Meeting Date:

May 19, 2008





Darby Fuerst,


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 13, 2008 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), California American Water (CAW), the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) met on May 7, 2008 to negotiate the terms and conditions for the 2008 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for releases and diversions from San Clemente Reservoir.  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 11.0 cubic feet per second (cfs) in June, 9.0 cfs during July, 7.0 cfs during August, 5.0 cfs during September, and 4.0 cfs from October through December 2008.  Given the “dry year” streamflow conditions that are projected during the remainder of the year, Los Padres Reservoir is expected to stop spilling in May.  CAW will cease diversions from most of its wells upstream of the Narrows in the latter portion of May, when Carmel River flow at the District’s Don Juan Bridge gaging station in Garland Park is projected to drop 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 2008 MOA is included as Exhibit 15-A.


RECOMMENDATION:  Staff recommends that the Board approve the 2008 MOA and direct the General Manager to sign the agreement. 


BACKGROUND: To determine minimum instream flow standards for the Carmel River below San Clemente Dam during the low-flow period (i.e., generally 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 Carmel Valley Filter Plant (CVFP). 


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 (DSOD). A primary requirement 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 2008 drawdown plan, CAW is required to begin the initial drawdown on or as soon as possible after May 31, 2008, subject to river flow conditions.


Based on current reservoir storage and projected “dry year” inflow conditions for the remainder of Calendar Year 2008, it was agreed by all parties at the May 7, 2008 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 11.0 cfs in June, 9.0 cfs in July, 7.0 cfs in August, 5.0 cfs in September, and 4.0 cfs from October through December 2008.  The projected monthly inflows, spills, releases, diversions and storage values for the May 2008 - December 2008 period are shown on Exhibit A of Exhibit 15-A.  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 significantly differ from the expectations.  Exhibit A of Exhibit 15-A also includes actual values for the January 2008 - April 2008 period, which are shown in bold type.[1] 


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 capacity, 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 2008 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.  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. 


In addition, to ensure maximum benefit to the Carmel River and flow-dependent resources such as steelhead, NMFS has requested that additional language be added to the 2008 MOA.  This suggested language is shown below:


In the event that CAW has not exceeded their annual production limit from both the Coastal Subareas of the Seaside Groundwater Basin and the Carmel River sources, CAW shall make every reasonable effort to withdraw water from the Seaside Basin before pumping water out of the Carmel River in order to preserve flows and instream habitat for listed species, consistent with the Quarterly Budget amounts.


Upon acceptance by CAW, this language or any agreed modification would be added under “Designation of Responsibilities” as paragraph 12. 


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 2008 period.  If approved, the agreement becomes effective June 1, 2008, and extends through December 31, 2008.


IMPACT ON STAFF AND FISCAL RESOURCES: Due to the “dry year” inflows that may occur during the remainder of the year, staff expects that the lower river will begin drying-up in May and prompt steelhead rescue efforts.  In this regard, District staff has 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.



15-A    2008 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





[1] Bold type indicates final estimates and italic type indicates preliminary estimates.