Community Water Center

Community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy

November 2017 CWLN Newsletter

Abby_Fi..jpg(left to right) Abby Figueroa, Union of Concerned Scientists; Coreen Weintraub, UCS; Adriana Renteria, CWC; Panelists: Virginia Gurrola, Cruz Rivera, Eric Osterling, Dr. Juliet Christian Smith, and Maria Herrera, Self-Help Enterprises at toolkit release.

 

Getting Involved in Groundwater: Toolkit Release and Panel Discussion

 

On October 26th, Community Water Center (CWC), Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), and Self Help Enterprises (SHE) hosted Getting Involved with Groundwater: toolkit release and panel discussion. At this event, the Union of Concerned Scientists released their new publication, Getting Involved in Groundwater; A Guide to California’s Groundwater Sustainability Plans. The published guide, available in English and Spanish, was informed by groundwater workshops CWC & UCS hosted over the past year and was created to demystify technical language, concepts, and tools for communities implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

 

SGMA calls for the involvement of a diverse set of stakeholders however, groundwater sustainability planning can seem very technical, which can discourage people from getting involved in the first place. Getting Involved in Groundwater goes over concepts and terms commonly associated with groundwater sustainability planning in the context of the new law and includes “critical questions” to ask which serve as a jumping off point to get more information about your local area, so that getting involved is easier.

 

At the event, the following speakers shared their perspectives on groundwater management and led a discussion on the importance of having accessible tools like the toolkit:

Dr. Joaquin Arambula, Assemblymember, California State Legislature
            Eric Osterling, Manager of Water Resources, Kings River Conservation District
            Virginia Gurrola, former city councilmember and mayor, city of Porterville
            Cruz Rivera, Vice-President, Plainview Mutual Water Company, and Community Water Leader
            Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith, toolkit co-author and Senior Program Officer, Water Foundation

 

Achieving the goals of SGMA is a big undertaking but through events like this and through sharing of resources and information like UCS’s toolkit, this process will be a lot easier. Check out the guides in English here and in Spanish here and learn more about other groundwater resources on our webpage!


Events & Announcements:

Don’t miss our next Network Briefing: Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017 4-5PM  

Reminder: No briefing call in December

Network “briefings” are monthly conference calls that provide members the opportunity to connect with each other, crowd-source questions, and receive information from the comfort of their own homes. As a reminder, we changed service providers which means, we have a new conference call phone number and passcode. To join, dial (929) 432-4463, when prompted, enter the access code 5254-59-7515 followed by the pound key (#). Let Adriana know if you need a pre-paid calling card in order to call long-distance.

Agenda:

  1. member updates and questions
  2. regional & state updates
  3. monthly discussion topic: Department of Water Resources Best Management Practice: Draft Sustainable Management Criteria & any thoughts or concerns with respect to how Groundwater Sustainability Plans being developed will impact your community

Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) update                                            

The Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program regulates irrigated agriculture to help prevent the contamination of surface water and groundwater from agricultural contaminants such as nitrates. The Community Water Center along with a few of our allies had petitioned the State Water Resources Control Board several years ago stating that the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Order the Regional Water Board released was not strong enough to protect water quality, the State Water Board agreed and in early October it released a draft Order on the East San Joaquin ILRP Order. In most aspects it is precedential to all ILRP Orders across the state, meaning within five years all other ILRP Orders must be revised to come into compliance with the East San Joaquin Order. Right now the State Water Board is taking public comments on the draft, due December 15th at noon. There will also be a public hearing, where there will be panels and the Board will be hearing public comment in Sacramento on December 6th. An informal staff workshop where public comment will not be heard is being held on November 27th in Clovis. If you would like any additional information on the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program or the current draft Order please contact CWC’s Staff Attorney, Debi Ores at deborah.ores@communitywatercenter.org


 1-2-3 TCP (Trichloropropane) update:

The state will soon start mandatory testing for 1-2-3 TCP, the cancer causing chemical that has caused contamination of California soil since the 80s due to extensive application of soil fumigants manufactured by Dow and Shell Chemicals. While mandatory testing for 1-2-3 TCP is not required until January 1, 2018, the State Water Board strongly recommends testing before the January 1st date in order to find out if 1-2-3 TCP is an issue for your system. If your system is impacted by 123-TCP, in order to obtain cost recovery your system needs to obtain legal representation in order to sue the responsible parties, Shell and Dow Chemicals, for 1-2-3 TCP contamination. Robins Borghei LLP is the primary firm litigating 123 TCP cases and has a strong track record in winning cases on behalf of communities dealing with 1-2-3 TCP contamination. Litigation can take anywhere from a year to 3 or more years, so if you are impacted by 1-2-3 TCP and are in need of financial assistance to come into compliance with the new MCL, there are funding sources at the state available for eligible entities. The primary funding source is the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), and the Prop 1 Groundwater Grant Fund is also a secondary option to cover instances where the DWSRF doesn’t cover. In order to qualify for state funding sources you will likely be required to show you are initiating efforts to recover costs from the responsible parties. Staff at the State Water Board can be of assistance in meeting any of the eligibility requirements.


California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) UC Water Rates Proceeding:

If your water system is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, it’s good to be aware that the Commission has initiated a proceeding to look at water affordability. The Commission is looking at whether it is feasible or effective to standardize the various low-income rate assistance programs, benefits to consolidation, the feasibility of taxing bottled water to subsidize water rates for low-income customers, and a number of other potential tools and solutions. More information can be found here or on the CPUC’s website.


