Sacramento Region’s Water Future 3/29

At the ECOS MTG/Board on March 29, 2023, join us for a presentation, Sacramento Region’s Water Future.

Jessica Law, Executive Director of the Sacramento Water Forum and Ashlee Casey, the Forum’s Senior Engineer are joining the ECOS membership and guests on March 29 at 6:00 pm to present and discuss the results of a Water Forum Ad Hoc Technical Team GAP Analysis Report. This Report is an important step in the Water Forum’s efforts to revise the current Water Forum Agreement to accommodate the Region’s anticipated water demand growth and potential impacts from a changing climate. Ashlee managed the staff and consultant effort to develop the Report. Jessica and Ashlee will describe the findings of the report including the significant changes in Northern California hydrology brought about by the increasing temperatures that are projected to occur over the next decades. These warmer temperatures and shifting global conditions will cause longer and more frequent droughts and will shift the region’s runoff pattern earlier in the season. Coupled with planned increases in water use, our region will likely experience significant water management and environmental challenges.

Some of the Report’s findings indicate that the greater Sacramento area’s future water supply reliability will be reduced as the result of both planned growth and increasing temperatures caused by climate change. These rising temperatures will reduce the “snowpack reservoir” and increase the probability that in some years Folsom Reservoir will be at or near deadpool conditions. Surface water modeling of these impacts indicates lower flows in the Lower American River that will affect our ability to preserve the fishery, wildlife, recreational, and aesthetic values of the lower American River causing the region’s salmonid species to encounter near‐fatal or fatal conditions in many years primarily due to higher water temperatures.

Completion of the GAP Analysis Report is a significant step in the Water Forum 2 negotiation process. Water Forum members are beginning work on discussions and proposed actions for a new Water Forum Agreement to address the issues described in the Report. Jessica will provide insights into some of the areas the Water Forum members are discussing, and the process being used by the Forum to reach agreement on a new Water Forum Agreement 2. One that provides a roadmap for the region’s water future.

Join us on March 29 at 6:00 pm to learn about the GAP Analysis Report findings. Bring your questions and suggestions on what we should do to provide a reliable and safe water supply for the region’s economic health and planned development through 2040 and beyond; and preserve the fishery, wildlife, recreational, and aesthetic values of the lower American River.

Link to join: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6656164155
To phone in: 669-900-6833, Meeting ID: 665 616 4155

Recording and Presentation Posted for the First Water Bank Stakeholder Forum

The Regional Water Authority (RWA) has launched a public engagement process for the Sacramento Regional Water Bank, an innovative groundwater storage program utilizing the expansive reservoir under the urban core for storing water during wet times for use during dry times.

Materials and the presentation from the first Stakeholder Forum, held October 26, 2022, are now available online and can be found here.

The goal of the Water Bank public engagement process is to share information, answer questions and gather input about how a Water Bank could be operated and expanded in the Sacramento region.

The first Stakeholder Forum explored key topic areas such as water sources and management in the Sacramento region; projected impacts of climate change on the region’s water resources; how water banking works; how a Water Bank could help the region adapt to climate change; and other topics. Future Stakeholder Forums will cover Water Bank principles and governance, defining and refining operational alternatives, and scoping for an environmental analysis.

RWA is planning several Stakeholder Forums over the next 15 months with the next Forum expected to take place in early 2023. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to the Project Team to learn more about the Water Bank and ask questions.

You can reach the Project Team at waterbankinfo[at]rwah2o[dot]org.

Updates about the engagement process will be posted to rwah2o.org/waterbankengage.

State and Local Leaders Spotlight Water-Wise Lawn Transformation Ahead of Anticipated Fourth Dry Year, RWA, Oct 21, 2022

October 21, 2022, Regional Water Authority E-News

As California prepares for another anticipated drought year, state and local leaders gathered yesterday at a small business in the heart of Folsom to spotlight their drought-resilient landscape, made possible by a rebate offered from the Regional Water Authority (RWA). The rebate is an example of how local water agencies are working to help California businesses and residents reduce their water use and embrace water-saving opportunities like transitioning to low-water landscaping.

Click here to read the full article.

Local Groundwater Planning Presentation 8/24

August 24, 2022 Water Committee Meeting Agenda

3:00 to 5:00 pm – Zoom

 ECOS ZOOM 6656164155

Introductions and Committee Ground rules 5 minutes:

Featured Presentation 1 hour, 50 minutes:

Presenter: Rob Swartz, Manager of Technical Services for the Regional Water Authority and the Sacramento Groundwater Authority

Mr. Swartz has over thirty-five years of water resource and water project planning and implementation experience. He has been RWA’s Manager of Technical Services since 2003 and has recently led the technical development of the COSANA model and the development of the Sacramento Groundwater Basin, Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). Mr. Swartz is also leading RWA’s efforts to develop and implement a Regional Groundwater Bank. Mr. Swartz plans to include some of the modeling experts who designed the COSANA model in the discussion.

