Meeting Date:

May 17, 2010





Darby Fuerst,


Aquatic Resources and


General Manager

Line Item No.:

Hydrologic Monitoring


Prepared By:

Kevan Urquhart

Cost Estimate:



General Counsel Review:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on May 7, 2010 and recommended approval.

CEQA Compliance:  Consistent with SWRCB WR Order Nos. 95-10, 98-04, 2002-0002, 2009-0060

ESA Compliance:  Consistent with the September 2001 and February 2009 Conservation Agreements 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 5, 2010 to negotiate the terms and conditions for the 2010 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for releases and diversions from San Clemente Reservoir to the Carmel River.  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 12.0 cubic feet per second (cfs) from June through December 2010.  Given the “above normal” streamflow conditions that are projected for the remainder of the year, Los Padres Reservoir is expected to stop spilling in late June or early July.  CAW will cease diversions from most of its wells upstream of the Narrows in the latter portion of June, 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 during the 2010 MOA period.  These actions conform to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Orders and the NMFS Conservation Agreements with CAW referenced above.  The 2010 MOA is included as Exhibit 10-A.


RECOMMENDATION:  Staff recommends that the Board approve the 2010 MOA and direct the General Manager to sign the agreement. 


BACKGROUND: To determine minimum flow releases to 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). 


In addition to the requirements discussed above, CAW’s ability to divert surface flow at San Clemente Dam is also 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 2010 drawdown plan, CAW is required to begin the initial drawdown on or as soon as possible after May 31, 2010, subject to river flow conditions.  In 2009, the drawdown began on June 1, with the reservoir water level drawn down by approximately 0.5 feet each day.


Based on current reservoir storage and projected “above normal” inflow conditions for the remainder of Calendar Year 2010, it was agreed by all parties at the May 5, 2010 meeting that CAW would meet or exceed the following minimum flow releases from San Clemente Reservoir to the Carmel River (as measured at the Sleepy Hollow Weir) of 48.0 cfs in June, 25.0 cfs in July, 12.0 cfs in August, 12.0 cfs in September and October, and 12.0 cfs from November through December 2010.  The projected monthly inflows, spills, releases, diversions and storage values for the June - December 2010 period are shown on Exhibit A of Exhibit 10-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 10-A also includes actual values for the January - April 2010 period, which are shown in bold type.[1] 


To maximize the instream flow benefits from the proposed releases, the 2010 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 10-B).  This limitation and schedule includes 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. 


Lastly, to ensure maximum benefit to the Carmel River and flow-dependent resources such as steelhead, NMFS requested that additional language be added to the 2008 MOA.  This suggested language is also included in the 2010 MOA and 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.

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 intended to be consistent with the releases and diversions that will be proposed on June 3, 2010 for the Quarterly Water Supply Strategy and Budget for CAW for the July-September 2010 period.  If approved, the 2010 MOA becomes effective June 1, 2010, and extends through December 31, 2010.


IMPACT ON STAFF AND FISCAL RESOURCES: Due to the “above normal” inflows that may occur during the remainder of the year, staff expects that the lower river will begin drying-up in late June or early July and prompt steelhead rescue efforts.  In this regard, District staff will begin the startup and operation of the District’s Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility (Facility) in late May or early June.



10-A    2010 Memorandum of Agreement between California American Water, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, and the California Department of Fish and Game to Release Water into the Carmel River from San Clemente Reservoir

10-B    Maintenance and Water Quality Pumping Schedule, 2010





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