My Turn – On Water Management!

April 26, 2016

By:  John Kingsbury, Executive Director

If you’re like most consumers, you are weary from coping with the drought and the accompanying emergency water-use restrictions.  You likely have a desire to get your landscape back, and probably don’t want your water district telling you when and how much water to use.  Your water district is in the same boat.  Their interest and responsibility is to provide reliable high quality water at a cost-effective rate for your beneficial use.

With water now flowing over reservoir spillways in the north, the water districts are anxious to gain back “local control” of their water supply portfolios.  Now, as conditions return to normal in many parts of the state, regulators are considering whether to rescind the emergency restrictions.  They should do so.

What’s next?  The immediate answer is not to continue with landscape restrictions, higher water rates, and a change in the quality of life.

Statewide, average water use is roughly 10% urban, 40% agricultural, and 50% for the aquatic environment. Urban consumers conserved one quarter of the statewide urban water demand. This significant effort accounted for only a 2.5% savings of the total statewide water demand.  Yet, the state and federal agencies did little to conserve a portion of the 50% aquatic environmental water.

State and federal regulators should balance social-economic impacts of urban and agricultural water users when determining how and when to allocate water to the environment during a drought.

Also, it’s disheartening to see the state’s largest storage reservoirs, Shasta, Oroville, and Folsom flush millions of gallons of fresh water to the ocean.  In doing so, the state and federal agencies robbed agricultural interests and homes in both northern and southern California of water that could be put to beneficial use.  Rather than wasting the water, state and federal agencies should implement projects to capture and store winter’s excess flood flows as a water “bank” for later use in the summer and fall.  Of course, others will argue that this water is more appropriately needed for fish and to flush the Delta.  Long-term water management is more than flow for fish.

Last year, the Delta Independent Science Board (Delta ISB) released a report about flows and fishes in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  The Delta ISB reported that “flow is but one factor affecting fishes and its effects are confounded by other drivers of fish production in the ecosystem.”  “The five drivers (or stressors) include habitat alteration and loss, resource use and exploitation, invasive species, pollution, and climate.”

The California Legislature established the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Reform Act and the Delta ISB in 2009.  The Delta ISB is a standing board of prominent national and international scientists with the appropriate expertise to evaluate a broad range of scientific programs that support adaptive management of water resources in the Delta.

California has a complex integrated water plumbing system. Consider a three legged stool. You can’t properly upright and level a stool unless all three legs of equal length and strength are connected to the seat.  Otherwise, it just won’t work. This is no different than California’s plumbing system.  California’s water system has three legs; water supply, water demand and the environment. To achieve balance and stability, all three legs must be equal.

Admittedly we need to advance our water use efficiency practices through advancing technologies. We also must balance the environmental and water supply legs of the stool.  If not, the statewide water system will never achieve equilibrium.

We can’t balance this stool focusing on water conservation.

The state and federal agencies need do a better job of mitigating the drivers or stressors of the Delta and its watershed, and implement projects to build additional water supply.

I’ve worked in the California water world for nearly 30 years. In my opinion, we’re headed down the wrong path, regulatorily speaking.  We keep doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result.  As we move past this drought emergency, it’s time to encourage state and federal agencies to return local control to the water districts, refocus, collaborate effectively, and implement a fair, balanced, and comprehensive long-term statewide water management strategy. It is unreasonable and unfair to keep kicking this can down the road to the next generation.

Reminder to RSVP Today for the next MCWRA Program

April 25, 2016

THE CONQUEST FOR AND HISTORY OF “CALIFORNIA WATER” PAST-PRESENT-FUTURE

Hear about the past, present, and the future of California’s integrated water system from 11 top water managers.  Learn how our complex integrated system developed and what the future has in store for California and this region. 

YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS PROGRAM

Agenda

When:  Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Where:  The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center in Auburn

Time:  Doors open at 8:30 a,m. – Program starts at 9:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

RSVP:  Click Here to Register

You will hear about the history of California water and their District from Westlands Water District and San Luis & Delta-Mendota Authority

  • Westlands Water District is the largest agricultural water district in the United States, made up of more than 1,000 square miles of prime farmland in western Fresno and Kings Counties.
  • San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority represents approximately 2,100,000 acres of 29 federal and exchange water service contractors within the western San Joaquin Valley, San Benito and Santa Clara counties.