Best Management Practice (BMP) Sustainable Management Criteria

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) released their latest best management practices guidance document for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The latest guidance document is on how a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) establishes sustainable management criteria. In developing Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs), GSAs must develop these sustainable criteria: sustainability goal, undesirable results, minimum thresholds, and measureable objectives. All four of these sustainable criteria are created from information derived from the Groundwater Sustainability Agency’s hydrologic conceptual model, water budget, and past and current groundwater conditions. The BMP is intended to give guidance on how to establish these criteria. Comments on the guidance document are due January 8, 2018 at 5pm. The Department of Water Resources will also be holding three stakeholder workshops across the state on the guidance document, details still to be announced. The guidance document can be found here or on DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Management page. CWC is submitting comments and you are welcome to submit comments with us or you can submit comments on your own by emailing your comments to sgmps@water.ca.gov, subject: Comments on Draft SMC BMP.


Featured resources of the month:

 

State Water Board Translations for Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR) Templates:

Last May, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Northern California sent a letter to the State Water Resources Control Board requesting that the State Water Board make available translated Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) templates so that public water systems could use the templates and ensure that consumers receive these reports in the required languages. Previously, the Board only provided the template in English and it became evident that many public water systems were using the exact template but not translating it themselves. Because of this, many non-English speaking communities only received the CCR in English. ACLU of Northern California has been working with the State Water Board’s Chair to ensure the templates are translated and there are now two additional versions available: one in Spanish and one in Hmong. The Board plans to provide additional translations in 2018 but for now, water boards are encouraged to use these templates to work to ensure all members of their communities can read and understand their CCR report.

 

Union of Concerned Scientists’ new publication for water decision makers:

Navigating a Flood of Information: Evaluating and Integrating Climate Science into Groundwater Planning in California is a white paper co-authored with Stanford University’s Water in the West program. The white paper intends to

  • Provide water managers and other decision makers across the state with an overview of climate models, their component parts, and key terminology
  • Provide a framework for evaluating and comparing the various approaches to incorporating climate change into state-level water planning documents
  • Recommend a four-step process to incorporate future climate projections into local Groundwater Sustainability Plans

$9.5 Million Available for Drinking Water in Schools

The California State Water Resources Control Board has $9.5 million in grant funding available through the Drinking Water for Schools Program, which may be used to install water bottle filling stations or drinking water fountains, and for interim water supplies and treatment devices for schools where contamination is an issue. Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) are eligible to apply for these funds, including schools that serve kindergarten through 12th grade, and preschools and daycares that are located on school property. During the first nine months, the program is open only to LEAs that serve Disadvantaged Communities (DAC) with a population of less than 20,000. County offices of education are encouraged to apply on behalf of multiple small districts within their jurisdiction, which can reduce costs through joint purchasing and contracting.

If your school or district is interested in learning more about this exciting new opportunity to improve student access to safe drinking water you can access the guidelines and application here or contact Kim Hanagan, State Water Resources Control Board at (916) 323-0624.

Rural Community Assistance Corporation was selected by the State Water Resources Control Board to provide technical assistance during the grant application and implementation period. Contact us at agua4all@rcac.org for more information.


Applications Open for Water Education Foundation 2018 Water Leaders Class

Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 William R. Gianelli Water Leaders Class. The one-year program fosters a deeper knowledge of water issues and leadership skills. Criteria for acceptance include a commitment to understanding water issues and an interest in seeking leadership roles on public boards and commissions, or key staff positions. Class members are required to attend a special January orientation at the Foundation’s Sacramento office, the Bay-Delta Tour mid-year, along with one other water tour of their choice, as well as the Executive Briefing, the Foundation’s flagship annual conference. Individual class members are also assigned a top level policy-maker, scientist or legal expert as a mentor, with whom they spend one day “shadowing” and later conduct a one-on-one interview on the class research topic. The program began in 1997 and class alums have gone on to achieve top positions at the state Legislature, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and leading private companies involved in water.

Visit http://www.watereducation.org/water-leaders for more information about the program. You can download an application form here that you can fill out on your computer. Applications are due Dec. 5, 2017 and scholarships are available. Contact Kasey Chong at kchong@watereducation.org with any questions.


Upcoming Events and Trainings:

November 22. State Water Board Workshop on Proposed Water Waste Regulation. CalEPA Headquarters Building - 1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. Free. https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/board_info/calendar/index.html

November 29. Water System Management and Finance for Board Members.12:00pm-1:00pm. Online. Free. http://calmutuals.org/events/month/

December 4 & December 8. AWE Distribution Operations & Maintenance. CRWA Training Headquarters, 1234 North Market Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95834. https://calruralwater.org/training-schedule/?orderby=date_asc

December 5. AB54 & AB240: Ethics For Mutual Water Company Board Members. 10AM-12PM. Online. Free. https://www.events.rcac.org/rcac/Calendar.asp

December 19. Public Hearing: Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) General Permit Amendment. 9:30AM. 1001 I Street, Second Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814. Free.  https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/board_info/calendar/index.html

December 19. Arsenic Remediation. 10AM. Online. https://www.events.rcac.org/rcac/Calendar.asp

December 20. California Water Commission Meeting. 9:30am. 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. Free. http://www.watereducation.org/calendar/2017-11

 

Find more events on our Community Water Leaders online calendar found at http://www.communitywatercenter.org/water_leaders_network.


Do you have any questions about this newsletter or the Community Water Leaders Network? 
Contact Adriana Renteria at 559-733-0219 or adriana.renteria@communitywatercenter.org

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