ITEM: INFORMATIONAL ITEMS/STAFF REPORTS

 

24. QUARTERLY WATER SUPPLY PROJECT STATUS REPORT

 

Meeting Date: January 27, 2005 Budgeted: N/A

Program/Line Item No.: N/A

From: David Berger, Cost Estimate: N/A

General Manager

Prepared By: Henrietta Stern

 

General Counsel Approval: N/A

Committee Recommendation: N/A

CEQA Compliance: N/A

 

 

This is a quarterly report on District water supply augmentation projects for the October through December 2004 period. The next quarterly report will be written in April 2005. Limited background information is provided herein. An historical overview of previous action may be found in year 2003 and 2004 reports. Information is also available as part of the weekly General Managers letter to the Board, which can be found on the District website at www.mpwmd.dst.ca.us.

 

Based on a Strategic Planning Session held in September 2004, the current priority water augmentation efforts include:

 

      Proceed with MPWMD aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) test project in Seaside Basin;

      Prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on a long-term District ASR project to be completed in phases;

      Collaborate and cooperate with other agencies on development of a long-term regional water supply solution, with emphasis on desalination;

      Prepare Seaside Basin Groundwater Management Plan.

 

At the September 2004 meeting, the District Board reviewed several proposed water augmentation projects in a detailed comparative matrix. The Board confirmed that it would not proceed on further analysis of a local MPWMD-owned desalination project in the Sand City area, and instead focus its efforts on collaboration with other agencies on a regional water supply project.

 

Conduct ASR Testing and Obtain Water Rights

ASR entails diverting excess winter flows from the Carmel River through existing California American Water (Cal-Am) facilities and injecting the water into the Seaside Groundwater Basin Coastal Subareas for later recovery. Since 1996, the District has evaluated the feasibility of ASR at greater levels of detail, including obtaining temporary water rights to divert Carmel River water and inject it into the Seaside Basin. From 1998 through 2004, the District has injected 1,100 acre-feet (AF) of excess winter flow from the Carmel River into the Seaside Basin. A similar amount has been recovered and delivered to the community via the Cal-Am system as part of the test program.

 

In Spring and early Summer 2004, District staff and consultants continued technical studies focused on ASR water quality considerations, including water sampling from different points in the Cal-Am system and associated water chemistry analysis. In Summer-Fall 2004, the MPWMD Santa Margarita Test Well provided water to the Cal-Am system for customer use due to a pump failure at a key Cal-Am well (Paralta Well). The MPWMD mobilized its Santa Margarita Test Well into full-scale production mode, in cooperation with the California Department of Health Services and Cal-Am. The Santa Margarita well accounted for 25 to 45 percent of Cal-Ams total production from the coastal portion of the Seaside Basin, and about 15 percent of total Cal-Am daily production during this period. Notably, if the Santa Margarita test well was not available as a supply source, Cal-Am would have needed to operate additional wells in the Carmel Valley. This would have adversely impacted Carmel River streamflow and related habitat, and increased the risk of exceeding the Carmel River production limit set by the SWRCB.

 

In November 2004, the District received a temporary permit from the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) for continued testing of the MPWMD Santa Margarita Test Well in the Seaside Basin through May 14, 2005, pending adequate flows in the Carmel River. Injection testing began on January 4, 2005. As of this writing (January 14, 2005), the District has injected over 40 acre-feet of water into the Seaside Basin.

 

Other ASR action in the October-December 2004 period included:

 

      Responded to comments on the MPWMD application to the SWRCB for a temporary urgency permit for ASR testing in Water Year 2005 while a long-term ASR project EIR is being prepared. The SWRCB issued the permit in November 2004.

 

      Coordinated with SWRCB staff regarding the Districts permit application for a long-term ASR project. The long-term Petition for Change was originally submitted in October 2001 and revised in September 2003. The SWRCB plans to notice the Districts long-term application in the near future.

 

      Coordinated with Cal-Am and US Army staff to improve the Cal-Am system by laying a temporary, above-ground pipe along General Jim Moore Boulevard to facilitate improved delivery system reliability.

 

      Met several times with Cal-Am on a Memorandum of Agreement regarding ASR testing, mutual aid, cost-sharing, water rights and other issues.