Learn about the Sites Reservoir project.  It has been on the books for decades. Can it fit into the framework of California’s water infrastructure puzzle?

Get the perspective on the future of California’s integrated water supply system, agriculture and northern California considering the weather pattern changes.

Reflections and the future of California Water from a true water warrior  – Our Keynote Lunch Speaker: The Honorable Phil Isenberg

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Ara Azhderian,Water Policy Administrator, San Luis & Delta-Mendota Authority
  • Tom Birmingham, General Manager, Westlands Water District (Afternoon Panelist)
  • Andy Fecko, Director Resource Development, Placer County Water Agency (Morning Presenter)
  • David Guy, President, Northern California Water Association (Afternoon Panelist)
  • Brent Hastey, Director, Yuba County Water Agency & Vice President, ACWA
  • The Honorable Phil Isenberg, Retired – Keynote Lunch Speaker
  • Einar Maisch, General Manager, Placer County Water Agency (Afternoon Panel Moderator) (Afternoon Panelist)
  • Jason Peltier, General Manager, San Luis & Delta-Mendota Authority (Morning Presenter and Afternoon Panelist)
  • Deven Upadhyay, Manager, Water Resources Management Group, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
  • James Watson, General Manager, Sites Project Authority (Morning Presenter and Afternoon Panelist)
  • Phil Williams, Deputy General Counsel, Westlands Water District (Morning Presenter and Afternoon Panelist

Agenda

RSVP:  Click Here to Register

PLEASE RECOGNIZE AND THANK OUR PROGRAM HOST: PCWA Logo

AND OUR PROGRAM SPONSORS:

WEST YOSTSAGELogo_CMYKParjanaENERCON_Logo_TaglineProvost Pritchard LOGODark BlueDomenchelliMeadHunt-Vrt_ColorHEP_2C Pos VDudek_PMSBlack & Veatch

 

Time to RSVP – Speakers Added: The Honorable Phillip L. Isenberg, Tom Birmingham, Brent Hastey

April 17, 2016

THE CONQUEST FOR AND HISTORY OF “CALIFORNIA WATER” PAST-PRESENT-FUTURE

Hear about the past, present, and the future of California’s integrated water system from top water managers.  Learn how our complex integrated system developed and what the future has in store for California and this region. 

YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THIS PROGRAM

When:  Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Where:  The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center in Auburn

Time:  Doors open at 8:30 a,m. – Program starts at 9:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

RSVP:  Click Here to Register

You will hear about the history of California water and their District from Westlands Water District and San Luis & Delta-Mendota Authority

  • Westlands Water District is the largest agricultural water district in the United States, made up of more than 1,000 square miles of prime farmland in western Fresno and Kings Counties.
  • San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority represents approximately 2,100,000 acres of 29 federal and exchange water service contractors within the western San Joaquin Valley, San Benito and Santa Clara counties.

Learn about the Sites Reservoir project.  It has been on the books for decades. Can it fit into the framework of California’s water infrastructure puzzle?

Get the perspective on the future of California’s integrated water supply system, agriculture and northern California considering the weather pattern changes.

Reflections and the future of California Water from a true water warrior  – Our Keynote Lunch Speaker: The Honorable Phil Isenberg

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Tom Birmingham, General Manager, Westlands Water District (Afternoon Panelist)
  • Andy Fecko, Director Resource Development, Placer County Water Agency (Morning Presenter)
  • David Guy, President, Northern California Water Association (Afternoon Panelist)
  • Brent Hastey, Director, Yuba County Water Agency & Vice President, ACWA
  • The Honorable Phil Isenberg, Retired – Keynote Lunch Speaker
  • Einar Maisch, General Manager, Placer County Water Agency (Afternoon Panel Moderator) (Afternoon Panelist)
  • Jason Peltier, General Manager, San Luis & Delta-Mendota Authority (Morning Presenter and Afternoon Panelist)
  • Roger Patterson, Assistant General Manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
  • James Watson, General Manager, Sites Project Authority (Morning Presenter and Afternoon Panelist)
  • Phil Williams, Deputy General Counsel, Westlands Water District (Morning Presenter and Afternoon Panelist)

AGENDA COMING REAL SOON!!

