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Dist. adopts Water Shortage Contingency Plan

News Review Publisher

The Indian Wells District Board met on Monday, June 13. On the agenda was a staff recommendation that the Board adopt Resolution 22-08.

Implementing Level 2 of the 2020 Water Shortage Contingency Plan in compliance with the Executive Order N-7-22 signed by Governor Newsom on March 28, 2022. The State Water Control Resources Board (SWRCB) to consider enacting emergency regulations to address anticipated extended water supply shortage. Regulations were delivered on May 24.

The regulations include requiring urban water suppliers to implement, at a minimum, all demand reduction actions identified in Level 2 (a supply shortage of up to 20%) of their locally adopted Water Shortage Contingency Plan. The order prohibits the irrigation “non- functional turf” with potable water in the commercial, industrial, and industrial sector. The ban on irrigation includes non-residential grass areas that are considered ornamental and are not otherwise used for recreation or other community purposes. This order does not apply to residential customers.

Water suppliers are authorized to fine customers not in compliance.

Included in the resolution is in the event of a level 2 or 3 shortage condition the District will implement the voluntary Dist. adopts Water Shortage Contingency Plan measures to notify customers of water shortages.

Information will also be provided to the District’s customers regarding methods for improving water efficiency. The District will also conduct a media campaign. The resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board.

An important discussion that is incorporated in the Board monthly meetings is the report from Stan Rajtora, the District’s representative on the Groundwater Authority (GA) Board.

Rajtora said, “In terms of management activity and concerns the GA’s Annual Report release process was not discussed at the last GA meeting as had been promised.” He stated, “We, the Water District, are pushing to get the final report to be a Board approval document. I expect it to be on the July agenda.

I made another push for the use of planning tools. We now have a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) update, an annual report and a grant-funded imported water interconnection effort and there should be a plan with a schedule and a budget.”

He also reported that the Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) had advocated the need for additional planning. Rajtora said, “Based upon what happened at that meeting I think the GA plans on avoiding all planning schedule and budgeting for their efforts.” But added, “I will keep pushing.”

The GA passed a resolution to provide additional funding for communication with the community. This motivation was result of PAC suggestions. “I was in favor in most of the PAC ideas,” Rajtora said, “but I voted against the resolution. The funding was reprogrammed from the shallow wells mitigation funds and Replenishment Fee.

Those funds are intended for shallow mitigation and imported water Table A, in particular. I just see an ongoing effort on spending Prop 218 fees on just about anything, so I just drew a line.”

He reported on the Capital Core Group saying, “I think they are doing an excellent job and making some progress toward getting grant money from the Ridgecrest Wastewater Treatment Plant. They are trying to get something like four million dollars. I think we need to use this as a resource for any funds that we want to try to get as I think Capital Core seems very capable.

The GA gave the audit report for Fiscal 2020. The auditor suggested a number of corrective actions for the GA financial process.” The GA General Manager indicated that all the suggestive corrective actions had been done. “I suggested that we initiate the 2021 audit as soon as possible,” said Rajtora.

Rajtora again brought up his concern, “The GA’s inability to measure change (loss) to groundwater in storage, which is directly related to overdraft, remains my primary concern. As a result of not being able to measure the water in storage change, we cannot calculate the current year’s recharge. Knowing the recharge over an extended period of time is what allows us to obtain a reliable estimate of safe yield. The safe yield is what allows us to calculate the overdraft. We are three years behind where we should be.”

He also reported on the request for proposal for the imported water pipeline. It went out on May 23. That has to do with a 7.6 million dollar grant that came from the State Proposals and are due back on June 27.

An extensive report and discussion regarding the status of the Comprehensive Adjudication was given by Jim Worth, legal counsel for the District. This report will be published in the next edition of the News Review.