Community Water Center

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

September 2018 CWLN Newsletter

Don’t miss our next Network Briefing:
Thursday, September 27th from 4-5PM  

As a reminder, our next call is on September 27th. 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. 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 prepaid calling card in order to call long-distance.


Community Water Center is hiring a Community Organizer for our new Central Coast Office


Community Organizer— The Community Organizer position is a regular, full-time, exempt employee position that will be primarily responsible for conducting CWC’s organizing and base-building work in communities in the Northern Central Coast Region (primarily Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito counties and parts of Santa Clara County). This position will report directly to the CWC Director of Organizing, Erica Fernandez Zamora and will work closely with other CWC staff, community partners and allies. If you have any questions, please contact Erica Fernandez at


If you or someone you know is interested in applying, visit our website to access the application:


Save the date for Somos el Poder y el Cambio—  We are the Power and the Change!

WHEN: October 11, 2018 at 5:30pm

WHERE: Café 210  210 W Center Ave, Visalia, CA 93291


SGMA Workshop Series:

Save the dates for two upcoming SGMA workshops! The Community Water Center, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Self Help Enterprises, and Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability will be hosting two workshops on groundwater management in October. These workshops are being funded through a Department of Water Resources (DWR) SGMA grant. More information on these special events below:


Groundwater Quality in the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) CWLN Roundtable

DATE: Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

TIME: 5:00PM--7:30PM

LOCATION: Cafe 210, 210 W. Center Ave. (corner of Center and Locust), Visalia, CA 93291


Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) are currently developing plans, Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs), that will outline how groundwater resources will be managed locally. As part of developing their plans, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires GSAs to address how they will avoid six undesirable results.  This roundtable will focus on the undesirable result of the “significant and unreasonable degradation of groundwater quality.”


At this roundtable, state representatives will speak on how regulatory programs like SGMA and CV SALTS are interconnected and how GSAs can develop robust plans that complement other regulatory frameworks. Researchers will be sharing information about how groundwater pumping and groundwater recharge influence the geochemistry of the aquifer, changes in groundwater quality, and recommendations for GSAs how to proactively plan or address these concerns. And lastly, representatives from local water districts will be sharing the groundwater quality remediation projects their water district is implementing. We hope to see you join our conversation!


Groundwater Sustainability Planning Workshop 2.0

DATE: Saturday, October 27th, 2018


LOCATION: Marriott Hotel, 300 South Court, Visalia CA 93291


This workshop on October 27th is a continuation of the Groundwater Sustainability Planning workshops that CWLN hosted in 2017. This half-day workshop, will feature a series of presentations and interactive  exercises that will help participants better understand and engage in the creation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans. The topics will focus on understanding water budgets, developing sustainability criteria, and management actions and projects. The details on the time and location are still being finalized so in the meantime, please place a save the date on your calendar.


If you have any questions about these two workshops, please contact Adriana Renteria at or 559-733-0219.


Update on the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund

After almost two years of advocacy, five days of water strikes at the Capitol, multiple legislative visits, and loud, passionate calls for government accountability, the legislative session ended without the passage of a critical two-bill package to fund safe and affordable drinking water.


Unfortunately, political self-interest trumped addressing a decades-old public health crisis impacting more than one million Californians. Concerned about potential election year fallout, the State Assembly shelved our bills for this session. This outcome is an outrage to those who will have to go another year living with toxic taps. Even though justice has been delayed, justice will not be denied. Due to the courageous, steadfast and skillful advocacy by impacted residents, Speaker Rendon issued a public statement committing to making ongoing, sustainable funding a priority for the legislature when they reconvene in January. As saddened and angry as we are in the face of this delay of justice to serve nearsighted political interests, CWC, our community partners, and allies will not be stopped from aggressively seeking a solution to California's drinking water crisis when the legislature reconvenes in January.


Also, this month, we are launching the Community Water Center Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization which can participate directly in partisan election-related activities. This November, CWC Action Fund will be endorsing candidates who will be accountable to their communities’ drinking water needs and speaking with thousands of Latino voters to ensure they make their voices heard. Help us build community-based power leading up to November by joining our email list and following us on Facebook and Twitter. As impacted residents made clear last week at the Capitol: the people united will never be divided. Join us this fall as we hold our elected officials accountable and make sure the Human Right to Water remains a priority.


