Meeting Date:

May 21, 2007





David A. Berger,


Aquatic Resources and


General Manager

Line Item No.:

Hydrologic Monitoring 2


Prepared By:

Darby Fuerst

Cost Estimate:



General Counsel Approval:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on May 14, 2007 and recommended approval.

CEQA Compliance:  Consistent with SWRCB WR Order Nos. 95-10, 98-04, 2002-0002

ESA Compliance:  Consistent with the September 2001 Conservation Agreement between the National Marine Fisheries Service and California American Water to minimize take of listed steelhead in the Carmel River


SUMMARY:  Representatives from the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD or District), California American Water (CAW or Cal-Am), the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) met on April 13, 2007, to negotiate the terms and conditions for the 2007 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for releases and diversions from San Clemente Reservoir.  The meeting was conducted earlier this year than normal because of the critically-dry inflow conditions that have persisted this year.  Based on current storage conditions and expected reservoir inflows, it was agreed that CAW will maintain minimum flows in the Carmel River below San Clemente Dam at the District’s Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station of 6.0 cubic feet per second (cfs) in May, 4.0 cfs during June and July, and 3.0 cfs from August through December 2007.  Given the critically-dry streamflow conditions that are projected, Los Padres Reservoir is expected to stop spilling in May.  CAW ceased diversions from most of its wells upstream of the Narrows in April, when Carmel River flow at the District’s Don Juan gaging station in Garland Park dropped below 20 cfs for five consecutive days. No surface water diversions from San Clemente Reservoir are planned for the MOA period.  These actions conform to State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Order 2002-0002 and the 2001 NMFS Conservation Agreement with CAW.  The 2007 MOA is included as Exhibit 16-A.


IMPACT ON STAFF AND FISCAL RESOURCES: Due to the critically-dry inflows that have occurred and are expected to persist in the watershed, staff expects that the lower river will begin drying-up in May and prompt early steelhead rescue efforts.  In this regard, District staff have begun the startup and operation of the District’s Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility (Facility).  In addition, staff is in the process of hiring an additional seasonal aide to assist in the early steelhead rescue efforts.

RECOMMENDATION:  Staff recommends that the Board approve the 2007 MOA and direct the General Manager to sign the agreement. 


BACKGROUND: To define minimum instream flow standards for the Carmel River below San Clemente Dam during the low-flow period (i.e., May through December), the District annually enters into an agreement with CAW and CDFG.  In general, the MOA specifies the minimum release that must be maintained from San Clemente Reservoir to the Carmel River and the maximum diversion that is allowed from San Clemente Reservoir to CAW’s CVFP. 


Beginning in March 2002, CAW was ordered to change its diversions and pumping schedule from the upper Carmel Valley according to the following conditions:[1]


1. Cal-Am shall immediately upon issuance of this order cease withdrawal of water from the San Clemente Dam during low flow periods except during an emergency. “Emergency” means a system failure such as a pump failure, main breaks or fires, that jeopardizes the public health and safety. Hot weather demand alone shall not per se be an “emergency,” but it is recognized that after taking appropriate conservation measures, if levels in the Clear Well fall below nine feet from the bottom of the tank, an emergency may exist and diversions at San Clemente or the utilization of other facilities may be necessary. Nine feet from the bottom of the tank is a minimum requirement established by California Department of Health Services regulations. In all cases, diversions at San Clemente Dam or the utilization of other facilities shall be undertaken in a manner that is least damaging to the fishery resources, and these emergency operations shall be for the shortest practicable time. Cal-Am shall notify and consult with NMFS, FWS, DFG, and the District prior to implementation of emergency operations. If there is no time for consultation, Cal-Am shall notify NMFS, FWS, DFG, and the District of its emergency operation as early as practicable within eight (8) hours after Cal-Am first becomes aware of the emergency. Cal-Am shall notify, by telephone or telefax, the Chief of the Division of Water Rights within 24 hours of the emergency or by noon of the first business day following the incident. For the purpose of this Order, “low flow periods” are defined as times when stream flow in the Carmel River at the Don Juan Bridge (RM 10.8) gage is less than 20 cfs for five consecutive days. Pursuant to its continuing authority over the public trust, the SWRCB may amend this order to modify the definition of “low flow periods” or to add additional flow requirements to protect steelhead in the Carmel River. The Chief of the Division of Water Rights (Chief) is delegated the authority to modify the definition of “low flow periods” and the authority to add flow requirements based on new information, after finding that any proposed change to the order would better protect steelhead in the Carmel River. The Chief is also delegated the authority to modify the flow requirements of this order, in response to any changes in the requirements imposed under the Endangered Species Act, as necessary to prevent this order from being in violation of the Endangered Species Act or unreasonably interfering with efforts to comply with the Endangered Species Act. Prior to making the finding and prior to making any change to the order, the Chief shall provide notice to the parties to this hearing and give them an opportunity to comment on the proposed change.


2. Upon the issuance of this order, Cal-Am shall reduce diversions during low flow periods, from Garzas Wells Nos. 3 and 4, Panetta Wells, the Robles Well, the Scarlett 8 Well, and Los Laureles Wells Nos. 5 and 6. Current diversions are 1-7 days per month at each well. Diversions at these wells shall be reduced to a maximum of two eight-hour days per month except that those wells that currently operate only one eight-hour day per month shall continue to operate at not more than one eight-hour day per month. This reduction shall be undertaken in stages to enable Cal-Am to monitor water quality to ensure that this reduction can be maintained. Monitoring to ensure compliance with California Department of Health Services requirements and mechanical reliability shall be completed within 15 days of the adoption of this order. To the maximum degree practicable, Cal-Am shall operate these wells at night. In consultation with NMFS, FWS, DFG and the District, Cal- Am can operate the Scarlett 8 well incrementally to meet maximum daily demand after using all other available sources at maximum capacity.


