Sierra Nevada Conservancy Seeking Public Input on Grant Guidelines

March 17, 2017

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) is seeking public input on updated grant guidelines for the Conservancy’s Proposition 1 grant program. The SNC grant program is funded by Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, which was passed by voters in November 2014.

The SNC is proposing that the second grant round will continue to focus on forest health projects, including projects to reduce the risk of large, damaging wildfires. These types of projects are specifically called out in Proposition 1 and the California Water Action Plan, in recognition of the critical role watersheds play in California’s water future.

A series of three public workshops will be held in early April 2017 to gather public comment and familiarize potential grantees with the application process. Dates and locations of these workshops to be announced soon.

To access the draft Grant Guidelines on the SNC website, please click here. Interested parties can submit comments via email to or by mail to Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Attn: Grants Administration, 11521 Blocker Drive, Suite 205, Auburn, CA 95603.

Public comments will be accepted through Friday, April 14, 2017.

MCWRA Unimpaired Flow Comment Letter & Opinion printed in The Union Democrat

March 16, 2017

Mountain Counties Water Resources Association comments on the 2016 Bay-Delta Plan Amendment & Substitute Environmental Document (SED)

Click link for letter to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB): Water Quality Control Plan – Unimpaired Flows 2017

The Bulletin

Draining the Sierra Nevada Headwaters

By John Kingsbury, Executive Director, Mountain Counties Water Resources Association

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWCRB) is developing regulations that will deprive northern Californian’s of our water supplies.

The proposed plan guarantees that Sierra water be dedicated to flow unimpaired to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). This flawed approach will drain Sierra Nevada headwaters and reservoirs while dedicating that water to fill a bathtub with a hole in it – the Delta.

Read the Opinion as published in the Union Democrat:

Water Commission – Water Storage Investment Program Application Assistance Workshop

March 13, 2017


The California Water Commission (Commission) is hosting an application assistance workshop for potential applicants of the Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP).

This workshop is an opportunity for proponents of new water storage projects to learn more about the application process and to ask questions related to preparing and submitting an application for funding under the WSIP. Commission, DWR, State Water Board, and CDFW staff will be on hand to answer application questions

Date:  March 30, 20179:30 a.m.

Location:  Klamath Hearing Room, Second Floor

California Environmental Protection Agency

1001 I Street, Sacramento

Click link for workshop notice: Water Commission Workshop

The Complete story – February 24 Symposium

March 12, 2017

Recently, the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association (MCWRA) held a historic regional water symposium for its membership. While MCWRA has hosted many regional water programs in the past five years, never has MCWRA hosted a regional water symposium that included two United States Congressmen, three California State Senators, and one California Assembly Member under the same roof at the same time. Never has there been such a significant presence of county supervisors from the mountain counties area.  It was a distinct honor and privilege that our representatives all attended to offer their views and perspectives on the regional and northern California water challenges and opportunities with the new Trump Administration.


Congressman Doug LaMalfa and Congressman Tom McClintock


Mavens Notebook captures the conversation

Here is the Video link for the morning session and that afternoon session where top regional water officials provide their views and perspectives



State Senator Jim Nielsen and State Senator Tom Berryhill





State Senator Ted Gaines and State Assembly Member Kevin Kiley









Left to right: Dave Eggerton, Calaveras County Water District, Marcus Yasutake, City of Folsom, Einar Maisch, Placer County Water Agency, Shannon Cotulla, South Tahoe Public Utility District, Brian Poulsen, El Dorado Irrigation District


By:  John Kingsbury, Executive Director, Mountain Counties Water Resources Association

Listening to our local, state and federal leaders at the all day symposium, caused me to reflect on many of the water issues that face water districts and their communities in the mountain counties area.  Certainly, each issue in itself could make for a future opinion article,