Yes on Prop 3- the November Water Bond

Community Water Center supports and has endorsed Proposition 3, the California Water Bond on the November, 2018 ballot. Proposition 3, the Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018, is an $8.877 billion water bond organized through a citizen’s initiative for the November, 2018 ballot. Proposition 3 would provide funding for important water projects across the state, including in the Central Valley. Funding would go to a variety of projects such as for safe drinking water, groundwater, wastewater, conservation, and watershed restoration. Proposition 3 would provide a total of $750 million for safe drinking water and wastewater projects, and $675 million for groundwater projects. Proposition 3 would provide desperately needed funding for safe drinking water projects across the state to help ensure universal access to safe drinking water.


Community Water Center helped write the language in Proposition 3 for the safe drinking water, wastewater and groundwater sections. Proposition 3 is unique in that it provides a historically large level of funding for safe drinking water needs, and a larger than usual amount of the funding is designed to directly benefit low income communities. The historic amount of capital funding in Proposition 3, if combined with passage of a future Safe and Affordable Drinking Water fund to provide complimentary funding for ongoing operations and maintenance, will allow California to take a major step forward towards finally securing every Californian’s basic human right to water. For more information, please visit:

Update on the Department of Water Resources’ Small Rural Water Systems Drought Contingency Planning Process

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is starting to move forward with their process to implement the conservation bills (AB 1668/SB 606) that implements portions of the Governor's conservation Executive Order. Community Water Center supported those bills and was able to include language in AB 1668, which passed early this year, that calls on DWR to develop guidelines and resources to strengthen local drought resiliency by proactively planning for and addressing vulnerability to water shortages. You can read a comment letter submitted this month by the Community Water Center and a number of other organizations. Yale University also prepared a list of recommendations dealing with drought and water supply vulnerability that is worth checking out -- see here for more information. If you are interested in learning more about DWR’s Small Rural Water Systems Drought Contingency Planning Process, please contact CWC’s Policy Director Jonathan Nelson at


Draft Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) for the Integrated Regional Water Management Implementation Funding to be released this month

The Proposition 1 IRWM Grant Program, administered by DWR, provides funding for projects that help meet the long-term water needs of the state. Some of these types of projects include: assisting water infrastructure systems adapt to climate change; providing incentives to collaborate in managing the region's water resources; and setting regional priorities for water infrastructure.


The IRWM Grant Program includes funding for IRWM Planning, IRWM Implementation, and Disadvantaged Community Involvement Grant Programs. The draft Proposal Solicitation Package for the Prop 1 IRWM Implementation grant is anticipated to be released in late September. After the draft is released, the Department of Water Resources will be hosting a series of public workshops to receive comments and then the final PSP is anticipated to be ready late fall of this year. There are two round of funding available. The first round will be open in the fall when the PSP is released and they will grant the first application in early Spring 2019. The second round of funding application will begin in 2020. DWR will also be setting aside $3.4M for DAC-benefit projects which would make available $1,020,000 in Round 1 and $2,380,000 in Round 2. If you’d like to stay up to date on the progress of this program, visit:


Tulare-Kern Funding Area Integrated Regional Water Management Disadvantaged Community Involvement Grant Project Advisory Committee

The Tulare-Kern Funding area met last month to discuss updates on the Involvement Grant Project. As part of this project, the Tulare-Kern IRWM funding area is contracting with Self Help Enterprises to support outreach to disadvantaged communities. The first phase of SHE’s work will entail developing a survey to capture a summary of all the DAC participation efforts currently taking place. From the results of this survey they will then tailor their outreach efforts accordingly. The other thing that was discussed at the August meeting was the needs assessment that is being developed by Provost & Pritchard for this project. They are working to develop a web tool that will help inform projects for the IRWM group. For more updates on this project, visit:

Recently released reports:


Environmental Defense Fund: Groundwater Pumping Allocations under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: Guidance for Groundwater Sustainability Agencies

This paper, co-authored with New Current Water and Land, addresses one major dilemma facing Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs): how to comply with SGMA without changing groundwater rights. It starts by providing background on groundwater law and then recommends one approach among four to develop an allocation scheme that is most likely to withstand a court challenge. The four methods of groundwater allocation that are explained in this report are:

1) Allocating equally per overlying acre. This approach divides available groundwater proportional to property size. One problem is that it can be viewed as creating inequities for those who have invested heavily to exercise their groundwater rights.

