theme is that areas most impacted are those that depend on a single watershed or source of supply.

In an informal survey of members in early 2014, 77 percent reported they have drought contingency plans in place, and 82 percent have conservation campaigns aimed at customers.

Member representatives from around the state formed a Drought Action Group in January. The group will present needed actions to alleviate the impacts of this and future droughts to the Brown administration.

Persike talked about communications among statewide response teams and messaging to the public. Briefings and Webcasts are employed, with drought updates and weekly talking points on conditions. An interactive map, updated daily, is available on www.acwa.org.

An extensive media campaign has been initiated. An information clearinghouse provides speakers from the League of California Cities, California Business Roundtable, California Water Commission, Sacramento Area Council of Governments, Sustainable Ag Expo and UC Davis Resources Seminar. Key talking points are: 2014 is unprecedented drought year; the Governor’s drought declaration sends a powerful signal; the impacts vary by region; we are one state; all must do our part; future investments are needed.

“Save Our Water” is a public education program created in 2009 in response to drought. It is a partnership between ACWA and the Department of Water Resources managed by ACWA. It complements local programs and focuses on the consumer. Underlying research indicates that the public is willing to conserve, but desires specific suggestions.

The “Save Our Water” campaign uses radio ads, Facebook, Twitter, videos with the message “Californians Don’t Waste,” and materials in English and Spanish.

The next stage is to incorporate polling and increase paid advertising via radio, social media, billboards, including digital, and theater ads.

Persike said, “The 2014 drought will cut into the fabric of our economy. It will require active management by local water agencies, and a conservation ethic among our citizens to get us through 2014.” It will demand comprehensive solutions like ACWA’s Statewide Water Action Plan and the Brown administration’s California Water Action Plan.

For more information, visit www.saveourh2o.org.

2014 Membership Meeting Mar 11 1 (50)Member drought panel discussion

All three member representatives reported prospective losses to their agencies due to lower water sales as a result of the drought.

Tony Frienzi, Deputy Director of Technical Services, Placer County Water Agency

Frienzi said Placer County Water Agency is anticipating $2.7-$3.8 million drop in current demand reductions. Added costs, such as pumping, are expected to be in the $4 million range. The net is a $7 million impact on our budget,” he said. This will be offset by reserves and reprioritizations.

Placer County Water Agency obtains water for its Western Water System by a contract with PG&E. PG&E has informed the water agency not to expect delivery of enough water for even minimum normal requirements. The water agency is anticipating a 50 percent or greater cut from PG&E. On Feb. 6, the board declared a water shortage emergency.

Frienzi said Placer County Water Agency usually has some flexibility with interties, groundwater and small surface storage. It has agreements to purchase water from the San Juan Water District and the City of Roseville. Those purveyors take their water from Folsom Lake, and will have little or no water to spare. Placer County Water Agency is advocating for changes in the operations of Folsom Dam.

Placer County Water Agency has a reputation for grassroots communicating, he said. The agency is using the Web, Twitter and public forums to inform its customers. To illustrate the severity of the situation, it is showing photos of Folsom Dam, “the poster child for drought in northern California.”

Gene Mancebo, General Manager, Amador Water Agency

Amador Water Agency serves five cities in Amador County. The Mokelumne River supplies 95 percent of the surface water. The agency holds pre-1914 water rights. It leases storage from PG&E. Mancebo reported the agency has experienced some conflicts regarding management for hydroelectric service and management for water supply.

Lake Comanche Village, in western Amador County, receives the remaining five percent of the agency’s water supply from groundwater wells.

Amador Water Agency is vulnerable to effects on the budget from the drought. Mancebo said He expects an 8-20 percent budget reduction, but so far the board has not instituted a drought surcharge.

For the future, the agency is taking action to address the effects of the drought: an interregional conjunctive use project, recycling and conservation programs, and a new piping system. “We think we can get by 2014,” he said. “Our concern is 2015.”

Mary Lynn Carlton, Communications and Community Relations Director, El Dorado Irrigation District (EID)

Carlton said EID has 100,000 customers in El Dorado County. It has operational flexibility because it purchased Project 184 from PG&E in 1999 and purchased Sly Park Dam and Jenkinson Lake Reservoir from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 2003. Project 184 has four alpine lakes, a complex conveyance system, and other facilities. Jenkinson Lake has connected facilities.

Jenkinson Lake has a capacity of 41,000 acre-feet. On Feb. 28, the lake held 29,920 acre-feet, 10 percent below average for this time of year. Carlton said EID was able to “top off” Jenkinson Lake by transferring water through a pipe from the South Fork of the American River.

