Officials pumped up over recharging a critical groundwater basin
August 10, 2017
• Stanislaus County and two water agencies join in effort
• “This is a historic achievement”
The Calaveras County Water District, Rock Creek Water District, and Stanislaus County are pleased to announce the formation of a groundwater sustainability agency with the mission of helping protect the Eastern San Joaquin Groundwater Sub basin, which has been critically over drafted since 1980.
Calaveras County also intends to join the agency this fall.
“This is a historic achievement,” says CCWD General Manager Dave Eggerton. “It’s the first-ever partnership between our two counties and it will be invaluable in helping us address the challenges of restoring the health of the groundwater basin.”
The partnership was formed as required by the state’s recently adopted Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which tasked local agencies authorities with managing their groundwater resources in a sustainable manner.
The approximately 198-square-mile area of the GSA boundary is located within the western portion of Calaveras County and the northern portion of Stanislaus County known as the “triangle” and overlies portions the Eastern San Joaquin Sub basin, which also has been critically over drafted since 1980.
The partners elected to form a cooperative GSA called the “Eastside GSA” that will cover the areas of the Eastern San Joaquin Sub basin within Calaveras County and portions of Stanislaus County that are not already within another GSA boundary. The agencies all approved a memorandum of understanding to form the GSA, and the GSA became “exclusive” to these areas on August 8.
“This GSA will benefit all partners because it will allow for cost sharing, grant opportunities, regional groundwater sustainability, and options to leverage technical expertise and includes close cooperation between upstream and downstream agencies,” says Stanislaus County District 3 Supervisor Terry Withrow.
Now that the GSA’s have been established, the real work on groundwater sustainability planning will begin. Per state law, the Eastside GSA must work with other stakeholders overlying the Eastern San Joaquin Groundwater Basin to develop a groundwater sustainability plan, which must be in place by 2020 since it is a high-priority basin. This GSP will create a road map that will create groundwater “sustainability” in the basin by 2040, and avoid “undesirable results” such as chronic lowering of groundwater levels, significant reduction in groundwater storage, degradation of water quality and land subsidence.
State funding is expected to be available to help pay for the development of the plans.