Comments Requested on Draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan, Chapters 1 & 2

[CONTRA COSTA, CA] – The East Contra Costa Groundwater Sustainability Working Group is seeking input on Chapters 1 and 2 of a Draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan (Plan). Comments are due June 1, 2020.  The Plan is required under the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Additional chapters will be released on a quarterly basis throughout 2020. More information and a form for comments are available at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ECC_GSP_Chpts1_2.

In announcing the release of the draft chapters, Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) General Manager Rick Gilmore explained, “We are happy to be one of the agencies participating in this process. Developing a sustainability plan is an important step in meeting the requirements of SGMA to halt overdraft and support a healthy groundwater basin. We are confident we will be able to achieve the state’s goals well before the 2042 deadline.”

Chapter 1 of the plan provides background information including the purpose of the plan and the sustainability goal. Chapter 1 also includes more about the East Contra Costa agencies that will manage the plan implementation.  Chapter 2 outlines the planning area and the data that is being used to prepare the plan.  It also considers water and land use related topics including current and historic uses and the General Plans guiding land use. Another element is a description of economically disadvantaged areas with in the subbasin. The last section of the chapter describes county wells, permitting and well protection.

The table of contents for the full draft plan is located HERE. Prior to offering comments, reviewers are encouraged to read through the table of contents and learn more about the topics that will be considered in the remaining chapters.  A copy of Chapters 1 & 2 is HERE.

For additional SGMA inquiries, to provide more detailed comments, or to be included on the email list, please contact groundwaterinfo@dcd.cccounty.us.

For a PDF version of this news release, please see below.

SGMA_For Immediate Release 5.7.2020

BBID, Partnering Agencies Act to Keep Groundwater Management Local

Sacramento, CA (December 3, 2018) – In a significant step toward maintaining local control over sustainable groundwater management in East Contra Costa County, the State tentatively approved a boundary modification request of the Tracy Subbasin. The request was made on behalf of eight local water providers, including the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID). Late last week, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) issued a draft decision to approve it.

“Groundwater management will help shape the future of our region,” said BBID GM Rick Gilmore. “These decisions are best made by those on the local level, on behalf of water users in East Contra Costa County.”

In 2014, Governor Brown signed into law the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). It requires local agencies to cooperatively form long-term plans for groundwater management. However, the way the law was initially written could potentially allow water users in Tracy and San Joaquin County to have undue influence over how groundwater is managed in East Contra Costa County. Local agencies, including BBID, sought to have the Tracy Subbasin subdivided along the Contra Costa and San Joaquin County line.

The City of Brentwood filed the boundary modification request on behalf of the City of Antioch, BBID, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa Water District, Diablo Water District, Discovery Bay Community Services District, and East Contra Costa Irrigation District. The coalition of agencies also distributed a letter to water users, soliciting input and explaining the reasoning behind the request.

Once the state’s draft approval decision becomes final, BBID’s service area will overlap two subbasins: the new East Contra Costa County Subbasin, and the remaining Tracy Subbasin. There, BBID is partnering with the West Side Irrigation District, Banta Carbona Irrigation District, the City of Tracy, and the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority to develop a plan for sustainable groundwater management.

BBID continues to work to meet upcoming SGMA requirements, including the development of a groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) in basins and subbasins classified by the state as medium or high priority. GSPs must be completed by January of 2022. The District previously acted to become a groundwater sustainability agency (GSA) following a public hearing in March 2017, ensuring the District will play an active role in groundwater management in its service area the surrounding region. Click here to learn more about SGMA.

Byron-Bethany Irrigation District Acts to Protect Local Groundwater

Byron, CA (March 21, 2017) – At its regular board meeting Tuesday morning, the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) took action to secure the sustainability of local groundwater resources. Following a public hearing, BBID’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to become a groundwater sustainability agency (GSA) for a portion of the Tracy Subbasin, which underlies the District’s service area in portions of Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Alameda Counties. As a GSA, the District will work cooperatively with surrounding agencies, cities and counties to manage groundwater in a responsible, sustainable manner.

The formulation of GSAs is required under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). SGMA, which became state law in 2014, directs local agencies to work together to develop local groundwater sustainability plans in basins and sub-basins classified by the state as medium or high priority. The Tracy Subbasin has been classified as medium priority by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). Under SGMA, if agencies are unwilling or unable to act, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) can intervene and set guidelines for local groundwater management.

“This initial step begins what will be a lengthy, but important process to sustainably manage local groundwater,” said BBID GM Rick Gilmore. “Though groundwater is not a main source of supply for our growers, we’re acting proactively to ensure these management decisions are made at the local level by those who know the conditions best.”

As part of the resolution approved by the BBID Board, the District intends to develop groundwater sustainability plans for portions of the Tracy Subbasin within District boundaries in Contra Costa and San Joaquin Counties, and both within and outside BBID’s boundaries in Alameda County. The Board voted to enter a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work with multiple agencies within Contra Costa County. In San Joaquin County, the District expects to collaborate with the City of Tracy to resolve overlaps in proposed GSA service areas. In Alameda County, the District plans to pursue an agreement with Zone 7 Water Agency, in which Zone 7 would formally delegate to BBID its authority to manage groundwater within Zone 7’s service area.

Under SGMA regulations, GSA formation is required no later than June 30th, 2017. Groundwater sustainability plans for the Tracy Subbasin must be completed by January of 2022.