Pursuant to Ordinance No. 150, effective June 20, 2012


Prepared by Henrietta Stern, Project Manager

Today’s Date: June 27, 2012



On May 21, 2012, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD or District) Board of Directors adopted at second reading.   Ordinance No. 150, An Ordinance of the Board of Directors of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District Amending Its Regulation of Water Distribution System Permit Applications – Noticing of Well Capacity Tests (Rule 21-A).  Ordinance No. 150, provided as Exhibit 1, amends rules associated with the Water Distribution System (WDS) Permit application process. Specifically, it amends Rule 21-A (WDS Applications) to require that Neighboring Well owners be notified of an impending Well Capacity Test, and have the opportunity to have their Wells monitored during the test.  A reasonable effort to accommodate neighbors’ schedules must be made, and documentation of notice to and responses (if any) by, neighbors must be received by the District before the Well test begins in order for it to be accepted by the District.  Also the permit application package must include this documentation.  Note that capitalized terms are defined in MPWMD Rule 11.


MPWMD Rule 21 refers to the “Implementation Guidelines” for more detailed information on the application process and requirements.  At this juncture, the Implementation Guidelines are disaggregated into a series of technical and procedural documents and memos that may be found on the District website “Wells Page” at:  The guidance for notifying Neighboring Well owners is this Memorandum #7, which is now part of the “Wells Page” guidelines. 


District staff plans to consolidate, update and refine the Implementation Guidelines in late 2012.  Due to time constraints, the topic of noticing is the subject of this special Memorandum #7, which was reviewed by the MPWMD Rules & Regulations Review Committee at its June 11, 2012 meeting.  The Committee will continue its oversight in the future.


Because the MPWMD Rules & Regulations change over time, the best way to access the most recent version is to visit the District website at: then click on the “Rules and Regulations” link (then select the desired rule from the Table of Contents).

The agenda materials for the adoption of Ordinance No. 150 are available on the District website at:

Meeting materials for the Rules & Regulations Review Committee (2012) may be viewed at:





The purpose of Memorandum #7 is to provide guidance to Applicants, their consultants, District staff and the general public on how the noticing requirements described in Ordinance No. 150, which are now part of MPWMD Rules 11 and 21, are to be implemented.



The recommended protocol in this memorandum is intended to meet the following goals:


Regarding staff resources, the process steps below are intended to meet the District goals in light of the fact that the Well testing timing is controlled primarily by the Monterey County Health Department (MCHD) and many parties are involved in the testing process (i.e., Applicant, their consultant, MCHD staff, drillers, neighbors, etc).  The actual testing could occur many months after the District receives a WDS Pre-Application form due to restricted summer/fall Well testing periods mandated by state and Monterey County health laws.  Thus, District staff is not responsible for setting up the Well test monitoring and related logistics.  Instead, District staff provides specific written direction that identifies the required documentation to verify that an adequate effort was made by the Applicant’s consultant to notify Neighboring Well owners of a pending test and consider the neighbor’s responses regarding permission to monitor the Neighboring Wells during the test. 


Importantly, the Applicant’s consultant is formally responsible for communications with the Neighboring Well owners, not the Applicant.  This requirement is due to the technical nature of the well testing and access to need-to-know information about the Neighboring Wells.  It is not intended to thwart informal communications among neighbors regarding a planned new Well.  In the following paragraphs, the word “consultant” refers to the Applicant’s qualified consultant as defined in MPWMD Rule 21-A-9 (e.g., a state-certified hydrogeologist).  To minimize delays, Applicants should retain their consultants at the time a Pre-Application form is submitted. A list of local consultants is on the “Wells Page” at:



The following steps summarize the WDS permit process, consistent with the new requirements of Ordinance No. 150.  Words in bold identify who is primarily responsible for the action in each step. For MPWMD staff, “PAE refers to the Planning and Engineering Division; “WRD” refers to the Water Resources Division, and “ASD” refers to the Administrative Services Division. The following steps focus on a Level 2 Permit (staff determination), as defined in MPWMD Rule 22-A.  Level 3 and Level 4 Permits entail public hearings before a staff hearing officer or the MPWMD Board, respectively, which would replace Step 13 below.







Applicant files Pre-Application form with basic information about the WDS.  Form indicates whether an Exemption or Permit is requested.



MPWMD staff (PAE) determines if Well meets exemption criteria or whether a WDS Permit is required.  [Go to Step 3 only if WDS Permit is required; a separate process exists for Exemptions.]

14 days from Step 1


MPWMD staff (WRD) researches Wells within 1,000 feet (300 feet if alluvial) of the subject Well, and prepares a map/table with hydrogeologic data about the Neighboring Wells for use by the Applicant’s consultant.

14 days from Step 1


MPWMD staff (PAE, ASD) provides Applicant’s consultant a list of Neighboring Well owners with known contact information from the District database, along with written direction on notice requirements.