EID also has rights to water from Folsom Lake, but the allocation this year is estimated at 5,900 acre feet, about 50 percent of its full entitlement.

In 2008, EID adopted a Drought Preparedness Plan and updated it in 2012 with a Drought Action Plan. On Feb. 4, the EID board issued a Stage 2 water warning and emergency declaration, calling for a voluntary 30 percent reduction in water usage by its customers. The board deferred action on a drought surcharge.

The district is now preparing for a multi-year drought. A key feature will be to maintain the level of Jenkinson Lake at around 25,000 acre-feet into October.

Carlton said the drought has affected the ability of the district to sell hydropower. EID’s average annual revenue from hydropower is between $8 and $12 million. Now it is around $3 to $4 million.

She said the district was able to offset some of the revenue losses by refinancing its debt with a lower interest rate, resulting in a savings of $17 million.

To inform its customers and the public, EID has a dedicated Drought page on its Website. Carlton said the district uses ACWA’s “Save Our Water” campaign. She said EID is accelerating its level of communications with the external world through media outreach and speakers at community groups and schools.

Member support

The program was hosted by Nevada Irrigation District and Calaveras County Water District. ATKINS and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy underwrote the program.

Atkins is an international firm providing design, engineering, planning and project management consultancy services to public and private clients worldwide.

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy is a state agency that supports the Sierra Nevada environmental, economic and social well-being by providing funding for local projects, offering technical assistance and supporting collaborative projects. Executive Officer Jim Branham said, “As usual, Mountain Counties did a great job of bringing together key decision makers for an interesting and informative program. The SNC is proud to have sponsored the event, and we appreciate the positive working relationship we have with MCWRA.”

 View all the pictures from the program

 

Reminder to RSVP for the Department of Water Resources Briefing – IRWM Grant Funding

March 30, 2014

Department of Water Resources Briefing – IRWM Grant Funding

RSVP TODAYhttp://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/618005

DATE: Friday, April 4, 2014                                                             
Registration:  9:30 AM                                                           
Program: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM       
 
LOCATION:
El Dorado Irrigation District
2890 Mosquito Road
Placerville, CA  95667
Hosted by:  El Dorado Irrigation District 
 

On March 3, Governor Brown signed a $687.4 million drought relief plan (SB 103 and SB 104).  This includes accelerated grant expenditures in the form of infrastructure for local and regional projects that are already planned or partially completed to increase local reliability, including recapturing of storm water, expanding the use and distribution of recycled water, enhancing the management and recharging of groundwater storage and strengthening water conservation.

DWR is currently working on the Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) for the accelerated IRWM funding.  The PSP is anticipated to be released at the end of March.

Funds will be available to the Department of Water Resources for integrated regional water management grants through an expedited solicitation round for projects that provide immediate regional drought preparedness, increase local water supply reliability and the delivery of safe drinking water, assist water suppliers and regions to implement conservation programs and measures that are not locally cost-effective, or reduce water quality conflicts or ecosystem conflicts created by the drought.

MCWRA has arranged for DWR representatives to provide a special briefing and Q & A for those interested in this opportunity.   This will be the first presentation from DWR on the drought funding package.  

  • This drought solicitation is part of the IRWM Implementation Grant Program.
  •  Grant application needs to be submitted via eligible IRWM region, same as all previous IRWM grants.
  •  IRWM plans must be adopted and are consistent with the IRWM Plan standards contained in the 2012 Guidelines.
  • Draft PSP expected on or about April 1st, 30-day public review, two public workshops in May
  • Final PSP will be released around June 1st.
  •  Application due is anticipated about August 1st.
  • Anticipate awarding funds in early Fall.

Types of projects (SB 104):

  • provide immediate regional drought preparedness (definition in 2012 IRWM Program Guideline’s Statewide Priorities)
  • increase local water supply reliability and the delivery of safe drinking water,
  • assist water suppliers and regions to implement conservation programs and measures that are not locally cost-effective
  • reduce water quality conflicts or ecosystem conflicts created by the drought

It is important to have a representative involved in your IRWM attend.  Please circulate this notice to the appropriate staff and others involved in IRWM.  If you know others outside of MCWRA membership that should attend or have interest, please feel free to pass this along.  This will be an informal information program.