3. Cal-Am shall install, not later than March 31, 2002, a pump that delivers water from the Begonia Zone to the Carmel Valley Village Zone. The “Begonia Zone” is defined to include water well production facilities in AQ3, AQ4 and the Seaside Groundwater Basin. The “Carmel Valley Village Zone” is defined to include all Cal-Am users upstream from the Del Monte Regulating Station. The pump size shall have the capacity, in conjunction with the operation of the Clear Well and the 0.5 cfs flow to be pumped from the Russell Wells, to meet the maximum daily demand of the Carmel Valley Village Zone. This shall minimize the emergency conditions described in Paragraph 1 above. The pump shall be sized within the physical constraints of the vault. Cal-Am shall make arrangements, not later than March 31, 2002, with appropriate contractor(s) to provide and have operational within twenty-four hours of the time that it is needed necessary back-up equipment to insure continued operations in the case of an outage associated with the Del Monte booster station facility.


4. The Russell Wells shall be limited to a combined total instantaneous diversion rate of not more that 0.5 cfs during low flow periods. These actions at the Russell Wells and the modifications at the Del Monte facility shall be evaluated by Cal-Am in consultation with NMFS, FWS, DFG, and the District during the period of January through December 2002. The evaluation shall address and focus on the adequacy of Cal-Am’s plumbing system and the Del Monte facility to accommodate (pump) the water supply needs of the Carmel Valley Village Zone from the Begonia Zone (except 0.5 cfs from the Russell Wells).


5. During the low flow periods, except for 0.5 cfs, all water diverted to Carmel Valley Village Zone shall be water that originates from the Begonia Zone (as defined in Paragraph 3 above).


In addition to the five conditions above, CAW’s ability to divert surface flow at San Clemente Dam is constrained by implementation of the San Clemente Dam Drawdown Project (SCDDP), which is mandated by the California Department of Water Resources’ Division of Safety of Dams. A primary facet of the SCDDP is the lowering of the water surface elevation in the reservoir to reduce the risk of flooding during a seismic failure of the dam.  Under the 2007 drawdown plan, CAW is required to begin the initial drawdown on or as soon as possible after May 31, 2007, subject to river flow conditions.


Based on current reservoir storage and projected critically-dry inflow conditions for the remainder of Calendar Year 2007, it was agreed by all parties at the April 13, 2007 meeting that CAW would release the following minimum flows from San Clemente Reservoir to the Carmel River (as measured at the Sleepy Hollow Weir) of 6.0 cfs in May, 4.0 cfs during June and July, and 3.0 cfs from August through December 2007.  The projected monthly inflows, spills, releases, diversions and storage values for the May 2007 - December 2007 period are shown on Exhibit 16-B.  The parties will continue to monitor runoff throughout the year and will meet to reconsider whether or not any further modifications are needed, if actual inflow and storage differ from the expectations.  Exhibit 16-B also includes actual values for the January 2007 - April 2007 period, which are shown in bold type.[2] 


Also of concern to the parties, and other entities such as the Carmel River Steelhead Association and Carmel River Watershed Conservancy, is the need to provide cool, well-oxygenated water for the release below Los Padres Dam.  Due to the reduction in reservoir storage there is a risk of releasing water that is too warm for juvenile steelhead, particularly during the early fall.  As a consequence, staff anticipates there may be a need to periodically modify the MOA terms and conditions throughout the remainder of the calendar year.


To maximize the instream flow benefits from the proposed releases, the 2007 MOA also includes a condition that limits the amount of water pumped from CAW's production wells in the Upper Carmel Valley (i.e., above the Narrows) to levels required for maintenance of the wells (Exhibit 16-C).  This limitation and schedule also applies to the former Water West wells that are now owned and operated by CAW.  Similarly, the MOA includes a provision that CAW will make all reasonable efforts to operate its Lower Carmel Valley production wells beginning with the most downstream well and moving to upstream wells as needed to meet system demand.  This provision is consistent with Condition No. 5 of SWRCB Order 95-10. 


The proposed MOA may be modified by mutual consent of all the parties and will be monitored weekly by representatives of the three parties.  It should be noted that the releases and operations specified in the MOA are consistent with the releases and diversions that were approved in the Quarterly Water Supply Strategy and Budget for CAW for the April-June 2007 period.  The agreement becomes effective upon being signed by the three parties and extends through December 31, 2007.



16-A    2007 Memorandum of Agreement between California American Water, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, and the State of California Department of Fish and Game to Release Water into the Carmel River from San Clemente Reservoir

16-B    Carmel River Reservoirs: 2007 Diversion and Release Schedule

16-C    Maintenance and Water Quality Pumping Schedule, 2007



[1]Order WRO 2002-0002 was adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board on March 21, 2002.  As noted in paragraphs 5, 6, and 8 of the 2007 MOA, Paragraphs One and Two of Order WRO 2002-0002 are referenced as Exhibit B in the 2007 MOA.

[2] Bold type indicates final estimates and bold italic indicates preliminary estimates.