ITEM:

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS/STAFF REPORTS

 

22.

QUARTERLY WATER SUPPLY PROJECT STATUS REPORT

 

Meeting Date:

October 17, 2005

Budgeted:

N/A

 

From:

David A. Berger,

Program/

N/A

 

General Manager

Line Item No.:

 

Prepared By:

Henrietta Stern

Cost Estimate:

N/A

 

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 July through September 2005 period. The next quarterly report will be written in January 2006. 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 Board identified the following priority water augmentation efforts:

 

      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.

 

On September 8, 2005, the Board held its annual Strategic Planning Workshop to refine water supply and other objectives; the formal 2005-2006 MPWMD Strategic Plan will be considered at the October 17, 2005 meeting (see Agenda Item #11). The four efforts listed above are to be continued along with a series of workshops related to water supply. The January 2006 quarterly report will address these new tasks in more detail.

 

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 March 2005, the District injected approximately 1,450 acre-feet (AF) of excess winter flow from the Carmel River into the Seaside Basin. During this period, approximately 1,140 AF were recovered and delivered to the community via the Cal-Am system as part of the test program.

 

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. A diversion limit of 350 AF was set for 2005. Injection testing began on January 4, 2005 and ended in early April 2005, when the 350 AF limit was reached. Testing efforts in 2005 concentrated on water quality effects of the injected water on the local groundwater.

 

Pertinent ASR action by District staff and consultants in the July-September 2005 period included:

 

      Conducted water quality testing in Summer 2005; began preparing a detailed Annual Report on the 2005 testing results.

 

      Met with SWRCB staff on August 29, 2005 to update them on ASR and Seaside Basin activities, assess progress on the Districts permit application for water rights for the long-term ASR project, and submit application for a temporary urgency permit for ASR diversions in year 2005-2006. Two Petitions for Change were originally submitted by the District in October 2001 and revised in September 2003. The SWRCB noticed the Districts Petitions on April 15, 2005. The District prepared formal responses to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) and California Department of Fish & Game (CDFG) protests in mid-June and July 2005, respectively.

 

      Completed Annual Report to SWRCB for September 1, 2005 submittal, as required by the temporary permit.

 

      Continued to follow-up with Cal-Am on a proposed Management and Operations Agreement regarding ASR testing, mutual aid, cost-sharing, water rights and other issues. A final agreement has yet to be approved.

 

Prepare EIR/EA to Evaluate MPWMD 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 December 13, 2004, and public hearings to receive oral comments on the NOP were held on January 12, 2005. At its February 24, 2005 meeting, the Board received a formal Scoping Report summarizing the NOP comments. At its March 21, 2005 meeting, the Board provided direction to staff on the ASR project description and revised scope of work for the EIR, in light of the NOP comments and several coordination meetings with local agencies and Cal-Am. Please see the Board packet materials for February 24, March 21, and April 18, 2005 for detailed information. This information is also on the District website: www.mpwmd.dst.ca.us.

The December 2004 NOP originally envisioned environmental review of three phases, with emphasis on a smaller Phase 1 project to be implemented within one year of project approval. Based on public comments and Board direction in March 2005, the current EIR now focuses on Phase 1 (one additional well at existing test site within the next 1-2 years). Future EIRs will address Phases 2 and 3, once more information is known about regional land use plans and infrastructure. Also, the environmental document is now a combined EIR and Environmental Assessment (EA) to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), with the U.S. Army as federal lead agency.

 

The MPWMD 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 project is viewed as being complementary to other larger, long-term water augmentation projects that are currently being explored by various entities. The project entails a maximum diversion of 2,400 acre-feet per year (AFY) from the Carmel River, a maximum extraction of 2,000 AFY from the Seaside Basin, and an average yield of about 1,050 AFY.

 

Pertinent EIR/EA action by District staff and consultants in the July-September 2005 period included:

 

      Continued coordination with Cal-Am and permitting agencies, especially NOAA Fisheries, CDFG and SWRCB.

      Completed all computer modeling and environmental impact assessments; prepared initial rough draft EIR/EA for internal review by MPWMD staff.

 

At this writing (October 5, 2005), District staff is working with the environmental consultants to revise and refine certain sections of the EIR/EA for accuracy and clarity. The U.S. Army requires its own internal review (two-week minimum) of the administrative draft before it can be released as a formal Draft EIR/EA for public review. Thus, it is anticipated that the document will be available for public review in early November 2005.

 

 

 

Collaborate on Regional Water Supply Solutions

District staff continues to coordinate with Monterey County Water Resources Agency (MCWRA), Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency (MRWPCA), and Marina Coast Water District (MCWD) on regional water supply solution opportunities. The District General Manager participates in Monterey County-led meetings of water district and city/county representatives regarding a potential governance structure for a publicly-owned Regional Urban Water Supply (RUWS). Updates on this process are provided to the Board at each regular meeting.