 

Prepare EIR to Evaluate District ASR Project

In September 2004, the Board directed staff to initiate preparation of an EIR on the Districts ASR project. Contract amendments with Jones & Stokes Associates (JSA) and Padres Associates were approved in October 2004. A Notice of Preparation (NOP) of an EIR was issued on November 13, 2004. The project is envisioned in three phases, with emphasis on a smaller Phase 1 project to be implemented within one year of project approval. The anticipated yield would be up to 1,300 AFY. The Phase 1 project is focused on better management of existing water resources to help reduce current impacts to the Carmel River and Seaside Basins. The District ASR project is viewed as being complementary to other larger, long-term water augmentation projects that are currently being explored by various entities.

 

Public hearings to receive oral comments on the suggested scope of study of the ASR EIR were held on January 12, 2005. The deadline for written comments is January 17, 2005. An overview of comments will be provided to the Board at its February 2005 meeting.

 

Collaborate on Regional Water Supply Solutions

 

District staff continues to regularly coordinate with Monterey County Water Resources Agency (MCWRA) and Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency (MRWPCA) on regional water supply solution opportunities. The District General Manager participates in regular meetings of water district and city technical staff regarding regional solutions to water problems. The District General Manager is soliciting input from his colleagues on the best timing and content of a Water Summit to address key technical, governance, financial and logistical questions about a regional water supply project.

 

Related activities by District staff and consultants in October through December 2004 included:

 

      Worked with Cal-Am to assess hydraulic limitations to an ASR project with existing facilities, and formulate engineering scenarios to enable increased ASR production.

 

      Continued to coordinate with Cal-Am on its proposed Coastal Water Project.

 

      Attended Monterey County Board of Supervisors meeting related to public ownership of regional water supply solution, and need for multi-pronged outreach to enable regional consensus on a project.

 

      Assisted MRWPCA staff and consultant with detailed information about the Seaside Basin as it relates to purified recycled water as a groundwater recharge source.

 

Prepare Seaside Basin Groundwater Management Plan

Staff and consultants are preparing a long-term Seaside Basin Groundwater Management Plan in compliance with protocols set by the State of California (AB 3030 as amended by SB 1938). On October 7, 2004, District staff met with an Advisory Committee comprised of major pumpers, agency officials, and stakeholders invited to participate in the process. In December 2004, the Board approved a formal public outreach program that will commence in 2005.

 

Complicating this task is litigation filed by Cal-Am on August 14, 2003. The suit asserts Cal-Ams water rights and requests a Court adjudication of the Seaside Basin. The Cal-Am lawsuit involves issues of public concern such as: prioritization and quantification of water rights within the basin; rights to aquifer storage within the basin; rights to artificially introduce non-native water into the basin through direct injection or spreading grounds; a judicial determination that the basin is in overdraft; and the appointment of a water master to manage the basin water rights and resources. The District is a recognized interested party in the litigation, and has participated in settlement meetings, mediation and other litigation activities.

 

District staff continue to help Cal-Am develop management strategies to reduce extractions from the coastal basin during the wet season and determine which wells would be best to use as production from Seaside increases in the dry season. SWRCB Order WR 98-04 requires Cal-Am reductions in pumping from the Seaside Basin when Carmel River flow at the Highway 1 Bridge is greater than 40 cubic feet per second (cfs) from November 1 through April 30.

 

Related Water Augmentation Activities

The following table summarizes related water augmentation efforts in the October-December 2004 period:

 

ACTIVITY

ACTION

 

Seismic Retrofit and Sediment Removal from San Clemente Reservoir.

 

District staff participate in EIR/EIS process on the seismic retrofit of San Clemente Dam. Potential removal of sediment from San Clemente Dam continues to be explored by Cal-Am and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). District staff participates in meetings and provides technical expertise upon request. Cal-Am maintains the water level of San Clemente Reservoir at 515 feet (10 feet below spillway elevation of 525 feet) pursuant to direction from DWRs Division of Safety of Dams.

 

Implement and Refine Water Distribution System (WDS) Rules and Regulations.

 

District staff developed two ordinance concepts on ways to improve WDS regulations, which was approved by the District Board on August 16, 2004. The Board adopted Ordinance No. 118 and a summary of the Implementation Guidelines on December 13, 2004. A second ordinance is scheduled for first reading in Spring 2005.

 

Ten active applications are currently at various stages in the permit process. Pursuant to Board direction at its June 21, 2004 meeting, staff, counsel and a Board subcommittee (Foy, Markey) have worked with Caada Woods WDS representatives on a revised permit that updates and integrates the current Caada Woods/Monterra WDS permits.

 

Review CEQA Documents for Other Projects

 

The District logs incoming notices and comments on selected CEQA documents prepared by other agencies for projects within the District boundary that could potentially affect water supply, water quality or environmental resources managed by the District.

 

 

 

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Revised January 18, 2005 by HS