Landowners with private water wells have until Feb. 26 to apply to be a case study for a new groundwater management pilot program.
The Colusa Groundwater Authority and the Glenn Groundwater Authority are hoping to engage agriculture growers and landowners to participate in the Pilot Well Monitoring Program, a voluntary, non-regulatory program to gather information about groundwater use in the Colusa Subbasin.
“The purpose of the program is to collect groundwater extraction volumes within the Subbasin,” CGA officials said at an online public workshop in January.
The program is being funded by the Department of Water Resources with a state grant,” said Byron Clark, of Davids Engineering, the CGA’s and GGA’s consultant for the project.
The two groundwater authorities received $66,000 for for the initial program from the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 and the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access For All Act of 2018 (Proposition 68).
Clark said the objective of the program is twofold, in that it helps test the equipment used to collect information about groundwater levels, and encourages stakeholder engagement as the two groundwater regulatory agencies’ development of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan.
The Groundwater Sustainability Plan, which is currently under development, is required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the landmark Califorhnia legislation that was enacted to halt overdraft and bring groundwater basins into balanced levels of pumping and recharge.
The well monitoring program will provide the flowmeter, pressure transducer to monitor groundwater levels, solar panel, and cellular modem, along with web and mobile access for three years to provide participants near-real-time access to information on production and groundwater levels at their wells as a way to support their irrigation management.
“It’s an opportunity to learn about irrigation management technologies,” Clark said.
Interested growers and landowners will work with the CGA and GGA to continuously monitor groundwater use and water levels for three years at participating wells starting prior to the 2021 growing season.
“This is 100 percent voluntary on the landowners side, but it’s really a win-win for landowners and for the GSA’s,” said Mary Fahey, CGA executive director. “One of the goals is to get landowners engaged and involved in the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act process and the GSP developments and implementation process. It is really important to get landowners involved and engaged, because this plan is really going to affect everybody that pumps groundwater, which is a huge portion of our subbasin.”
Interested participants can obtain an application online from the Colusa Groundwater Authority or Glenn Groundwater Authority.
Participants will be selected, agreements will be executed, wells inspected, and equipment installed by the end of March. The wells will be monitored from April 2021 to October 2023, officials said. ♣