Mr. Swartz will present a technical and policy presentation/discussion on: 1) The development and use of the COSANA model in planning and managing the region’s groundwater resources; and 2) The status of the Regional Groundwater Authority’s efforts to formulate and implement a Regional Groundwater Bank.

                                            Why are these issues important to you?

1) The COSANA model is a newly developed analytical tool that water managers are using to understand and help manage the region’s three groundwater basins – the Cosumnes, South American and North American Subbasins. This tool is used to determine each subbasin’s water budget and sustainable pumping level. Going forward the COSANA model will assist managers in understanding and interpreting empirical pumping data as well as potential impacts on Groundwater Depended Ecosystems (GDE) and shallow wells from future basin groundwater pumping. To have confidence in the model it is important to understand its sensitivity, how it is calibrated, and what its margin of error is. The COSANA model is only as predictive as the quality of the empirical data it makes use of. The initial round of GSPs all indicate a need for additional monitoring wells to more fully understand each subbasin. We are interested in what efforts are going on within each subbasin to improve the monitoring systems and how these efforts will improve future COSANA results. Finally, COSANA is one of several modeling tools water managers use. We would like to understand how this model’s results correlate with other ground and surface water models, and in turn, how all these model outputs are integrated to inform water managers regarding the appropriate and sustainable use of Ground and Surface water resources.

2) The region’s water managers have invested heavily in conjunctive use to achieve regional water supply sustainability. Water Banking is the process of utilizing underground aquifers to either retain groundwater and use excess surface water in its stead or store excess surface water in the ground during wet years so that the resulting groundwater is available for use in place of surface water during dry years when surface water supplies are not as prevalent. Understanding how the Water Bank will be structured and managed as both a water purveyor and regional asset is important, and ECOS has requested a seat at the table for future discussions on the Water Bank structure, management criteria, and governance.

Committed Discussion Process:

Time will be set aside at key points during the presentation for questions/clarifications and discussion. Participants can introduce their questions either by raising their hand in the Zoom tools or by making use of the chat function. For those without these options, time will be set aside for your questions as well. 

Committee Action Item Summary:

The Committee finalized and released two letters following the July meeting. Both are published on the ECOS web site. One was Addressed to the County Board of Supervisors noting our objection to an action being taken by the County Parks Department to install Seven acres of irrigated turf. The second was a letter in support of a $2.6 million grant to fund a planning study for the RiverArc project.

The Sacramento County Draft Climate Action Plan will be released very soon, and the Committee will follow up on its earlier recommendations regarding water conservation and regional landscaping.  

Thanks, and meeting closure 5 minutes

The Committee meetings are open to the public. Zoom access – link above or on the ECOS web page under meeting schedules. The next Committee meeting is September 28, time 3:00-5:00 (tentative).  

Installation of Irrigation on nine (9) Acres of land at Discovery Park

On August 5, 2022, ECOS sent a letter to Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli regarding the installation of irrigation on nine (9) acres of land at Discovery Park.

Below is an excerpt of our letter.

We are writing to suggest a different strategy than is currently being worked on by the County Parks Department for the subject Discovery Park project. We agree with the Save the American River Association that given the drought and the expected continued pressure on water resources due to climate change, it makes little sense to be installing additional landscaping that requires more water before a comprehensive audit of the Parks landscape water needs and resources is conducted. We do support the County Parks Department’s effort to use local native grasses for the nine-acre project. Therefore, we offer a two-step process that will accomplish our mutual objectives without permanently increasing landscape water requirements in the park.

Click here to read the letter in full.

Stop the diversion of 147,000 acre-feet of American River Water to San Joaquin County

On July 6, 2022, the Environmental Council of Sacramento submitted a letter to the State Water Resources Control Board Administrative Hearings Office (AHO) supporting the AHO’s recommendation to cancel San Joaquin County’s application #29657 from 1990.

Below is an excerpt from the letter.

While not the subject of the AHO’s recommendation, the diversion of 147,000 acre-feet of American River Water to San Joaquin County, as envisioned in application #29657, would have substantial adverse impacts to the American River and would disrupt the Water Forum’s 29 years of work to meet water needs, protect river flows, manage river temperatures for salmon and steelhead, and restore aquatic habitats in the Lower American River. The up-stream diversion would likely impact river flows and summer temperatures. With climate change and the projected demand in this region, the river cannot absorb an additional 140,000+ acre feet of diversion and still maintain the fishery and full recreational potential of the lower American river.

Click here to read the letter in full.