5 days from Step 3


MPWMD staff (PAE, ASD) notifies Neighboring Well owners that a WDS Pre-Application has been received and to expect communications from the Applicant’s consultant regarding the opportunity to have their Well monitored during a Well test.  See Exhibit 2.

5 days from Step 3


Applicant’s consultant coordinates with MCHD and Neighboring Well owners to plan a Well test and impact assessment, with Well monitoring as desired by neighbors. 

Contact >14 days before test


Applicant’s consultant prepares documentation of notification to and response by neighbors pursuant to guidance provided by MPWMD.  See Exhibit 3.

Applicant determines timeline


MPWMD staff (PAE) confirms adequacy of notification effort and that the test can proceed.  See Exhibit 4. 

3-5 days from Step 7


Applicant’s consultant conducts the Well test and prepares hydrogeologic impact assessment report pursuant to MCHD and MPWMD technical procedures.

Applicant determines timeline


Applicant submits formal WDS Application package to MPWMD, including hydrogeologic assessment report and documentation of communications with Neighboring Well owners, pursuant to Rule 21-A. 

Applicant determines timeline


MPWMD staff (PAE, ASD) notifies Neighboring Well owners of the received Application package available for review, the 30-day completeness review, posting on the website, and their right to appeal the completeness determination pursuant to Rule 70.  See Exhibit 5.

1-3 days from Step 10


MPWMD staff (WRD, PAE) prepares “complete” or “incomplete” determination, and posts on website as an appealable decision. MPWMD informs neighbors via e-mail (if requested).

30 days from Step 10


If proper appeal is filed within 21 days, set MPWMD Board hearing to resolve issues.

30-60 days


MPWMD staff (PAE) evaluates Application and decides to approve or deny, pursuant to MPWMD Rule 22.  This decision is subject to appeal.

60-120 days from Step 10


MPWMD staff (PAE) posts notice of approval or denial on the District website, and notifies Neighboring Well owners of the appealable decision.  See Exhibit 6. 

1-3 days from Step 13


If proper appeal is filed within 21 days, set MPWMD Board hearing to resolve issues.

30-60 days




* Note

Timing of MPWMD actions may be affected by work backlog, staff resource constraints and other factors such as high-priority special projects.





The following paragraphs focus on specific process steps and add clarifying detail as needed.


Step 1— Submit Pre-Application:  The Applicant should retain a qualified consultant at the Pre-Application phase in order for the consultant to receive the pertinent information about Neighboring Wells.  MPWMD must comply with applicable water codes and laws regarding the release of information about water production facilities.  Information about Wells may be released only on a need-to-know basis to qualified professionals.  The Applicant may need to start the WDS process earlier in order for District staff to assess nearby Well data and property owner contact information, prepare the notices to the neighbors, and for the Applicant to notify and coordinate with neighbors regarding Well testing dates, given the limited testing season (June-November).  A revised Pre-Application form (June 2012) advises the Applicant of the noticing requirements, and is available on the District website (under “Water Wells”) at:


Step 4—Provide List of Neighboring Well Owners:  The District GIS Specialist, working with the Associate Hydrologist responsible for the Well database, has the ability to develop mailing lists and labels for Neighboring Well owners.  Administrative staff will mail the notices written by PAE staff. 


Step 5-- Notice of Pre-Application and Future Well Testing:  A form letter (Exhibit 2) notifies the Neighboring Well owners within 1,000 feet (300 feet if alluvial) that a Pre-Application form to create or amend a WDS has been received, that Well testing is part of the WDS application process, and that the neighbor will be contacted by the Applicant’s consultant regarding the desire to have his/her Well monitored during the test pursuant to Rule 21-A.  The neighbor is advised that the exact testing dates are determined primarily by MCHD and the Applicant (not MPWMD). However, the Applicant’s consultant is obliged to contact the neighbor at least 14 days before the target test date to ascertain whether monitoring is desired and to make a reasonable effort to accommodate the neighbors’ schedules.   The District goal is a proper balance between good scientific practice, the Applicant’s right of due process, and the desire to minimize inconvenience to the Neighboring Well owner.  The period of 14 days notice was based on Director Markey’s suggestions at the October 19, 2011 Rules & Regulations Review Committee meeting, but providing as much notice as possible is encouraged.


This notice also includes basic information about MPWMD Well testing rules, including links to the District website for more detailed information on testing protocol.  The neighbor is advised about general Well testing timeframes (time of year and duration) and that there could be limitations in Well use if the Well is monitored.  Exhibit 2 also attaches more detailed guidance from MPWMD hydrogeologists on the minimum Well data and “down time” needed to properly monitor a Neighboring Well.  It is noted that Well impact assessments can be done without Well monitoring, and that calculations are acceptable.  The notice also provides contact information and resources for further information.