RSVP:  Click Here to Register

PLEASE RECOGNIZE AND THANK OUR PROGRAM HOST: PCWA Logo

AND OUR PROGRAM SPONSORS:

Black & VeatchDomenchelli

Dudek_PMSENERCON_Logo_TaglineHEP_2C Pos VMeadHunt-Vrt_ColorProvost Pritchard LOGODark BlueParjanaSAGELogo_CMYKWEST YOST

 

 

 

 

Time to RSVP for MCWRA May 18 Program

April 12, 2016

When:  Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Where:  The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center in Auburn

Time:  Doors open at 9:00 a,m, – Program starts at 9:30 a.m.

RSVP:  Click Here to Register

Join us to hear from some of California’s top water leaders.  Westlands Water District, San Luis & Delta-Mendota Authority, Sites Project Authority and how the pieces fit together for northern California…and more!  

  • Sites Project Authority – the proposed Sites Reservoir would be a large offstream reservoir in the Sacramento Valley in Northern California
  • San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority represents approximately 2,100,000 acres of 29 federal and exchange water service contractors within the western San Joaquin Valley, San Benito and Santa Clara counties.
  • Westlands Water District is the largest agricultural water district in the United States, made up of more than 1,000 square miles of prime farmland in western Fresno and Kings Counties.

Why Sites Reservoir now ? – What does it mean to Northern California, California Agriculture, and the effects of climate change, past, present, and the future! 

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Andy Fecko, Director Resource Development, Placer County Water Agency (Morning Presenter)
  • David Guy, President, Northern California Water Association (Afternoon Panelist)
  • Einar Maisch, General Manager, Placer County Water Agency (Afternoon Panel Moderator) (Afternoon Panelist)
  • Jason Peltier, General Manager, San Luis & Delta-Mendota Authority (Morning Presenter and Afternoon Panelist)
  • Roger Patterson, Assistant General Manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
  • James Watson, General Manager, Sites Project Authority (Morning Presenter and Afternoon Panelist)
  • Phil Williams, Deputy General Counsel, Westlands Water District (Morning Presenter and Afternoon Panelist)

AGENDA COMING SOON!!

RSVP:  Click Here to Register

Emergency Conservation Regs – Local Control – Longterm Water Management – Letters to SWRCB

April 10, 2016

In a letter to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) on Water Conservation and longterm water management, Mountain Counties Water Resources Association thanked the SWRCB for scheduling the  forthcoming April 20 Public Workshop to consider modifications to the extended emergency urban water conservation regulation. The Mountain Counties Water Resources Association also encouraged the SWRCB to revisit the emergency regulations and to consider a regional approach applicable to a region’s local water supply conditions.  “The SWRCB should consider those regions where local water supply conditions have returned to normal and rescind the drought restrictions in those areas”, said John Kingsbury, Executive Director, MCWRA.  Further, as we move forward, there are four key foundational points that the SWRCB should consider relevant to long-term water management decisions as we move beyond this drought.

  1. Long-term water management policy is most appropriately developed and administered by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) as the lead agency in managing the state’s Urban Water Management Plan/Water Shortage Contingency Plan process. Long-term water management solutions are most appropriately developed and administered at the local water district level.
  1. California Water Action Plan, Action No. 2 is to “Promote Local Urban Conservation Ordinances and Programs.” Local water districts by design are increasingly conserving water by prohibiting certain types of wasteful water use. Local water districts are also pioneering incentive programs.  These actions by local water districts are foundational in Action No. 2, which is to promote local water district programs.
  1. The SWRCB should encourage and support investments in drought-resiliency and ongoing water-use efficiency and leave discretion with local water agencies to choose appropriate management strategies.
  1. Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM), administered by DWR enables self-identified regions to integrate and implement water management solutions for their region, which again is a foundation of Action 2 in the California Water Action Plan. The fundamental principle of IRWM is that “regional water managers, who are organized into regional water management groups (RWMGs), are best suited and best positioned to manage water resources to meet regional needs.”

Clearly the intent of these foundation points is to preserve local control over water management decisions.

Respectfully, the SWRCB is encouraged to affirmatively support the long-term water management policies of DWR and affirmatively support and preserve local control over water management decisions.

See more: April 2016 – SCWRB Comments and longterm management

Echoed by South Tahoe Public Utilities District’s (STPUD) general manager Richard Solbrig, “Put succinctly, STPUD believes that hydrologic and hydrogeologic conditions in the Tahoe Basin support the recission of the emergency regulations for local water purveyors that rely on this watershed”.

