Delta Stewardship Council holds hearing on draft Delta Plan amendment on conveyance, storage

May 26, 2017

On May 25,2017 the Delta Stewardship Council held a hearing to consider amendments on conveyance and storage.  The hearing lasted about 6 hours.  The informational only hearing included a staff report, two panels, and public comment to weigh in on the draft amendment.

The Council is proposing to amend the Delta Plan to promote options for water conveyance, storage systems, and the operation of both as required by Water Code Section 85304. The draft Delta Plan CSO amendment includes recommendations for Delta water management system operations and supporting infrastructure improvements that, together and in combination with existing Delta Plan policies and recommendations, will further the coequal goals. The draft Delta Plan CSO amendment promotes options for, and characteristics of, conveyance, storage, and operations that contribute to a coordinated system with improved flexibility to meet the coequal goals.

MCWRA hand carried letter to the hearing:  Randy Firoini May 2017

Executive Director John Kingsbury – Public Comments: Comments for May 25 hearing

The Delta Stewardship Council was created in legislation to achieve the state mandated coequal goals for the Delta. “‘Coequal goals’ means the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place.” (CA Water Code §85054)

Grant Funding Opportunities

May 23, 2017

 

Brown, Elissa,  Funding Development Coordinator

Elissa.Brown@sierranevada.ca.gov

 

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES NEWSLETTER

June – July 2017

Upcoming Grants that Might be of Interest:

Your SNC Area Representative can help you set up an individual consultation with the SNC Funding Team to get advice about specific funding opportunities or general fund development strategies. To take advantage of this resource, contact your Area Representative.

Grant Writing Workshops are available to help build the capacity of organizations that serve the Sierra Nevada Region. If you are interested in organizing or attending a workshop, contact your Area Representative.

MCWRA Members Helping Members

May 16, 2017

If you need assistance with an upcoming project or program, please consider MCWRA Associate Members in your search.

MCWRA Associate Members have underwritten our symposiums, events, tours, and briefings.  Since 2011, MCWRA has received 56 sponsorships for over $56,400.00.  This funding has enabled the Association to provide quality educations programs for the mountain counties region.

ATTENDANCE 

12 TOURS: 266 top decisions makers

13 WORKSHOPS/EXECUTIVE BRIEFINGS: 325 from the Executive Membership

17 SYMPOSIUMS/EVENTS: 1692 members and guests

TOP PROGRAM AND EVENT SPONSORS

  1. PARJANA
  2. SAGE
  3. SIERRA NEVADA CONSERVANCY
  4. TULLY & YOUNG
  5. HDR ENGINEERING
  6. ATKINS
  7. BROWN AND CALDWELL
  8. WEST YOST ASSOCIATES
  9. THE FOREST FOUNDATION
  10. CALIFORNIA FORESTRY ASSOCIATION
  11. ECORP CONSULTING
  12. MEAD & HUNT
  13. SIERRA WEST CONSULTANTS
  14. BLACK & VEACH
  15. DOMENICHELLI AND ASSOCIATES
  16. DUDEK
  17. ENERCON
  18. HELIX ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING
  19. PROVOST & PRITCHARD CONSULTING GROUP

For more information and contacts, click the links below.

Link:  Members Helping Members

Link:  Members Page

Conservative and Responsible Management

May 11, 2017

By Jim Abercrombie, El Dorado Irrigation District General Manager

As I write this column, EID workers are in the thick of widespread emergency repairs. The emergency repairs, resulting from damages caused during the storms of January/February, are some of the most significant we’ve experienced in recent memory. Some of those repairs are to canal and flume sections perched high on hard-to-access mountain sides.

EID maintains 22 miles of canals, flumes, and tunnels in its federally licensed hydroelectric system. This system also transports a significant amount of our customers’ drinking water supply from high Sierra sources.  And that’s only one link in the chain of interconnected infrastructure and facilities that make possible the services we provide to our customers 24 hours a day.

EID’s complex system requires continuous maintenance and scheduled reconstruction. That’s why we plan our capital improvements carefully, issuing bonds to finance long-lived infrastructure that will benefit generations of customers.

In order to make the repairs necessary to maintain our complex system of infrastructure, you must have a rock solid financial plan in place.  EID finances are stronger today than ever before. It has taken time to get to this point, but the careful planning and tough decisions made by EID staff and the EID board of Directors have created an agency able to deal with the many challenges it faces now and into the future.

EID’s diverse system consists of nearly a billion dollars’ worth of vital infrastructure across its five business lines—water, wastewater, recycled water, hydroelectric generation, and recreation services. To sustainably maintain such a diverse infrastructure spread out over 220 square miles of service area requires long-range, conservative financial planning and debt management.  It also takes a fair amount of money for those often large projects, especially the capital improvement projects that will last for many years and benefit generations of EID ratepayers.

