Groundwater well owners deemed essential for groundwater advisory group

California Department of Water Resources Eduardo Pech gives a presentation at the the SCV Groundwater Sustainability Agency meeting. This public workshop was held at the Centre Tuesday afternoon. Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

Private well owners are an essential component of groundwater management, but recruiting them into an advisory committee is becoming a challenge, attendees of a workshop about managing groundwater learned Tuesday.

The Sycamore Room at the Centre on Centre Pointe Parkway was decked out in banquet tables enough to seat 500, but about 100 — mostly water officials — attended.

Workshop coordinators invited stakeholders involved in groundwater management to what promised to be an overview of the groundwater sustainability process.

Eduardo Pech, who gave the first of two presentations, identified himself as the liaison between the Department of Water Resources and the Santa Clarita Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency.

“I hope to go ahead with a good amount of synergy moving forward,” he told the group.

Pech’s presentation was called “Sustainable Groundwater Management Act 101” and explained what state officials expected of local groups across the state that are mandated to manage their own groundwater.

One of the essential components in building such a group was identified as an advisory committee.

“There needs to be an advisory committee established,” he said.

In short, the desired advisory committee, as described in prior GSA meetings, is a committee that includes the input of groundwater well owners.

“Well owners will be a real asset to this process,” Lynne Plambeck, a member of the SCV Water Agency board, told the group.

“The (SCV) agency should be helping them get together and make them realize how important an asset they are,” she said.

“There was a well owner association at one point,” Plambeck said, referring to GSA discussions earlier on. “(Well owners) might want to create a Facebook page.”

One well owner told the group they should elicit the input of major water well pumpers, and not the mom-and-pop well owners, estimating about 20 percent of well owners account for 80 percent of the water used.

“A lot of well owners don’t want to be in the process, but we need to come up with something,” said Steve Cole, who oversees the water resources of the SCV Water Agency. “We have a list (of well owners) which we should share with others in the community. I’d be happy to make a list and encourage them (to get involved).”

Under a state law passed two years ago, which was spurred by drought concerns and conservation, local water agencies statewide 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 Boulevard.

The basin, according to a map provided by Pech, fans out deep underground from a central point just east of where Interstate 5 and Highway 126 meet.

“It’s 100 square miles in size,” Pech said.

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