Steps 6 and 7—Communication with Neighbors about Monitoring:  The Applicant’s consultant should document a good-faith effort to communicate with Neighboring Well owners in a variety of ways (e.g., letter, e-mail, phone and/or personal visit), abiding by the minimum timeframes set by the District.  Due to concerns of many about personal safety and potential scams, the initial contact by the Applicant’s consultant should be written (letter or e-mail, if available) followed by a phone call or personal visit by previous arrangement.  The initial contact should be professional, positive and provide consultant information that fosters trust.  Documentation of the neighboring Well owner’s responses is also important.  If there is no response to the initial written communication within one week, the Applicant’s consultant should attempt a second communication.  It is recognized that lack of a response by neighbors may be due to an extended vacation, illness or other absence, but the Applicant’s right of due process (avoid unfair delays) must also be considered.   A minimum of 14 days is required, but more time is recommended if at all possible.  Exhibit 3 is direction to the Applicant’s consultant about documentation of attempts to contact neighbors and memorialize the neighbors’ responses.


Step 8— Confirmation of Adequate Notice:  As time may be of the essence, this step entails a simple form, such as Exhibit 4, which may be attached to an e-mail from MPWMD staff to the Applicant’s consultant.


Step 9—Applicant Consultant Conducts Well Testing:  The technical procedures to be followed are currently represented by the MPWMD Procedures for Preparation of Well Source and Pumping Impact Assessments.  They are written for the qualified consultant (e.g., registered hydrogeologist) and specify how Well testing and data analysis should be performed.  The procedures are provided on the District website at:


The current procedures document refers to monitoring Neighboring Wells in paragraph #6 on page 3, as shown below.  This paragraph will be revised to be consistent with Ordinance No. 150 are shown in bold italic below:  


6. Wells Monitored. In all cases, the production Well that is being tested shall be monitored as described in this section. In addition, nearby Wells in the expected area of influence of the pumping Well shall be monitored where feasible, in accordance with Rule 21-A as amended by MPWMD Ordinance No. 150 (effective June 20, 2012). The District recognizes that it may not be feasible to monitor all nearby Wells due to logistical constraints (e.g., availability, monitoring equipment access, pumping requirements, etc.). Accordingly, in cases where nearby Wells are not available for use as monitor Wells during pumping tests, and the reasons for this are clearly documented in the Assessment, data developed from the production Well shall be used to the extent possible to support the required analysis and evaluation.


Step 10-- Submit WDS Application Package:  A revised Application Form (June 2012) includes a new section on noticing with a checklist of tasks and required attachments.  It is available on the District website (under “Water Wells”) at:


Step 11—Notify Neighbors of Received WDS Application: When the formal WDS application package is received, District staff will contact Neighboring Well owners in a letter (Exhibit 5), similar to the Pre-Application notification in Step 5.  This letter advises neighbors that the application package is available for review, which includes results of Well monitoring or calculations regarding impacts to nearby Wells.  It also advises them of the MPWMD technical review process and 30-day deadline to assess whether the Well assessment analysis is adequate and whether the application is complete or not.  They also are advised of the appeal process.  A link to the “Appealable Decision” section of the District website is provided so they can check the completeness determination.  E-mail notification is also an option, if requested. Providing early notice in Step 11 gives the neighbors more time to review the application materials rather than waiting until notification of a complete application in Step 12. 


Step 14-- Notify re Right to Appeal WDS Permit Determination:  A form letter to Neighboring Well owners advising them of the WDS Permit determination by staff is provided as Exhibit 6. 


Neighboring Well owners are provided three opportunities (Steps 5, 11 and 14) to learn of their rights and responsibilities as part of the WDS Permit process.  It is hoped that the increased notification required by Ordinance No. 150 will foster positive communication and reduce potential conflicts or concerns among Neighboring Well owners. 


It is noted that the decision to allow construction and testing of a Well on a parcel is solely that of the Monterey County Health Department, not MPWMD.  As a resource manager, the District’s interest is the hydrogeologic data obtained from any Well test that relates to adequate supply, impacts to water resources and impacts to neighboring Wells.  The District may receive calls from neighbors who do not own Wells who are curious about Well-drilling activity in the vicinity.  District staff will assist them as feasible, or refer the caller to MCHD; District staff is not responsible for notifying neighbors who do not own Wells of the WDS Permit process.



1          MPWMD Ordinance No. 150 adopted May 21, 2012

2          Notice form to Neighboring Well owners re: receipt of WDS Pre-Application, including data needs and down time guidelines

3          Documentation form for Applicant/consultant re: communications with Neighboring Well owners, including data needs and down time guidelines

4          Notice form to Applicant/consultant confirming adequate documentation

5          Notice form to Neighboring Well owners re: receipt of WDS application and future steps

6          Notice form to Neighboring Well owners re: permit issuance approval or denial





Prepared by H. Stern, revised June 27, 2012