STPUDLogo(COLOR)

 

South Lake Tahoe PUD

See more: South Tahoe PD Emergency Conservation Regulations 4-8-16

MCWRA Welcomes New Member – Urban Water Institute

April 9, 2016

Mountain Counties Water Resources Association (MCWRA) would like to welcome the Urban Water Institute (UWI) as our newest member.

logo

The Urban Water Institute, Inc., was incorporated as a nonprofit public education organization in the State of California in 1993, with the Mission to provide non-partisan information of timely and pertinent interest to the water resource industry, including public agencies and private firms, with particular emphasis on water economics, management and resource policies as they affect consumers and the general economy.

Board of Directors
The Institute is governed by a volunteer board of 34 directors drawn from hands-on policy makers, elected officials and industry leaders who are active in the water resources industry.

John Kingsbury, MCWRA Executive Director: Together we have been nurturing our urban and rural relationship for the past few years and I am delighted and very excited that the Urban Water Institute has joined our membership.  This is significant for our Association.  In fact, this is such a good relationship, my Board of Directors authorized MCWRA becoming a member of the UWI. The relationship didn’t happen overnight.  It took several trips to southern California, making presentations, meeting with the UWI Board of Directors, a tour of the King Fire for our colleagues from the San Joaquin Valley and southern California, highlighted by a 1/2 day program at the El Dorado Irrigation District.  That meeting and the tour program was made possible because of the sponsorship and coordination efforts of our Associate member Gywn-Mohr Tully of Tully & Young and interest and participation by several other partners here in the Mountain Counties.  What was significant during the tour that culminated in the 1/2 day meeting was the opportunity for northern CA water managers to network with San Joaquin Valley and southern CA water managers.  We connected!  We are very much interested in building on our shared interests, raise awareness of those interests, and work together for our common good and that of the state.

UWI 2014 (17)

UWI program in southern CA on a new way to look at Watershed Management

from left: John Kingsbury, MCWRA Executive Director, Martha Conklin, PhD., Roger Bales PhD, Jim Branham, Executive Officer, Sierra Nevada Conservancy

2015 UWI King Fire Watershed Tour April 8-10 (25)2015 UWI King Fire Watershed Tour April 8-10 (135)2015 UWI King Fire Watershed Tour April 8-10 (31)

King Fire Tour

2015 UWI King Fire Watershed Tour April 8-10 (149)

 

 

 

More on King Fire Tours

 

 

SAVE THE DATE – Next Mountain Counties Program

April 8, 2016

When:  Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Where:  The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center in Auburn

Time:  Doors open at 9:00 a,m, – Program starts at 9:30 a.m.

Hear from speakers in the morning and a panel discussion in the afternoon.

Why Sites Reservoir now – What does it mean to Northern California, California Agriculture, and the effects of climate change, past, present, and the future! – You won’t want to miss it!

  • Sites Project Authority – the proposed Sites Reservoir would be a large offstream reservoir in the Sacramento Valley in Northern California
  • San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority represents approximately 2,100,000 acres of 29 federal and exchange water service contractors within the western San Joaquin Valley, San Benito and Santa Clara counties.
  • Westlands Water District is the largest agricultural water district in the United States, made up of more than 1,000 square miles of prime farmland in western Fresno and Kings Counties.

The announcement of guest speakers, more details, and registration to follow – –Save the Date

 

 

 

Another Missed Opportunity

April 4, 2016

By: John Kingsbury, Executive Director

Recovering from this historical drought would no doubt cause change in people’s behavior. Right?  While Californians can take full credit for willingly sacrificing their landscape and adjusting habits to save our water supply for another year, did we learn much from this exercise?  Water districts, agriculture and home consumers did. However, for regulators of the state and federal reservoirs, not really.

In the midst of our recovery, the state’s largest storage reservoirs, Shasta, Oroville, and Folsom are flushing millions of gallons of fresh water to the sea.  Senator Dianne Feinstein and several congressional Republicans argued that the water should be captured for agricultural purposes.  And, at the same time, this additional fresh water could be diverted and put to beneficial use by both north state and southern California homes. Yet regulators over the state and federal reservoirs see it differently and let the water head to the bay.

Certainly Californians have learned to use water efficiently, improve water use technologies, and recycle our waste water, but we missed the opportunity to “bank” flood water.

We are in a drought with landscape irrigation restrictions.  Many ground water basins are in a deficit. Yet flood water is being allowed to flow past those who have complied with water restrictions and the impacted underground water storage reservoirs.  The answer is not to continue with landscape restrictions, higher water rates, and a change in the quality of life, but to implement measures to capture and store winter excess flood flows as a water “bank” for later use in the summer and the fall.