Before 2010, water rates had risen six times in 22 years. And during this time, many important and necessary projects were deferred. For much of that time, the district overly relied on new connection fees that were so abundant before the 2008/2009 financial crash. Coming out of that period, EID has become more conservative, more sustainable, and has developed financial plans that feature modest, regular rate increases instead of the periodic “rate shock” corrections of the past that upset many customers. This continued investment in our community infrastructure is important for the district as we face the challenges ahead of us. With a sustainably managed capital improvement plan, we’ll be prepared to continue providing the dependable service that our customers rely on every day.

EID has come a long way in recent years to introduce resiliency not only in our water supplies, but also in our finances—and we are committed to keep to this conservative path going forward. And by implementing low, single-digit rate adjustments, EID is able to direct resources to replace aging infrastructure that has served us ably for so long, and will continue to serve our community for decades to come.  Fiscal responsibility and good management are the bedrock of EID’s culture and this is born out in verifiable numbers and facts. El Dorado Irrigation District—and the men and women working to ensure our complex systems run safely and reliably every single day, during normal operations and in emergencies like we’re experiencing now—stands by that.

PCWA Board votes to join West Placer Groundwater Sustainability Agency

May 8, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ross Branch, Public Affairs Manager, Placer County Water Agency  (530) 823-1937 (office), (530) 863-3130 (cell), rbranch@pcwa.net

AUBURN, Calif. (May 5, 2017) — At the May 4 meeting of the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA), the Board of Directors approved an agreement to join neighboring entities in creation of the West Placer Groundwater Sustainability Agency (WPGSA). Once formed, the WPGSA will manage local groundwater conditions as required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGMA).

SGMA directs “sustainable groundwater management” for groundwater basins designated as medium- and high-priority by the California Department of Water Resources. The WPGSA will manage a portion of the North American Sub-basin, which has been designated as a high-priority basin.

Other public entities considering participation in the WPGSA include the Cities of Lincoln and Roseville, the Nevada Irrigation District, and Placer County. The Memorandum of Agreement, approved by the Board, initially appoints Placer County as WPGSA’s Administrator, managing activities and contracts, consistent with the budget approved by all parties. California American Water Company will participate in the organization’s activities subject to a separate Participation Agreement and contribute to the budget, but will not be a member of the WPGSA.

Formation of the WPGSA will ensure local control of the water resources, as opposed to the state, and set up the appropriate framework for long-term sustainable groundwater management. Under SGMA, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies must be formed by June 30, 2017. Development and implementation of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) is required by the year 2022.

More information about the WPGSA and SGMA is available at www.westplacergroundwater.com.

 

Legislation Provides a Choice Between Two Water Futures

May 6, 2017

BY: Einar Maisch

General Manager, PCWA

Last week, the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee in Sacramento held a hearing on several bills that represented two different visions for future water use in California. One vision, embodied in AB 968 (Rubio) and supported by Placer County Water Agency, would establish new long-term water use efficiency targets for water agencies, and their customers, taking into account local conditions, established water rights, and past investments. The other vision, proposed by the Brown Administration and reflected in accompanying legislation, would transfer unchecked authority to the unelected State Water Resources Control Board to set permanent conservation standards, and ratchet them down over time, regardless of local conditions. It is the typical “one-size fits all” approach we are accustomed to from Sacramento.

For me, the most telling moment of the hearing came from testimony in opposition to the locally-developed approach, and in favor of the Administration’s proposal. The witness, representing the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), claimed the state needed to engage in more central-planning to prevent the water conservation “backsliding” that has occurred since the end of the drought. 2014 and 2015 were two very dry years, marked by mandated conservation during which residents and businesses reduced water use by over 30 percent in many areas of the state. People took extraordinary actions, let their landscapes die, reduced flushing, and generally did whatever they could to help stretch limited water supplies.

Then over the last two years, with reservoirs refilling in 2016, and the region experiencing the most rain on record in 2017, urban water use has slowly evolved to a new normal. People have learned they can live just fine using less water and everyone is finding their own way forward. Some are replacing their landscapes with more drought tolerant materials, while others are restoring their landscapes with improved irrigation technology. Overall, PCWA customers are still using roughly 20 percent less water compared to pre-drought levels. That is responsible use of water, not “backsliding.”

For the NRDC, however, no one should be allowed to increase their water use beyond what they were able to get by on when supplies were critical. They would have all of us live every year as if  it were a critical drought, regardless of the level of investments the community has made to ensure a reliable water supply.

Instead of envisioning a future that looks a lot like the bleak days of 2014 and 2015, PCWA supports a vision of the future marked by prudent stewardship of the natural amenities we enjoy in Placer County. For this central valley boy, a shade tree and a spot of cool grass on a summer day (with no runoff down the gutter) is not a crime.

