Monitoring Groundwater in Sacramento County

October 12, 2018

The South American Subbasin is located in the central portion of Sacramento County. It is primarily managed by the Sacramento Central Groundwater Authority (SCGA).

ECOS believes that Sacramento Central Groundwater Authority’s understanding of the hydrology of the Subbasin should be measurably improved, and we have written a letter suggesting some ways to achieve that. Below is an excerpt of our letter.

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) notes with interest the Sacramento Central Groundwater Authority (SCGA) Board’s September 12, 2018 direction to Staff to evaluate the State of California’s C2VSimFG model input data for the South American Subbasin (Subbasin) and update the State’s model data as necessary. We believe that SCGA’s understanding of the hydrology of the Subbasin should be measurably improved. SCGA should look to the modeling and monitory efforts underway by the Regional Water Authority and the Sacramento Groundwater Authority (SGA), and adopt and put in place a comprehensive and compatible monitoring program for the Subbasin.

We also believe the Board acted with imprudence when it recently adopted its operating budget for the upcoming year, in that, among other issues, the Board did not provide enough funding for groundwater monitoring and modeling. SCGA’s existing set of monitoring wells is insufficient to provide a full understanding of the flows of groundwater into, through and out of the Subbasin. Semiannual data points are not sufficient to understand and effectively manage the Subbasin. While we commend SCGA’s recent effort to provide real time monitoring in a small, select group of wells, we believe you should do far more in this important area.

Click here to read the full letter (PDF).

Ground Water Recharge

Ground Water Recharge: A Pathway Toward Regional Environmental Improvement and Water Supply Security

Presentation to ECOS Board 
September 25, 2018 at 6 PM

The current and future water supply security for residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and conservation landowner customers in the Sacramento Region (Region) appears to be satisfactory when one reviews the water supply assessments contained in each of the Region’s water purveyors’ Urban Water Management Plans. However, some of these plans do not fully address the implications of climate change on the future availability of water supplies. The recent drought has shown limitations in some of the Region’s water supply systems, and climate scientists predict the frequency and severity of droughts will increase. The State Legislature has moved to ensure the increased frequency and severity of droughts along with other weather changes due to climate change, are planned for in future Urban Water Management Planning cycles. A more comprehensive understanding of the reliability of the Region’s water supplies will be known, once the impact of the Region’s changing climate is fully understood and planned for by all Regional water purveyors.

“Ground Water Recharge: A pathway toward Regional Environmental Improvement and Water Supply Security” Briefing Paper, September 2018

Read more of the briefing paper by clicking here (PDF).

Click here for the full meeting agenda.

Environmentalists Sue To Block Possible Elk Grove Expansion

June 18, 2018

By Ezra Romero

Capital Public Radio

“This is classic leapfrog development where you are building on green fields instead of brown fields,” said Alexandra Reagan with ECOS.

Reagan says the city should develop existing land within its boundaries. She also says there are 14 impacts that are unavoidable with the project moving forward. They include altering where migratory birds forage and depletion of groundwater resources.

“We feel like those should be addressed before any next steps for planning growth,” Reagan adds.

Read the full article here.

Save Our Groundwater!

June 6, 2018

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) filed a comment in March of 2017 on the Sacramento Central Groundwater Authority’s (SCGA) petition to be deemed an acceptable “alternative plan” under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The purpose of our June 6, 2018 letter is to reiterate our opposition to that petition and to urge the Department of Water Resources (DWR) again to find that SCGA is not in compliance with SGMA.

Some highlights:

  • groundwater levels continue to fall in the portions of the basin that most affect the important ecological resources of the lower Cosumnes watershed
  • SCGA continues to make little effort to encourage or facilitate public engagement in its ongoing deliberations
  • SCGA does no targeted outreach, apparently maintains no list of interested parties, and has a web site that is of very limited usefulness
  • SCGA needs to recognize that public engagement is a key component of SGMA compliance
  • SCGA is currently reassessing its rate structure and could adjust its rates to account for costs of both plan preparation and projects/programs to which they have committed and to date ignored

Click here to see the letter in full (PDF).

Stanford researchers find groundwater pumping can increase arsenic levels in irrigation and drinking water

By Josie Garthwaite

June 5, 2018

Stanford News

For decades, intensive groundwater pumping has caused ground beneath California’s San Joaquin Valley to sink, damaging infrastructure. Now research published in the journal Nature Communications suggests that as pumping makes the ground sink, it also unleashes an invisible threat to human health and food production: It allows arsenic to move into groundwater aquifers that supply drinking water for 1 million people and irrigation for crops in some of the nation’s richest farmland.

Click here to read the full article.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Expanding Elk Grove…

Expanding Elk Grove: Narrow vote allows city to start considering southern development of farmland, wildlife habitat

Environmentalists and farmers say commission vote opens door to sprawl

By Michael Mott

February 15, 2018

Sacramento News and Review

A regional body of elected officials and residents narrowly approved opening the door to development that farmers and environmentalists say could threaten wildlife habitats and conservation efforts south of Elk Grove.

On February 7, the Sacramento Local Area Formation Commission, or LAFCO, approved landowners’ bid to expand Elk Grove’s “sphere of influence” by 1,156 acres, which could lead to a formal annexation and development process. The commissioners’ 4-3 approval came with an environmental impact report that warned development could cause “significant and unavoidable impacts” to wildlife, habitats and groundwater.

Read the full article here.