  • WATERSHED MANAGEMENT – Catastrophic wildland fires are a threat to water supply and downstream water quality.  The overstocked forest and the dead, dying trees is unprecedented. There needs to be significant change in management of the state’s natural infrastructure if we are to sustain healthy forests and foothills, eco-systems, and high-quality water resources in California.
  • WATER STORAGE – Much has been written and promoted about the need for more water storage, rightly so. This fresh water should be stored in northern California reservoirs, sequestered in the Sierra, and injected into the ground water basins to provide for multiple beneficial uses later.
  • WATER QUALITY – Special interest groups want to squeeze valuable water resources from agriculture, and rural and urban communities so there is more fresh water to dilute the toxins in the river system. This should be considered a waste and an unreasonable use of water.  The state should use Proposition 1 funding approved by the voters in 2014 and fix the water quality problems upstream.
  • UNIMPAIRED FLOW – Special interest groups want more flow for fish in the Delta, yet ignore science and the other stressors in the Delta. To have a robust fishery, there needs to be ample food, cover, and cold water at the right time.  More flow for the sake of flow is like trying to fill a bathtub with a hole in it.
  • ALTERED DELTA – Decades of Delta alterations and sea level rise, demand more fresh water to fight mother nature and salt from intruding too far upstream. Adjustments must be made in the Delta.  If sea rise is not properly addressed in the Delta, that additional demand for fresh water will come from northern California and the mountain counties tributaries.
  • WATER RIGHTS AND LOCAL CONTROL – There is constant positioning to unravel historical water rights protections. These longstanding state assurances are paramount to this regions quality of life and should be honored unequivocally such that no state and/or federal agency exert regulatory authority to hinder or reallocate area-of-origin and/or watershed-of-origin water supplies that lays harm to the communities and eco-systems in the Mountain Counties Area.
  • EMERGENCY DROUGHT – The drought is over. Yet, by keeping the “executive order emergency declaration” in play, regulators hold tight rein on power and authority, only to compound local water district challenges. Reduced revenue from rationing force water districts to raise water rates on communities and ratepayers that can’t afford it.  Revenue that should go to replace and repair aging infrastructure goes to fund operating costs.  The State is poised to establish permanent water rationing measures.  The proposed measures will exasperate local community water issues.
  • PUBLIC GOODS CHARGE – There is movement to impose what is being called a public goods charge on water. This will be a state mandate for water districts to impose a surcharge on your bill.  That money should go to replace your water district’s aging infrastructure.  My money says it goes to Sacramento never to return.  This means, loss of local control and raised rates!
  • WATER RATIONING – Water districts are required by Proposition 218 to charge their ratepayers the cost to provide service, which is what they do. Look for the state to change that to penalize water districts if they miss those water rationing targets the state hopes to impose, again, either legislatively or regulatorily.  Once the indoor and outdoor household water use targets have been established, it will be easy for the regulators and legislature to get out the ratchet and raise those targets, becoming standards.  This is a direct hit on water rights.

Regional water reliability should be of significant concern.  Only by setting aside differences and working with our local, state, and federal representatives on comprehensive water management solutions will this region have any chance to achieve long-term water reliability for the foreseeable future.

Application Period for Water Storage Projects Begins March 14, 2017

March 9, 2017

SACRAMENTO- The California Water Commission (Commission) announced today that starting March 14, 2017, proponents of new water storage projects in California may submit applications for funding of public benefits under the water bond approved by California voters in 2014. Proposition 1 — the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act — a $7.5 billion water bond for investments in the state’s water management systems, includes $2.7 billion for public benefits related to new water storage projects. Those public benefits include ecosystem improvements, water quality improvements, flood control, emergency response and recreation.


PG&E Opens $1 Million Grant Program to Support Local Climate Change Resilience Planning

March 7, 2017

The following information provided by: Elisa Brown at the Sierra Nevada Conservancy 

To learn more about grant opportunities for the Sierra Region click here

SANFRANCISCO, Calif.— In 2016 alone, more than 5,700 wildfires burned across the state of California according to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. And despite record rain this winter, climate change is expected to increase the number of large wildfires as well as the length of the wildfire season in California. To help Californian communities meet this challenge, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) launched its Better Together Resilient Communities grant program today.

Through the program, PG&E will invest $1 million over five years – or $200,000 per year – in shareholder-funded grants to help communities better prepare for, withstand, and recover from extreme events and other risks related to climate change. This year, the company is calling for proposals that will build healthy and resilient forests and watersheds to help communities prevent and prepare for increasing wildfire risk.

“At PG&E, we believe adapting to the reality of climate change must include helping our communities to become more resilient to its many potential effects, such as the risk of wildfires. One way to do that is to work closely with our local partners, as well as those at the state and federal level, to support the best and most innovative ideas — with a particular focus on those who live in highly vulnerable areas,” said Geisha Williams, CEO and President of PG&E Corporation.

PG&E will award two grants of $100,000 through a competitive process. A panel of community and sustainability leaders, including the League of California Cities and members of PG&E’s Sustainability Advisory Council will play an advisory role with the program.

Strategies and solutions resulting from the grants will be made publicly available to help all communities, and encourage local and regional partnerships.