Speakers:

Tracie Billington, Branch Chief
Integrated Regional Water Management Grants
Department of Water Resources
 
Hong Lin, P.E., Senior Engineer, Water Resources (Section Chief)
North Central Region Office
Department of Water Resources   
 

RSVP TODAYhttp://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/618005

Important MCWRA Regional Programs for GM’s, Board Members, County Supervisors, IRWM Groups, Staff

March 23, 2014

Department of Water Resources Briefing – IRWM Grant Funding

RSVP TODAYhttp://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/618005

DATE: Friday, April 4, 2014                                                             
Registration:  9:30 AM                                                           
Program: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM       
 
LOCATION:
El Dorado Irrigation District
2890 Mosquito Road
Placerville, CA  95667
Hosted by:  El Dorado Irrigation District 
 

On March 3, Governor Brown signed a $687.4 million drought relief plan (SB 103 and SB 104).  This includes accelerated grant expenditures in the form of infrastructure for local and regional projects that are already planned or partially completed to increase local reliability, including recapturing of storm water, expanding the use and distribution of recycled water, enhancing the management and recharging of groundwater storage and strengthening water conservation.

DWR is currently working on the Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) for the accelerated IRWM funding.  The PSP is anticipated to be released at the end of March.

Funds will be available to the Department of Water Resources for integrated regional water management grants through an expedited solicitation round for projects that provide immediate regional drought preparedness, increase local water supply reliability and the delivery of safe drinking water, assist water suppliers and regions to implement conservation programs and measures that are not locally cost-effective, or reduce water quality conflicts or ecosystem conflicts created by the drought.

MCWRA has arranged for DWR representatives to provide a special briefing and Q & A for those interested in this opportunity.   This will be the first presentation from DWR on the drought funding package.  

  • This drought solicitation is part of the IRWM Implementation Grant Program.
  •  Grant application needs to be submitted via eligible IRWM region, same as all previous IRWM grants.
  •  IRWM plans must be adopted and are consistent with the IRWM Plan standards contained in the 2012 Guidelines.
  • Draft PSP expected on or about April 1st, 30-day public review, two public workshops in May
  • Final PSP will be released around June 1st.
  •  Application due is anticipated about August 1st.
  • Anticipate awarding funds in early Fall.

Types of projects (SB 104):

  • provide immediate regional drought preparedness (definition in 2012 IRWM Program Guideline’s Statewide Priorities)
  • increase local water supply reliability and the delivery of safe drinking water,
  • assist water suppliers and regions to implement conservation programs and measures that are not locally cost-effective
  • reduce water quality conflicts or ecosystem conflicts created by the drought

It is important to have a representative involved in your IRWM attend.  Please circulate this notice to the appropriate staff and others involved in IRWM.  If you know others outside of MCWRA membership that should attend or have interest, please feel free to pass this along.  This will be an informal information program.

Speakers:

Tracie Billington, Branch Chief
Integrated Regional Water Management Grants
Department of Water Resources
 
Hong Lin, P.E., Senior Engineer, Water Resources (Section Chief)
North Central Region Office
Department of Water Resources   

Water Commission Northern California Workshop on Small Water Systems

RSVP: Coming soon

Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Registration:   9:30 AM
Program: 10:00 AM – 2 PM
 
Location: 
The Ridge Golf Course and Events Center
2020 Golf Course Road
Auburn, CA
Hosted by: Placer County Water Agency
Supported by: Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC),  Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC), Sierra Business Council (SBC)
Sponsored by:__________________

The California Water Commission will hold a public workshop on the challenges facing northern CA small water systems in rural, urban, and disadvantaged communities. Many state agencies are working diligently on drought response actions this year, and the Commission is particularly interested in addressing the disproportionate impact of the drought on some small communities.

The Commission, along with other State agencies recently developed a survey (Posted to the MCWRA website) to collect updated information from local agencies regarding potential water projects or programs that can add new or expand existing surface or groundwater storage capacity, improve water supply reliability, and improve operational efficiency.

The Safe, Clean and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010 (Water Code Section 74744), requires the California Water Commission to develop and adopt, by regulation, methods for the quantification and management of public benefits associated with eligible water storage projects.  Defining and Quantifying the Public Benefits of Water Storage Projects

The California Water Commission consists of nine members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate. Seven members  are chosen for their general expertise related to the control, storage, and beneficial use of water and two are chosen for their knowledge of the environment. The Commission provides a public forum for discussing water issues, advises the Department of Water Resources (DWR), and takes appropriate statutory actions to further the development of policies that support integrated and sustainable water resource management and a healthy environment. Statutory duties include advising the Director of DWR, approving rules and regulations, and monitoring and reporting on the construction and operation of the State Water Project.

