On September 8, 2021, ECOS and Habitat 2020 submitted a letter regarding the Groundwater Sustainability Plan of the South American Sub-basin (SASb), just south of the American River.
Climate change in the Sacramento region requires innovation to deal with more extremes in precipitation. In wetter years, we should pump water into groundwater basins so that we can pump it out during drier years. Just south of the American River is the South American Sub-basin (SASb) that we agree should be used this way. The SASb Groundwater Sustainability Plan includes a Sustainable Yield value – the amount of groundwater that can be extracted annually from the SASb while maintaining it at a sustainable level. This letter provides comments on how the draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan develops the Sustainable Yield level and proposes management actions that should be taken to ensure the SASb’s Sustainable Yield is maintained in the future.
By Ralph Propper And Tom Gray | July 31, 2021 | Special To The Sacramento Bee
ECOS Board President Ralph Propper co-authored this op-ed, published in the Sacramento Bee on July 31, 2021.
Vigilance is required to reduce water consumption and water waste. Water your lawn less and early in the day to minimize evaporation; don’t let sprinklers run off onto sidewalks; fix household leaks; take shorter showers and wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
You should also, however, be sure to efficiently water your trees. Many trees were lost in the last drought, an unintended casualty from reduced lawn watering. Let’s give them special care this time.
Invest in long-term water efficiency measures, like removing or reducing your lawn by half in favor of water-sipping native plants, or adding high-efficiency appliances, WaterSense-labeled smart sprinkler timers, high-efficiency sprinklers and drip irrigation. Many local water agencies offer rebates and other incentives to help residents pay for these improvements — some have recently even doubled rebate amounts.
Water providers are doing their part to preserve water in our lakes and rivers by sustainably shifting to using more groundwater.
Saving water today could leave some carry-over storage in Folsom Reservoir for next year. We don’t want to drain that bank account in case next winter is dry, too.
ECOS, as a Water Forum signatory, is working in concert with all of the Forum members to address the current drought. Unfortunately higher temperatures and periods of drought are increasing in the Sacramento region and we have to prepare for them. The following press release has some important water saving actions you can take and here is another one that will contribute to our current drought situation and the future impacts of climate change as well:
Begin the transition to a beautiful, low-water landscape in your home, business, or public space by removing half of the turf grass this summer. For every one thousand square feet of lawn removed, 90 gallons of water is conserved each time that lawn would have been watered. Now you are ready to add low-water, local native plants and drip irrigation this coming winter. The California Native Plant Society website has information on how to remove your lawn, lists of local native plants that fit your needs and landscape conditions, and tips on how and when to plant them. If you have trees in the lawn area being removed, don’t forget they will still need to be watered.
Landscaping while very important for all of us is a major source of water use. We want beauty and shade in our outdoor spaces; and insects, birds, and animals depend on the plants we choose to survive. Local native plants not only save water, they significantly contribute to the beauty of our region and are critical and highly desirable habitat for local insects, birds and animals.
Ralph Propper, Board President, ECOS
July 8, 2021
Sacramento, Calif. – The following statement was issued today by Jessica Law, Executive Director of the Water Forum, and Sean Bigley, Board Chair of the Regional Water Authority, in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Proclamation of a Drought State of Emergency, expanding the emergency to nine additional counties, and asking the public to voluntarily conserve 15 percent.
“The Governor’s announcement today underscores the severe drought conditions throughout California and in the Sacramento region.
“Sacramento-area leaders across the region’s major municipalities yesterday issued a news release imploring the public to increase their conservation efforts, and we support the Governor’s call for a voluntary 15 percent reduction.
“We understand that the public has continued to conserve since the last drought, and we applaud those efforts. Now, we are asking residents to do more. Increasing conservation this summer will help the environment of the Lower American River and decrease the potential for water shortages in 2022 if drought conditions persist.
“There are many easy and quick water-saving actions that can be taken today, such as dialing back sprinklers by two minutes (while continuing to water your trees), making sure sprinklers and drip irrigation run in the morning, adding mulch to conserve moisture and fixing household leaks.
“Also, there’s never been a better time to take advantage of the many rebate programs available to help with downsizing or replacing a thirsty lawn with beautiful low-water plants or upgrading to efficient irrigation and fixtures.
“You can find more water-saving tips, information about rebates and landscape watering guidelines at BeWaterSmart.info.”
The Sacramento Water Forum is a diverse group of business and agricultural leaders, citizen groups, environmentalists, water managers and local governments working together to balance two co-equal objectives: to provide a reliable and safe water supply for the Sacramento region’s long-term growth and economic health; and to preserve the fishery, wildlife, recreational, and aesthetic values of the lower American River. Learn more at waterforum.org.
The Regional Water Authority (RWA) is a joint powers authority representing 20 water providers serving 2 million people in the greater Sacramento region. Formed in 2001, its primary mission is to help its members protect and enhance the reliability, availability, affordability and quality of water resources. Learn more at rwah2o.org.
On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, the Environmental Council of Sacramento sent to the Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in the American and Cosumnes Groundwater Subbasins our suggestions for guiding principles for our local Groundwater Sustainability Plans.
Our letter presents suggested Principles we believe should be part of each subbasin’s Plan. These Principles draw upon both state guidance for Groundwater Sustainability Plans and the spirit and intent of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.