 

A highlight of the summer was the MPWMD-sponsored Town Hall Meeting on potential water supply solutions on August 25, 2005, which was attended by over 100 people. Project proponents set up displays, made presentations and fielded questions from the audience. The following entities participated in the event:

 

      California American Water

      Marina Coast Water District

      Monterey County Water Resources Agency

      Monterey Peninsula Water Management District

      Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency

      Pajaro/Sunny Mesa Community Services District

 

The above participants also worked closely with MPWMD staff to update the Comparative Matrix of Water Supply Options for a focused discussion at the September 8, 2005 Strategic Planning Workshop. The 2005 Matrix features revised project description, cost and timeline information as well as one new project for review. Refer to the September 8, 2005 meeting agenda on the District website for detailed information.

 

Prepare Seaside Basin Groundwater Management Plan

Staff and consultants are preparing a long-term Seaside Basin Groundwater Management Plan (SBGMP) 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 groundwater pumpers, agency officials, and stakeholders invited to participate in the process. In December 2004, the Board approved a formal public outreach program that commenced 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 continued to participate in settlement meetings, mediation and other litigation activities during the July-September 2005 period.

 

On April 25, 2005, the District announced the availability of a new report on the status of the Seaside Groundwater Basin. The peer-reviewed report, Seaside Groundwater Basin Update on Water Resource Conditions, was authored by expert consultants retained by MPWMD as part of the SBGMP. The technical report made important new findings and conclusions about the status of the Seaside Basin and sustainable water yield for the community. The analysis shows consistently declining water levels and deficit water budgets over an 8-year period, indicating that the Basin is in a state of overdraft since groundwater extractions exceed the sustainable yield. The report outlines a range of potential actions to correct the problem. It is notable that ASR is an important tool to help address the overdraft condition.

 

Pertinent SBGMP action by District staff and legal counsel in the July-September 2005 period included:

 

      Held June 29 and July 7, 2005 SBGMP Advisory Committee meetings to review the groundwater management planning process, develop management objectives and discuss stakeholder involvement during the implementation phase. Four goals and six objectives were developed by the group. A meeting to review progress on the SBGMP was tentatively scheduled for October 13, 2005.

 

      Continued to participate in litigation related activities and prepare for depositions requested by plaintiffs.

      Assisted the facilitator of the SBGMP Advisory Committee meetings (Rauch Communications Consultants) with development and distribution of a September 9, 2005 questionnaire seeking feedback on the process to date. The questionnaire deadline was September 30, 2005.

 

      Continued to work with Cal-Am and resource agencies to develop quarterly management strategies to reduce impacts to the Carmel River and Seaside Basins, while meeting community water needs.

 

      Prepared extensive Proposition 50 grant application for planning and implementation grants in coordination with several agencies; includes the MPWMD ASR Project as a priority basin management tool. After an initial announcement by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) that the Monterey Bay Area request had missed the funding cutoff, District staff attended a briefing in Sacramento on September 23, 2005, where additional funds were requested. On October 3, 2005, the District learned that an additional $3,000,000 from Prop. 50 will be made available for Planning Grant proposals and that the MPWMD-led group would be awarded $497,000 to fund about 40% of the work necessary to complete an Integrated Regional Water Management Plan. Final approval of DWR/SWRCB staff funding recommendations will be made later this month by the SWRCB.

 

Related Water Augmentation Activities

The following table summarizes related water augmentation efforts in the July-September 2005 period:

 

ACTIVITY

ACTION

 

Seismic Retrofit and Sediment Removal from San Clemente Reservoir.

District staff participates in the 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, DWR, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USCOE). 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.

On September 30, 2005, District staff received a Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the San Clemente Dam Seismic Safety Project EIR/EIS. The 2005 NOP incorporates features of the 1997 NOP and identifies a broadened range of alternatives under consideration. Comments on the NOP are due by November 14, 2005.

 

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

Based on earlier Board approval of a concept ordinance in May 2005, and CEQA review in June-July 2005, staff developed Ordinance No. 122 for first and second reading in July-August 2005. The Ordinance became effective on September 14, 2005. The ordinance creates a Pre-Application process for all new wells in the District along with an impact-based, multi-level permit process, based on the size, location and water use of affected parcels. Staff and consultants developed procedural guidelines, new application forms, and continue to refine Implementation Guidelines to accompany the ordinance. Several applications are currently at various stages in the permit process.

 

Review CEQA Documents for Other Projects

The District logs incoming CEQA notices and comments on selected 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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