Stakeholders, members of the public and governmental officials have begun fine-tooth-combing through a crucial, 32-page draft groundwater management plan document that must be finalized and approved if the Cambria services district is to receive a $4.3 million state drought-related grant.
The grant is designed to help repay the district for building the Cambria Community Services District’s emergency water-supply project (EWS, also referred to as the alternative water project).
However, county and state officials say the final request for the funds can’t be sent until the groundwater management plan goes through an extensive (albeit compressed) public review process and is completed and formally adopted by the district’s Board of Directors.
The CSD’s draft plan was posted at www.cambriacsd.org on Monday, Oct. 19. A minor posting glitch was quickly cleared up, and the document became accessible and available to all.
That link and a list of upcoming meetings about the plan also were sent via email by district engineer Bob Gresens to various county and state governmental representatives.
A workshop meeting about the draft plan was to have been held Wednesday, Oct. 21. Subsequent meetings, all of which will be held at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St., include:
▪ 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, workshop to further review the draft plan.
▪ 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, special CCSD board meeting to consider adopting the final plan.
▪ 12:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19, regular CCSD Board meeting, the agenda for which is to include adopting the plan by ordinance.
▪ All meetings are open to public comment.
County officials have assured CSD representatives that as soon as those steps have been completed, the grant money paperwork will be sent to the state, and state officials have told the district that the grant funds will then be sent.
The district board also will hold its regular October meeting at 12:30 p.m. today, Thursday, Oct. 22.
The plan, required by state code, describes the district’s groundwater planning for the area’s two groundwater basins (San Simeon and Santa Rosa creeks). However, district engineer Bob Gresens said the plan is not meant to comply with the state’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act legislation; the district is supposed to complete that plan later.
The stated purpose of the draft groundwater management plan is to help the district “work with basin stakeholders in maintaining a sustainable, reliable and high-quality groundwater supply.” Those stakeholders include district customers, members of the agricultural and environmental communities, business groups, and regulatory and resource agencies.
The plan’s first section includes details about the district’s: water background and history; water well-field operation; water and wastewater operating permits; geological studies and modeling of the basins; annual water-budget summary for each basin; baseline water-supply analysis report; long-term water planning and pending supply analyses; water rights agreements; water conservation; integrated regional water management planning and coordination with county land use; and the nonpotable recycled water planning inherent in the EWS.
The plan’s second section is devoted to basin management objectives. The third deals with the district’s plan for coordinating and collaborating with various agencies. The fourth is an update about groundwater recharge and mapping, while the fifth deals with monitoring of groundwater and surface water. The sixth covers wellhead protection, well abandonment and well-construction policies.
The seventh section has seven district recommendations for its water future, which include:
▪ Get a regular coastal development permit for the EWS.
▪ Continue preparing an environmental impact statement in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers.
▪ Form a steering committee to inform the public during future updates of the plan, routinely monitor and report data on the groundwater monitoring wells.
▪ Review water-rights settlement agreement with the ranch neighbor to the north of the district’s San Simeon Creek property (Clyde Warren) and develop ways to modify or meet future commitments in the agreement.
▪ Continue evaluating new water-conservation innovations and cost-effective measures for inclusion in CCSD’s demand-offset program.
Also included: nine recommendations about anticipated costs to meet the basin management objectives.