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Can Collaborative Groundwater Management Work?. The Sonoma County Experience Jay Jasperse Sonoma County Water Agency April 9, 2010. Overview. SCWA/USGS Groundwater Assessment Program Sonoma Valley Groundwater Management Program Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Management Activities

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can collaborative groundwater management work
Can Collaborative Groundwater Management Work?

The Sonoma County Experience

Jay Jasperse

Sonoma County Water Agency

April 9, 2010

  • SCWA/USGS Groundwater Assessment Program
  • Sonoma Valley Groundwater Management Program
  • Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Management Activities
  • Lessons Learned

Alexander Valley Study Area Completed 2006

Santa Rosa Valley Study Area Initiated 2005

Sonoma Valley Study Area Completed 2006

Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) Water Transmission System

Petaluma Valley Study Area



Valley Groundwater Study

  • Key Findings 1975-2000:
    • Increased GW pumping from 6,000 to 8,500 AFY
    • Localized decline of GW levels (-)17,300 AF decrease in storage
    • Salinity Issues in southern part of valley
  • Numerical Model – Tool to evaluate data gaps & simulate future conditions
findings stakeholder assessment center collaborative policy
Findings Stakeholder Assessment – Center Collaborative Policy
  • Water Supply - Important to educate residents about water
  • No More Regulations – “Deal Killer” for some
  • Groundwater - Not sustainable & quality is a concern
  • Recycled Water – Generally viewed favorably
  • Land Use - Link land use & water supply
  • Diversifying Supply - Strongly supported
  • Information Gathering – Sensitivity related to

confidentiality of well monitoring information

sonoma valley groundwater management program
Sonoma Valley Groundwater Management Program

Convened Stakeholder Group in June 2006

Agricultural alliances, environmental organizations, water purveyors, and residential groundwater users

Groundwater Management Plan Adopted by Sonoma County Water Agency, City of Sonoma & Valley of the Moon Water District in Late 2007

Non-regulatory and collaborative process with emphasis on local control and management

Currently in Third Year of Implementation


sonoma valley management strategies
Sonoma Valley -Management Strategies

The BAP Identified the Four Management Strategies:

  • Increased Conservation (Urban, Non-Urban, & Agriculture)
  • Recycled Water Use to Offset Groundwater Pumping
  • Stormwater Recharge of Groundwater Basin: Multi-Benefit (Stormwater/Water Supply/Open Space)
  • Conjunctive Use of Winter Russian River Water to Recharge Groundwater Basin
volunteer groundwater level monitoring program
Volunteer Groundwater-Level Monitoring Program
  • Volunteer well monitoring program twice per year (water levels)
  • Water quality monitored in some wells by DWR
  • Coordinated/synchronized monitoring (136 wells)
  • Developed a Sampling & Analysis Plan and Water-Level Monitoring Guide
  • Developed Web-based data management system (WEBH2O)
  • Prioritizing areas where data gaps still exist
stakeholder involvement outreach activities
Stakeholder Involvement & Outreach Activities

BAP and TAC meetings

Maintain project website

Video produced

Panel members brief constituency groups

Press releases/newspaper articles

Water conservation awards

programs and studies
Programs and Studies
  • Planned multi-completion monitoring wells (grant)
  • Recharge area mapping (grant)
  • New Stream Gage - Sonoma Creek
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on groundwater recharge age-dating study
  • Urban & agricultural conservation (NBWA grant)
  • Groundwater banking study (Russian River water)
  • Planned stormwater recharge study (collaboration with Open Space District)
  • Well Owner’s guide
  • “Slow it, spread it, sink it” guidance manual
groundwater management program funding
Groundwater Management Program Funding
  • Local Cooperative Funding Agreement
    • SCWA, City of Sonoma, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, VOMWD, SVCSD and County
  • DWR Memorandum of Understanding
    • Facilitation Services Technical Assistance – Central District Office
conducted by the center for collaborative policy finalized in january 2010
Conducted by the Center for Collaborative Policy Finalized in January 2010

Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Management Situation Assessment

center for collaborative policy stakeholder assessment
Center for Collaborative PolicyStakeholder Assessment

Impartial Mediators Interviewed 55 Stakeholders Representing 37 Organizations


Business & Developers

Conservation & Environmental

Government (State, County & City)

Rural Residential Well Owners



Water Supply & Groundwater Technical People

findings stakeholder assessment
Findings – Stakeholder Assessment

Lack of understanding

Groundwater basin and its capacity

Sustainable yield and cumulative effects of pumping

Groundwater management & planning

Technical information needed

Planning is critical, but some are skeptical

Interest group dynamics: low trust

Need to identify rural residential well owner representation

center for collaborative policy recommendations
Center for Collaborative Policy Recommendations

Step 1: Convene Santa Rosa Plain Steering Committee

Step 2: Initiate a robust public education on USGS technical study and groundwater planning options

Step 3: Re-assess interest in groundwater planning and identify key representatives

Step 4: Contingent on Step 3, develop a phased-approach to groundwater planning

what have we learned
What Have We Learned?
  • Start from a solid scientific basis
  • Invest time and effort in education: science and process
  • Develop a charter – Roles, responsibilities & dispute resolution
  • Manage Expectations – Perfection will not be achieved
  • Consequence of “No Action”
  • “Low hanging fruit”
  • Alignment with State & regional programs/policies
  • Community ownership is key!

Sonoma Valley Water Use - Year 2000

Total Water Use

Groundwater Use