2) Allocation per irrigated overlying acre. This approach allocates each irrigated acre a specific quantity of groundwater. It’s relatively simple to calculate, but one downside is that it does not consider unexercised pumping rights.

3) Allocation based on fraction of historic pumping. This approach allocates water based on historic groundwater use. This can reduce conflict among existing groundwater pumpers. But one potential major challenge is it requires data about individuals’ historic use that may not exist.

4) Comprehensive allocation method (method recommended by the Environmental Defense Fund). This approach allocates groundwater based on California groundwater law to the extent practical and preserves the relative priority of water users. In this paper they argue that this method is more likely to survive judicial scrutiny if tested in court. However, it may be more complicated and time-consuming to apply and would require substantial stakeholder engagement. You can read both the blog and the report here:

Blog post:


Environmental Defense Fund: Depletion Requirements in California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

In this paper, Environmental Defense Fund proposes an approach for GSAs to address surface water depletions – also known as the “sixth deadly sin” or “Undesirable Result No. 6” – under SGMA. As part of this report, EDF identifies three key principles to consider:

1) Use groundwater levels as an indicator of stream depletion. Accurately measuring the amount of water withdrawn from a stream by groundwater pumping is extremely difficult. If groundwater managers select groundwater levels in the vicinity of a stream and then manage the groundwater to keep levels above those thresholds, it’s as good as – and much more practical than – trying to measure and maintain the actual amount of stream depletion.

2. Use the best available information. Where we have good groundwater level monitoring data, this is straightforward. But in many, if not most cases, we don’t really know what groundwater levels were in the years before the law’s passage. In these cases, computer modeling of groundwater conditions should be used to make the best possible approximations of the levels in the years leading up to 2015.

3. Address seasonal and annual variability. Establishing threshold levels for compliance should account for wet and dry years and seasonal variations. Beyond normal variability, we recommend water managers view the years immediately before 2015 as the bottom of the allowable range for water levels given the historic drought during that time. You can read both the report and the blog here:

Blog post:



California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment Reports

In a pair of new reports, published as part of California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, University of California researchers examine how the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) has carried out its water rights responsibilities during past droughts and offer recommendations for improving the agency’s future drought response.  


The Board's decisions are central to how water is allocated among different human and environmental uses during droughts. This analysis of water rights administration and oversight during the last four major statewide droughts suggests there was little preparation in advance of droughts, resulting in improvisation and ad hoc processes during these four droughts. The Board has made significant and creative advances in drought management, but also spent valuable time in the midst of drought crises marshaling its resources to make basic decisions about what drought response strategies to use, how to reconcile competing priorities, and how to communicate with stakeholders.  


Because future California droughts are likely to be more frequent, longer, and more intense, they will pose increasing challenges for water management, raising the stakes for effective drought response.  These reports argue that the Board can make its future drought responses more timely, effective, and transparent by 1) proactively adopting a contingency-based framework to support drought decision making and 2) taking a suite of complementary actions, including making key policy decisions in advance of droughts, strategically improving decision-related information, maximizing learning from past droughts, and prioritizing water rights enforcement between droughts. You can access the reports here:

Local GSA updates:

Lower Tule/Pixley GSA

At the last Groundwater Planning Commission for the Lower Tule Irrigation District GSA & PIxley Irrigation District GSA discussed the development of a draft chapter seven of their groundwater sustainability plan chapter.  This chapter focuses on the five drinking water communities which are: Tipton Community Services District (CSD), Woodville Public Utilities District (PUD), Poplar CSD, Pixley PUD, and Teviston CSD. This chapter says that on a quarterly basis the communities will report their total groundwater pumped and groundwater discharged to the GSA. Each of the communities will be identified a separate management area with their own minimum thresholds and measurable objectives. To read these draft chapter outlines, visit the GSAs’ website:  