“Climate change is having extreme effects on our planet, and the state of California is facing increasing weather-related risks, including more frequent and more intense wildfires. I applaud PG&E for partnering with vulnerable communities on this science-based climate change resilience initiative. This new grant program will help Californians prepare for a future with more wildfires and other impacts from a changing climate,” said Dr. Jonathan Foley, Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences and member of PG&E’s Sustainability Advisory Council.

“We’re delighted to see PG&E taking this leadership role in helping protect California’s communities from wildfire.  As we work to ensure a safe, sustainable environment for our firefighters, their families, and our communities, it is essential to gain a better understanding of how to reduce the risks climate change and wildfires pose to lives and property,” said Lou Paulson, President, California Professional Firefighters.

“Extreme weather and climate change are threatening the safety of communities across central and northern California. With wildfire and other risks increasing to historic levels, we must generate innovative, collaborative solutions to succeed. We applaud PG&E for offering a program that focuses on these risks and encourages the collaboration needed to keep our communities safe now and in the years to come,” said Tom Trott, general manager of Twain Harte Community Services District.

Grant Criteria and Eligibility

Grant proposals will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Partnerships: the extent to which the proposal reflects a collaborative effort among multiple organizations
  • Replicability: the extent to which the proposal identifies how others can learn from and adopt the resulting strategies and solutions
  • Assistance to disadvantaged communities: the extent to which the proposal addresses the identified needs of disadvantaged communities
  • Measurable impact: the extent to which the proposal includes practical, measurable and innovative ways to address community needs and climate risks

To be eligible, applicants must be a governmental organization, educational institution or 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All applicants must include a local government within PG&E’s service area as a partner.

Learn more about the grants and how to apply at


MCWRA Member Symposium – Postponed – State Holiday

March 6, 2017

The Flint Michigan Legacy – A Case Study


Sorry for the confusion – John Kingsbury

The discounted registration rate underwritten by West Yost Associates

LOCATION:  The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center

2020 Golf Course Rd, Auburn, CA 95602,   (map)



SYMPOSIUM:9:30 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.

This member regional symposium is an opportunity to educate members on the factors that lead to the Flint Michigan crisis and the lessons learned.  Public water systems must always remain committed to drinking water quality.  Water quality issues in Michigan brought health concerns to the community, and criminal investigation to the highest levels of state government.

Water districts and agencies in this region provide reliable high-quality treated water to their communities.  This on-going commitment requires public water systems to be engaged in a number of measures, including; commitment to corrosion control treatment, aware of distribution system risks, committed to replacement of risks within the distribution system, committed to having licensed operators who are always vigilant to the risks associated with lead, providing opportunities for operations staff to receive training, and having good public outreach with customers.

Speakers from the public sector and state agencies will discuss:

  • Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment of Internal Corrosion and Increased Metals Concentrations
  • Financial and grants – emergency funding options/grant management/accountability
  • Disaster Logistics – Process
  • Legal Affairs – Implications for responsible parties (civil/criminal) – protections
  • Emergency Proclamations – who/what/how?
  • News and Media – Health issues/informing the public/dealing with the media
  • Compliance orders – Water Quality issues
  • Planning for Prevention Steps

The educational symposium is intended for top county officials from the MCWRA membership; City Council Members, County Supervisors, Board of Directors, General Managers, top management, and technical staff.

This symposium is underwritten and sponsored by:

MCWRA Welcomes State and Federal Representatives to Regional Water Symposium

February 26, 2017


Contact:  John Kingsbury, Executive Director (530) 957-7879

Follow Mountain Counties Water Resources Association for more on this symposium

On Friday, February 24, 2017, the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association (MCWRA) held a regional water symposium to a full house of its members at The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center in Auburn.

United States House of Representatives, Congressman Doug LaMalfa and Congressman Tom McClintock were joined by California Senators Tom Berryhill, Ted Gaines, Jim Nielsen, and California Assembly Member Kevin Kiley.  The federal and state representatives provided their views and perspectives on the regional and northern California water management challenges and opportunities under the new Trump Administration.

In the afternoon, top regional water officials discussed opportunities to assist our state and federal representatives in enhancing Mountain County water resources throughout the foreseeable future.






left to right: Dave Eggerton, Calaveras County Water District (CCWD), Marcus Yasutake, City of Folsom, Einar Maisch, Placer County Water Agency (PCWA), Shannon Cotulla, South Tahoe Public Utility District (STPUD), Brian Poulsen, General Counsel, El Dorado Irrigation District (EID).