Development of new and expanded surface storage facilities to store and “bank” the flood water and increase injection of this water into the aquifers should be one of the state’s top priorities for utilization of existing voter approved state water bond funds. But, to date, there is little movement to do so.

This missed opportunity is inexcusable.

Water Purveyors in the Mountain Counties Recind Emergency Drought Declarations

March 29, 2016

While the drought conditions that formed the basis of the Governor’s proclamation and Emergency Urban Water Conservation Restrictions exist in some parts of the state, water suppliers within the watersheds of the Mountain Counties yield normal water supply conditions.

The El Dorado Irrigation District (EID), Georgetown Divide Public Utility District (GDPUD), Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) and Nevada Irrigation District (NID), have lifted their drought emergency declarations because of normal water supply conditions. Due to the present hydrologic conditions each district has declared the drought in their service area over, and has called upon the State Water Resources Control Board to remove the drought restrictions in their region.

El Dorado Irrigation District Comment Letter.pdf  – …every reservoir upon which the District relies is full or will fill, and the District anticipates again having surplus water available for transfer in 2016.  It is time to return local control to agencies like the District that have attained normal water supply conditions.

Georgetown Divide PUD   – Stumpy Meadows Reservoir levels have more than doubled in the past 90 days and have now reached 100% of the 20,000 acre feet capacity limit.

PCWA – Letter to Felicia Marcus RE Emergency Conservation Regulations  – PCWA will have access to full supplies for all of its existing retail and wholesale treated water customers….and enough carryover storage in all project reservoirs and groundwater basines to meet demand in 2017, even it is is a dry year.  PCWA believes that hydrologic conditions in the American and South Yuba river systems support the rescission of the emergency regulations for local water purveyors that rely on these watersheds.

Nevada Irrigation District  –  NID’s water supply has rebounded strongly after four years of drought. Precipitation at Bowman Reservoir (elev. 5,650 ft.) reached 69.34 inches on Mar. 20, which is 127 percent of average for the date.

NEWS CBS and Fox 40 recently interviewed Ross Branch, Public Affairs Manager for PCWA and reported on this subject:

March 24, 2016: CBS’s report on PCWA’s request to ease drought restrictions:

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2016/03/24/placer-water-officials-call-on-california-to-ease-drought-restrictions/

March 24, 2016: Fox 40’s report on water conservation despite reservoir releases:

http://fox40.com/2016/03/24/water-conservation-measures-remain-in-place-despite-major-reservoir-releases/

_________________________

On April 20, 2016, the State Water Resources Control Board will hold a public workshop to receive input on the potential modification of the current Emergency Regulation for Statewide Urban Water Conservation. This will be an informational workshop only and the State Water Board will take no formal action. Public Workshop Notice.

 

Water Purveyors in the Mountain Counties Request State Ease Drought Restrictions

March 25, 2016

Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) and Nevada Irrigation District (NID) have requested the State ease water restrictions in their service areas.  Despite full reservoirs, average and above average snowpack in the northern Sierra, and increased reservoir storage releases to the ocean from Shasta, Oroville, and Folsom, the emergency drought water regulations continue to impact the region.

Adding to the debate over Northern California’s winter stormwaters, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and congressional Republicans asked President Obama on Thursday to increase the volume of water pumped through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the drought-stricken San Joaquin Valley.  Feinstein, D-Calif., and a group of California House Republicans led by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called for increased pumping in a pair of letters to the White House. … ”  MORE FROM MAVENS NOTEBOOK

On April 20, 2016, the State Water Resources Control Board will hold a public workshop to receive input on the potential modification of the current Emergency Regulation for Statewide Urban Water Conservation. This will be an informational workshop only and the State Water Board will take no formal action. Public Workshop Notice.

NEWS CBS and Fox 40 recently interviewed Ross Branch, Public Affairs Manager for PCWA and reported on this subject:

March 24, 2016: CBS’s report on PCWA’s request to ease drought restrictions:

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2016/03/24/placer-water-officials-call-on-california-to-ease-drought-restrictions/

March 24, 2016: Fox 40’s report on water conservation despite reservoir releases:

http://fox40.com/2016/03/24/water-conservation-measures-remain-in-place-despite-major-reservoir-releases/

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