Lower Tule ID GSA and Pixley ID GSA meeting schedule:

  • Lower Tule ID GSA board meeting: 2nd Tuesday of the month at 9AM at Lower Tule River Irrigation, 357 E Olive Ave, Tipton, CA 93272, USA.
  • Pixley ID GSA board meeting: 1st Thursday of the month at 9AM at Lower Tule River Irrigation, 357 E Olive Ave, Tipton, CA 93272, USA.
  • Groundwater Planning Committee (GPC) meeting: combined planning meeting of the two GSAs. 4th Tuesday of every month at 10 AM at the Lower Tule River Irrigation, 357 E Olive Ave, Tipton, CA 93272, USA.


Eastern Tule GSA

The ETGSA is continuing to develop their draft Communication and Engagement Plan which is a document is required of all GSAs, and will outline how the GSA will conduct outreach to stakeholders in their GSA and list all the opportunities for public participation. At last month’s Executive Committee meeting, the committee recommended to vote on an allocation of groundwater shares based on acreage. As part of this allocation, they also recommended to have a set-aside pool of water to allocate to the drinking water users that is equal to their historical pumping. These recommendations will go to the GSA board next month.


If you would like to sign up as an interested party and receive updates, event invitations, meeting agendas, meeting packets, notices regarding plan preparation and the availability of draft plans, and other relevant information regarding ETGSA and its developments, sign up here. Additionally, The Eastern Tule GSA has developed a survey as is asking for stakeholders to share their feedback. If you or someone you know live in the communities of Porterville, Terra Bella, Ducor, or Richgrove, you can access the survey here. You may also contact the Eastern Tule GSA directly by emailing, or visiting the website


Eastern Tule GSA meeting schedule:

  • Board meeting: 1st Thursday of every month at 2PM at: City of Porterville, Council Chambers, 291 N. Main St. Porterville, 93257.
  • Stakeholder Committee meeting: 2nd and 4th Thursdays of every month at 2PM, City of Porterville Transit Multi Purpose Conference Room, 15 E Thurman Ave, Suite D, Porterville, 93257
  • Executive Committee meeting: 3rd Thursday of every month at 2PM, City of Porterville Transit Multi Purpose Conference Room, 15 E Thurman Ave, Suite D, Porterville, 93257

East Kaweah GSA

East Kaweah Advisory Committee has started to develop a list of policy points that they would like to recommend to the GSA board. Some of the topics on the list include: allocation of supply, management options, projects, funding mechanisms, monitoring, and data management.  


The East Kaweah GSA has developed a survey and is asking for stakeholders to share their feedback. If you or someone you know live in the communities of: Tooleville, Tonyville, El Rancho, Lindsay, Plainview, or Strathmore, you can access the survey in English here and Spanish here. You may also contact the East Kaweah GSA directly by emailing, calling (559) 303-4150 or visiting the website


East Kaweah GSA meeting schedule:

  • Board meeting: fourth Monday of January, April, July, and October at 3PM at the Exeter Historical Museum.
  • Advisory Committee meeting: third Monday of every month at 4PM at Exeter Historical Museum.
  • Technical Advisory Committee meeting: first Friday of every month at 10AM at Provost & Pritchard Office in Visalia, CA.  


Kings River East GSA

Kings River East GSA will be holding a public meeting on Tuesday September 25th to select a board member and alternative for irrigation districts. The representative has to be part of the following special districts: Hills Valley Irrigation District, Orange Cove Irrigation District, Kings River Water District, and Tri-Valley Water District.  


Kings River East GSA meeting schedule:

  • Board meeting: 3rd Thursday of every month at 2PM at: City of Dinuba, High Council Chambers – 405 East El Monte Avenue, Dinuba, CA 93618.
  • Advisory Committee meeting: every two months on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 3:30PM at Alta Irrigation District Building, 289 N L St, Dinuba, CA 93618, USA.
  • Technical Advisory Committee meeting: 3rd Thursday of every month at 10AM at the Alta Irrigation District Building, 289 N L St, Dinuba, CA 93618, USA.