MCWRA is a leadership, education, and advocacy association that works to unite agencies, groups and individuals whose interests include protecting and advocating for the water interests of its members in all or a portion of 16 counties from the southern tip of Lassen County down to Fresno County.

MCWRA holds regional water forums for its members and others interested in regional water issues.  Speakers include top state and federal decision makers.

Symposium Sponsored and Underwritten by:


MCWRA Regional Water Symposium (February 24) – Members RSVP Today

February 7, 2017

The New Trump Administration – A View from the Top

At MCWRA’s first regional event of 2017, meet Federal and State representatives in person and hear their views on the new Trump Administration on regional water interests.  In the afternoon, we have put together a regional panel of top managers to provide their views.  Panelists will also discuss challenges and opportunities and how to work with our state and federal partners to enhance local and regional interests in the mountain counties region.

Date:  Friday, February 24, 2017

Time:  9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Doors Open at 8:45 a.m.

Location:  The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center, 2020 Golf Course Rd, Auburn, CA 95602

Contact:  John Kingsbury (530)957-7879 –

Registration Open (Members Only) – RSVP today:


United States Congressman Doug LaMalfa






United States Congressman Tom McClintock






California State Senator Tom Berryhill






California State Senator Ted Gaines 





California State Senator Jim Nielsen





California State Assembly Member Kevin Kiley


Afternoon Water Manager Panel 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

  • Shannon Cotulla, Assistant General Manager, South Tahoe Public Utility District
  • Einar Maisch, General Manager, Placer County Water Agency
  • Ken Payne, Interim General Manager, El Dorado County Water Agency
  • Marcus Yasutake, Environmental and Water Resources Director, City of Folsom

Moderator: Brian Poulsen, General Counsel, El Dorado Irrigation District

Event Sponsored and Underwritten by: SAGE and HDR


Registration Open (Members Only) – RSVP today:

State & Local Officials Continue to Urge Governor to End Drought Declaration

February 6, 2017

Senator Jim Nielsen’s Office, California’s 4th District holds PRESS ADVISORY.

Today, Senator Jim Nielsen, Assembly Members’  Brian Dahle, and Kevin Kiley held a Press Advisory via a conference call and in his Capitol office calling on the regulators to end the declared drought emergency.  Water Officials participating with Senator Nielsen in his office included:  John Kingsbury (Mountain Counties Water Resources Association, MCWRA), Supervisor Jim Holmes (County of Placer and Director of MCWRA), Barbara Balen (Vice Chair, Tuolumne Utilities District and Vice President, MCWRA), Dave Breninger (Ambassador, MCWRA), Bill George (Ex Officio, MCWRA), and Todd Manley (Northern California Water Association)

The State Water Resources Control Board is scheduled to vote Wednesday, February 8 on the continuation of the most restrictive water conservation in the nation. In spite of the abundance of rain and snow, state regulators are asking the Water Board to force Californians to conserve water.

This Press Advisory follows a letter signed by several legislators and regional water officials asking Governor to end the emergency drought proclamation.

With more rain and snow in the forecast and trillions of gallons of water flushing to the ocean, Northern California lawmakers and local water agencies have asked Governor Brown to end the emergency drought proclamation. In their letter, officials stated the following:

“Through your emergency declaration and outreach efforts, Californians are now more mindful and aware of the scarcity of our water. “Californians dutifully conserved water during the drought. We took out our lawns and substituted drought tolerant plants. We took shorter showers. We used more efficient watering systems on our gardens and farms. Perhaps most painfully, we fallowed our land and sold off our livestock out-of-state. “You asked us to do our part to save. We dutifully complied. “In fact, conservation had become widely practiced, particularly in agriculture, even before this most recent devastating and prolonged drought. “Californians have done their part. Let’s do our part and end the drought.”

Click here to view the letter to Governor Brown

MCWRA and several members and partners continue to send the Governor and State Water Board Officials letters calling for the emergency drought declaration to end. As of common concern, this is a statewide issue. Two recent letters, not previously posted, include a letter from northern California district member, El Dorado Irrigation District, and a letter from one of our southern California partner’s, Mesa Water District.  And, colleagues from the The Municipal Water District of Orange County declares drought over in Orange County

EID Comments on Proposed Water Conservation

Mesa Water to Governor Brown – Executive Order B-37-16

MWDOC Board Declares Drought Emergency Over in Orange County

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