The workshop agenda is under development.  The workshop is intended to provide information to the members of the Commission and the public, and may inform future actions by the Commission.  If you have questions or would like to participate in this important interactive session, please contact John Kingsbury at johnkingsbury.mcwra@gmail.com

Joint MCWRA & ACWA Region 3 Program

The Event  -  2014 - California’s Water Leaders  

RSVP: Coming Soon

Date: Friday, June 6, 2014     
Registration:  9:30 AM                                                           
Program: 10:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Reception to Follow                                                            
 
Location:                                                                         
Wedgewood Sequoia Mansion                                           
643 Bee Street, Placerville, CA
(530) 622-5222
 
Hosted by:  El Dorado County Water Agency
Co-Sponsored by: ECORP Consulting, Inc., Sierra Nevada Conservancy, ATKINS 

We will have a moderated panel with three top water leaders in the State discussing matters of regional and statewide interest. 

Mark Cowin

Mark Cowin, Director, Department of Water Resources

 
Felicia Marcus, Chair, State Water Resources Control Board

Felicia Marcus, Chair, State Water Resources Control Board

  
Randy Fiorini

Randy Fiorini, Chair, Delta Stewardship Council

Reception to Follow the Program – To Honor our Speakers Efforts to Solve the State’s Water Crisis

Talk Style Program

Tom Philp  (2)

Tom Philp
MWD

lModerated by: Tom Philp, Executive Strategist for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

MCWRA Sponsored Programs

March 22, 2014

NSWA Regional Water Forum

The North State Water Alliance is hosting its second in a series of regional forums in the Capital Area focused on recent drought impacts, conservation efforts and water reliability geared to local leaders from the private and public sector.

March 31, 2014 3 to 5 p.m. at the office of Downey Brand, 621 Capitol Mall, 18th Floor, in downtown Sacramento.  The meeting will unveil for the first time a set of infrastructure investments, operational assurances and regulatory requirements the Sacramento Metro Area must put in place for long-term water reliability and environmental sustainability.

Registration is required. For more information, contact Katie Bess, katie.bess@valleyvision.org or 916-325-1630.

Program Flyer

Draft Agenda

Fire Ecosystem Forest Management & Water Yield Symposium

Water yield and Sierra forest management has emerged as a critical issue. Severe drought, increasingly massive fire incidents, fuel loaded forests, and climate change trends combined have forced re-evaluation of watershed forest management methods to increase water supply (and power production), protect forests from catastrophic fires, and build resilience to climate change effects.

Decision-makers, project implementers, water and power managers, researchers, and all stakeholders who want to know the science and economics of healthy forest and water reliability. The Fire Ecosystem Forest Management and Water Yield Symposium presents the current facts and issues from the leading researchers and demonstration project managers.

May 2, 2014 9 AM – 4:30 PM

USFS Wildland Fire Training Center, McClellan, CA

Sponsored by: USFS PSW Region 5, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Sierra Business Council,

Mt. Counties Water Resources Association, American River Watershed Institute

Program Flyer-Draft Agenda

 

SAVE the DATE – Special DWR Briefing – Grant Funding

March 18, 2014

SAVE THE DATE

DATE:
Friday, April 4, 2014                                                              
Registration:  9:30 AM                                                           
Program: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM        
 
LOCATION:
El Dorado Irrigation District
2890 Mosquito Road
Placerville, CA  95667
Hosted by:  El Dorado Irrigation District
 

On March 3, Governor Brown signed a $687.4 million drought relief plan (SB 103 and SB 104).  This includes accelerated grant expenditures in the form of infrastructure for local and regional projects that are already planned or partially completed to increase local reliability, including recapturing of storm water, expanding the use and distribution of recycled water, enhancing the management and recharging of groundwater storage and strengthening water conservation.

Funds will be available to the Department of Water Resources for integrated regional water management grants through an expedited solicitation round for projects that provide immediate regional drought preparedness, increase local water supply reliability and the delivery of safe drinking water, assist water suppliers and regions to implement conservation programs and measures that are not locally cost-effective, or reduce water quality conflicts or ecosystem conflicts created by the drought.

DWR is currently working on the Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) for the accelerated IRWM funding.  The PSP is anticipated to be released at the end of March.

MCWRA has arranged for DWR to provide a special briefing and Q & A on Friday, April 4 at EID for those interested in this opportunity.

Speakers:
Tracie Billington, Branch Chief
Integrated Regional Water Management Grants
Department of Water Resources
 
Hong Lin, P.E.
Senior Engineer, Water Resources (Section Chief)
North Central Region Office
Department of Water Resources
 
Website will be updated as more information becomes available.
 

 

MCWRA Regional Advocacy

March 17, 2014

A Look Back at MCWRA Regional Advocacy March, 2011 to March, 2014

PowerPoint Slide Show to reflect the past three years –  Advocating for the water interests of the MCWRA membership:

 

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