Featured resource of the month

Department of Water Resources: Climate Change Data Guidance Document Released

The Department of Water Resources’ Sustainable Groundwater Management Program (SGMP) released the Climate Change Data and Guidance Resource Guide which gives a high-level overview of climate change resources and includes datasets provided by the Department of Water Resources (DWR), tools for working with the DWR-provided datasets, and guidance for using DWR-provided data and tools when developing groundwater sustainability plans. This guide walks users through the process of deciding which data tool to use and how to incorporate it into their climate change analysis. The datasets and methods can provide technical assistance to groundwater sustainability agencies when developing projected water budgets. To read the guidance document, visit:


Drinking Water for Schools Grant Program Deadline Approaching

This program can be used install water bottle filling stations or drinking water fountains, and for interim water supplies and treatment devices for schools where contamination is an issue. The deadline for the Drinking Water in Schools Program is now March 1, 2019. There is still funding available for schools to apply. Of the $9.5 million available, approximately $1 million has been committed to date. Technical Assistance is available for school districts, or school service area that serves a population of 20,000 or less.


If a school in your community could benefit from this funding source, contact Rural Community Assistance Corporation at for more information on how to apply. To learn more, visit:

Upcoming events

EVENT: Diagnosing and Solving Well Problems for Optimal Performance.

DATE: September 26. TIME: 8AM-3:30PM. LOCATION: Modesto. COST: $175.

DESCRIPTION: This session will discuss the various tools and techniques available to diagnose and treat various well problems ranging from bacterial contamination to reduced well yields, well sanding, and well casing issues. FOR MORE INFO:


EVENT: Monitoring Land Subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley.

DATE: October 2. TIME: 8:15-2:30PM.  LOCATION: Alice Peters Auditorium (PB 191) in the University Business Center at Fresno State. COST: Free.

DESCRIPTION: This workshop will highlight ongoing land subsidence monitoring, monitoring techniques, the California Department of Water Resources' assistance for local agency SGMA compliance and will feature current results of satellite-based remote sensing monitoring. FOR MORE INFO:
EVENT: Water Treatment Certification Review (Grades 1- 2).

DATE: October 31-November 1, 2018.  LOCATION: Clarion Inn Conference Center, 1612 Sisk Rd., Modesto, CA 95350. COST: $350.

DESCRIPTION: California Rural Water Association (CRWA) is offering a series of two-day certification review classes designed to enhance operators’ working knowledge of water treatment. Classes include a pre-test and detailed instruction on the expected range of knowledge for water treatment operators and practice exams. This format refreshes operators on the many aspects of water treatment systems and helps sharpen their test-taking skills. FOR MORE INFO:


EVENT: Grant Funding and Infrastructure Planning.

DATE: December 12th. TIME: 8AM-12PM.  LOCATION: Clarion Inn Conference Center, 1612 Sisk Rd., Modesto, CA 95350. COST: $175.

DESCRIPTION: At this workshop the California Rural Water Association will share about how to plan and finance system improvements such as pump stations, pipelines, tank replacement and
expansions, and treatment facilities. FOR MORE INFO:

Like us to spread the word

Related News & Resources

August 2018 CWLN Newsletter

Don’t miss our next Network Briefing: Thursday, September 27th from 4-5PM   As a reminder, there’s no briefing call this month and our next call is in September. Network “briefings”...

July 2018 CWLN Newsletter

Don’t miss our next Network Briefing: Thursday, May 24th from 4-5PM   Network “briefings” are monthly conference calls that provide members the opportunity to connect with each other, crowd-source questions,...

May 2018 CWLN Newsletter

Don’t miss our next Network Briefing: Thursday, May 24th from 4-5PM   Network “briefings” are monthly conference calls that provide members the opportunity to connect with each other, crowd-source questions,...

April 2018 CWLN Newsletter

  Announcements Don’t miss our next Network Briefing:  Thursday, May 24th 4-5pm Network “briefings” are monthly conference calls that provide members the opportunity to connect with each other, crowd-source questions, and...

More News