Public invited to help form groundwater agency for the SCV

The Castaic Lake spillway. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Santa Clarita Valley has less than three months to form a local group mandated by the state to manage SCV groundwater and, to that end, a public meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday.

The public is invited to take part in a “stakeholder forum” Wednesday and give local water officials input as to how SCV’s Groundwater Sustainability Agency should be formed.

The meeting is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Castaic Lake Water Agency’s Rio Vista Water Treatment plant on Bouquet Canyon Road, overlooking Central Park.

It is the second Groundwater Sustainability Agency stakeholder forum held since the state implemented the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act two years ago.

Although the public was invited to attend a “working group’ session of the proposed agency last month, it was a session which merely allowed the public to observe group members discussing who should be on the agency.

Not this time.

On Wednesday, participants from the public are being invited to provide “input” and not merely observe.

In the process, forum participants will have a chance to learn about groundwater in the Santa Clara River Valley East Subbasin and about the Act itself, said Dirk Marks, water resource manager for the Castaic Lake Water Agency.

“We are continuing our public outreach efforts,” he told The Signal Monday. “We are going to be reporting to the second (public meeting) group about our progress.

“We’re going to review the state’s GSA formation rules,” he said. “And then report what the formation group is going to be recommending.

“We’ll be talking about the next steps,” Marks said, referring to the next steps in forming the new groundwater agency.

“And, we’ll be talking about the process for various entities in adopting the Memorandum of Understanding,” he said.

Under the 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 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.

The state requires groundwater sustainability agencies be formed to manage each of its 127 underground basins by June 30. The agency, after it’s approved, will be responsible for developing a Groundwater Sustainability Plan by 2022 that will achieve sustainability by 2042.

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