SCV Groundwater managers sought

Signal File photo. Castaic Lake in January 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

If you love the Santa Clarita Valley and you want to make sure its groundwater is protected, then Monday is the day you get to be part of a grassroots organization being forming to do precisely that.

On Monday, March 20, a public meeting is scheduled to get busy forming a groundwater management group that would satisfy state water officials who expect to see such a group formed by June.

The meeting takes place 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Castaic Lake Water Agency’s Rio Vista Water Treatment plant on Bouquet Canyon Road overlooking Central Park.

The newly-formed group is called a Groundwater Sustainability Agency and state officials want to see such a group formed for each of the state’s 127 water basins.

Locally, the groundwater in question involves the Santa Clara River Valley East Sub-Basin which stretches west from Agua Dulce to the Ventura County line and from the northern reaches of Castaic Lake to Calgrove.

Under a state law passed two years ago, a law spurred by drought concerns and conservation, California communities – through their water agencies – are expected to come up with a community-based groundwater sustainability agency.

“The public is invited to the March 20th meeting and their participation is important to the success to the overall process,” Dirk Marks, water resources manager for the Castaic Lake Water Agency, told The Signal Wednesday.

“Among the topics that will be discussed include reviewing progress being made on formation of the future Groundwater Sustainability Agency as well as the makeup of advisory committee or committees,” Marks said.

“And how those committee(s) would relate to the future Groundwater Sustainability Agency,” he said.

The new agency – according to state expectations – would find ways of increasing the amount of groundwater stored and ways of preventing any deterioration of water quality

Fortunately for the SCV, Cole said, local water officials have devoted much of their attention to managing its groundwater.

“The Santa Clarita Valley has an extensive history of proactively monitoring and managing the local groundwater basins,” Steve Cole, general manager of the Newhall County Water Division, told The Signal Wednesday.

Cole took a lead role in forming the groundwater agency when he joined more than 200 people on Jan. 24 at the first public meeting held to create it.

He and the others, looking for better ways to manage the water underneath Santa Clarita Valley,  took their first collective step that night when they met to form the groundwater sustainability agency.

Cole said he plans to be at Monday’s next group-forming meeting.

“Achieving long term sustainability has always been the focus and that aligns directly with the new requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act,” he told The Signal Wednesday.

The Act requires local agencies to formalize the management of the groundwater basins through the establishment of a Groundwater Sustainability Agency.

“We are really fortunate to have a major leg up on many areas of the State,” Cole said. “As we already have an active groundwater management program that has assured the long term sustainability of the resource.”


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