SGMA Feature – August 2017

  • by Pamela Martineau
  • Aug 18, 2017
  • Newsletters

Soquel Creek Water District

SGMA overview provided by: Melanie Mow Schumacher, PE, associate manager- special projects, Soquel Creek Water District

1.) What groundwater basin or basins is Soquel Creek involved with through a newly formed GSA?

Soquel Creek Water District is involved in the management of the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin (Basin Number 3-001) which was approved by DWR during the 2016 Basin Modification Process that consolidates portions of a number of Bulletin 118-recognized basins/sub-basins, including West Santa Cruz Terrace, Santa Cruz Purisima Formation, Pajaro Valley, and Soquel Valley.

2.) What other agencies are participating in the GSA?

The Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency (MGA) is an 11-member board comprised of two elected officials from Central Water District, City of Santa Cruz, County of Santa Cruz, and Soquel Creek Water District, and three private well representatives.

The agency was formed by a Joint Powers Agreement and corresponding bylaws in Spring 2016 and is recognized by the state as the exclusive agency for management of the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin.

The agency’s regularly scheduled public board meetings are held every other month on the third Thursday of the month in the evenings, unless otherwise noted.

3.) What are some unique aspects or challenges of that basin (or basins)?

Seawater Intrusion/Contamination – The basin is identified as critically overdrafted due to the historical overpumping of the basin that has made water levels at the coast too low to protect against seawater intrusion. Contamination at the coastline has occurred at both ends of the groundwater basin and the challenge is to bring the basin back into sustainability so that the seawater intrusion doesn’t move farther inland.
Inland vs. Coastal Groundwater Pumping – What are the impacts and differences on the overdraft condition by inland and coastal pumping? Fees – How will fees be determined to implement the Groundwater Sustainability Plan components? Locally, our GSA has preliminarily been working toward a model where partner agencies would develop/fund water supply projects based on proportional use of the basin and general management activities would be cost-shared. Will this be the final model used in the GSP? We aren’t sure yet.

4.) What kind of outreach has your agency done in getting the word out on developing the GSPs?

The MGA recently has been holding informational meetings to get more interest and engagement with private well owners.

A Groundwater Sustainability Plan Advisory Committee is being formed to expand and include public engagement. The committee’s purpose is to make groundwater sustainability recommendations to the MGA board. Committee members will review technical information, give advice on basin sustainability goals, plan objectives, project funding, plan implementation, and other topics as identified by the committee and the board. The time commitment will vary and is expected to take 10 hours per month from September 2017 through July 2019.

The MGA board will be utilizing professional facilitation services to work with the GSP Advisory Committee.

6.) What has been the community reaction to the effort to implement SGMA?

Most of the community at this point is in a “watch and wait” position or SGMA isn’t even on their radar. I believe that once we begin to talk if fees will be required (and when) then more interest may be piqued. It will be really important for us to make sure that information is available to discuss and expand engagement.


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