Permanent Water Conservation Legislation – MCWRA in Opposition

April 23, 2017

Water policy legislation crafted and set for an April 25 Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee hearing

On Friday, April 14, MCWRA hand carried and delivered a letter to each Senator and Assembly Member’s office in strong opposition to permanent water conservation regulations and specific to the Budget Trailer Bill.  Click for letters:

Senators – Water Conservation

MCWRA also opposed AB 1667 (Friedman)-Urban water suppliers: landscape water meters, and hand carried letters to 47 legislators.  Since that time, AB 1667 was gutted and amended and labeled: AB 1667 (Friedman) – Agricultural Water Management Planning.  In drawing from the Budget Trailer bill, Assembly Member Laura Friedman (Glendale) also authored AB 1668 and AB 1669.

On April 21, 2017 the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), issued a member “Outreach Alert” calling for action and providing template letters.  Using the ACWA template letters, MCWRA drafted letters in opposition to the three Assembly bills.

MCWRA hand carried and delivered the following letters on April 22 in advance of the April 25 hearing:

April 14 2017 Letter to Assembly Members and Senators  (included with AB 1668 and AB 1669)

Click below for bill language and MCWRA OPPOSE letters

AB 1667 (Agricultural Water Management)

MCWRA Letter:  AB 1667 Agricultural Water Management – Oppose

AB 1668 (Urban Water Management Planning)

MCWRA Letter:  AB 1668 – Oppose

AB 1669 (Urban Water-Use Efficiency Standards and Use Reporting)

MCWRA Letter:    AB 1669 – Oppose

 

In Opposition-permanent water conservation, expanded regulatory powers, and other proposed legislation

April 16, 2017
In a hand-carried letter to each and every California Senator and Assembly Member’s office on Friday, April 14, MCWRA took a position to strongly oppose the budget trailer bill that would impose mandatory water conservation measures and expand regulatory powers and authority.  “This draconian and arbitrary rationing decision tramples upon the personal rights of individuals to make choices on their beneficial use of water, undermines local conditions, undermines local control, the state’s water rights priority system and Area-of-Origin water right assurances in this region” said executive director John Kingsbury.  The state would greatly benefit from a more strategic approach to water management than what is being proposed in Sacramento.  In the 7-page letter, Kingsbury said that he also took the opportunity to lay out several of the regional and statewide issues to help educate those legislators removed from water issues.
Click the following links for the letter:

 In Futher Action:

MCWRA also joined in with a large coalition to support, in concept, AB 968 and 1654.

Click the following links for the letter:
The bill makes water use efficiency a way of life in California in a manner that accounts for local conditions, while also recognizing and incentivizing sustainable, balanced approaches to water management. AB 968 will establish a collaborative stakeholder process to continue improvement in water use efficiency beyond 2025.
The bill would prohibit a water supplier from being required to reduce its use or reliance on any water supply available beyond the steps specified in its water shortage contingency analysis, protecting water suppliers’ and their customers’ investments in resilient water supply sources.

MCWRA also hand-carried and delivered 94 letters specific to two significant Assembly bills headed through the political system; AB 975 and AB 1667.  MCWRA has OPPOSED both bills.

AB-975 (Friedman) Natural Resources. Wild and Scenic Rivers (As Amended on March 23, 2017) – click link for letter: AB-975 – Oppose

AB-1667 (Friedman) Urban water suppliers: landscape water metersclick link for letter: AB-1667 – Oppose

Water Storage Investment Program Announcement

April 15, 2017

Application walk-through and quantification example webinar

The California Water Commission (Commission) is hosting a webinar for potential applicants of the Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP) on April 27, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Click for more informaton

California Water Commission’s new Executive Officer

April 8, 2017

 

The California Water Commission announced that Joe Yun has agreed to serve as Executive Officer.

Joe has over 28 years of experience working in water resource planning and management for the Department of Water Resources and in private consulting, where he gained valuable experience with water policy and implementing water management grant programs in California.


In a congratulatory letter, John Kingsbury, Executive Director of MCWRA, also took the opportunity to encourage Proposition 1 funding for regional projects including,  Alder Reservoir, Blagen Mill Pond Restoration Project, Centennial Reservoir, Herring Creek Reservoir Expansion, Sierra Pines Reservoir, Sugar Pine Dam Raise, Tuolumne County Water Supply Reliability Project, Upper Strawberry Reservoir, and Wilson Lake Rehabilitation and Meadow Restoration Plan.

“These additional surface water storage projects will help reduce ground water extraction and subsidence in the Delta by using surface water during wet years and the ground water basin during dry years.  Additional storage in this region will provide a buffer for new urban and municipal uses, drought preparedness, downstream flood protection, and provide additional cold water for endangered fish.  The water released from these reservoirs will help balance the wind and solar electricity grid by generating carbon-free renewable hydropower energy. Please also keep in mind that there is no better opportunity to develop clean renewable hydropower energy than in the Mountain Counties Area.”…

Letter to Joe Yun – Executive Officer

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