Water officials seek groundwater pumpers to serve on advisory board

Pumping mechanism on E-15 Water Well in Valencia CA, April 25 2018. Eddy Martinez/The Signal.
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If you pump water out of the ground in the Santa Clarita Valley, then local water officials, who are tasked with putting together a plan to manage that groundwater, want to hear from you.

Members of the SCV Groundwater Sustainability Agency met Monday to discuss the best way to develop a plan expected by state water officials by Jan. 31, 2022, called a Groundwater Sustainability Plan.

The five-member board of the recently formed agency agreed Monday to reach out to SCV water “pumpers” in effort to find two advisory representatives – one who represents large water pumpers and one speaks for those who pump smaller amounts of water.

“I would like for those pumpers to tell us how best to represent them,” said B.J. Atkins, a SCV GSA board member.

Others on the board agreed.

“I’m sure we would like to have all the pumpers represented,” board member Gary Martin said.

The two pumper representatives would serve on a five-member advisory committee to the SCV GSA board.  Other advisors would include two citizens and someone who represents a local environmental group.

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.

A year ago, that agency, the SCV GSA, was formed.

The groundwater to be managed lies in 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.

State officials need the agencies to manage each of the state’s 127 underground basins.

Now the challenge each GSA faces lies in assessing each of those respective basins, figuring out how much groundwater exists and how to manage it.

Each GSA is responsible for developing a Groundwater Sustainability Plan by 2022 that will achieve sustainability by 2042.

“Now, we have to shift gears to form a GSA plan,” Rick Viergutz, principal water resources planner for the SCV Water Agency,  told attendees of the public meeting.

The groundwater agency has until the end of next month to notify state officials that a GSP is being pursued.

“Before we file notice, we have to hold a public workshop,” he said.

“It is important to talk about what is happening locally,” Viergutz said. “And, it’s important to collect public input which will help guide us as we move forward with the GSP.”

Viergutz advised the board to consider holding the groundwater workshop at a venue which could accommodate many people.

The SCV GSA meets next on June 4.

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