Thursday, June 17, 2021

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Groundwater management plan well underway

The public review and comment process on the first four draft chapters of the Colusa County Groundwater Sustainability Plan closed on Wednesday.

The Colusa Groundwater Authority said the complete plan will be released in the fall and is due to the California Department of Water Resources by Jan. 31, 2022.

“We are on track to get that plan submitted on time,” said Mary Fahey, Colusa County Water Resources Manager, in a report to the Board of Supervisors on April 26. “Once we get that plan submitted, the DWR has two years to review the plan and decide if it is adequate.”

Fahey said the CGA and the Glenn Groundwater Authority are working together to develop a single Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the Colusa Subbasin, which is the fourth largest water basin in California.

The plan is a tool that will be used to implement the historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, signed into law in 2014 by Gov. Jerry Brown, in response to climate change and ongoing drought that could leave California thirsty unless efforts are undertaken to halt overdraft and bring groundwater basins into balanced levels of pumping and recharge.

The Act authorized the establishment of the regulatory agencies tasked with monitoring and managing groundwater to ensure sustainable levels long into the future, Fahey said.

While the plan is under review by the state, the CGA will be required to implement whatever sustainability measures they have laid out in the plan.

The first four chapters of the draft includes an introduction, which describes the purpose of the plan and stated goal of the agency, which is to maintain stable groundwater resources for all beneficial users through a cooperative and partnered approach that preserves and enhances the economic vitality of the community, among other things.

Chapter 2 pertains to the plan area and monitoring programs that are currently underway in the basin.

Fahey said Chapter 3 gets into the more technical description of current as well as historical groundwater conditions in the Colusa Subbasin, as well as provides the groundwater model for a water budget.

Under the plan, the CGA and (Glenn County Groundwater Authority) will be required to monitor and manage not only groundwater levels, but groundwater storage, groundwater quality, land subsidence, groundwater dependent ecosystems, and interconnected surface water (Sacramento River, Stony Creek, and Colusa Basin Drain).

Chapter 4 pertains to developing monitoring networks.

The Groundwater Sustainability Plan chapters can be viewed on the Colusa Groundwater Authority’s website at colusagroundwater.org. §

 

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