Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Plan Highlights

Jay Jasperse, Chief Engineer of SCWA talked for 1 1/2 hours on the USGS study Alexander Valley, USGS study Sonoma Valley, Sonoma Valley groundwater management, USGS SR Plain study, SR Plain steering committee work, Other Water Agency groundwater related activities — Stormwater infiltration study, groundwater banking and CASGEM program.
Some highlights:
  • SR basin study is third in conjunction with USGS.  The State is mandating test wells (elevation only/NO water quality) in Sonoma County’s 14 basins (or we don’t get Federal, State help or funds).  (It’s pretty obvious to me why this has been swept under the carpet.) They gave me an example of Cotati/RP well — from 1970 to 1990 the groundwater (gw) dropped approximately 35 feet when RP started buying water from SCWA.  There was a few feet of rebound.  I asked, “Now that RP is putting in new wells, what will happen?”  He stated that the gw levels will continue to drop.  He hopes to have the first draft of SR Basin study completed by September 2011.  They have had many other partners (even SCAPOSD) in each of these studies.  They will recommend to SCWA Board (aka the “Supes”), that they adopt a SR Basin Groundwater Management Plan as in Sonoma Valley even though the agencies (Cities) and FB oppose it.  (I think that took guts.)  (Paul Kelly… others, made it their life’s work that no data was available (my opinion).  This management plan should be on the April or May agenda.  Does SCWC need to be involved???)
  • 140 monitoring wells in Sonoma Valley.  Most data “not” available to the public.  There is definitely an increase in salinity due to gw drawdown.  The d rawdown was about 17,000 af in lost storage.
  • Groundwater pumping is not sustainable and is also a quality issue.
  • Groundwater can be dated.  More recently due to radioactivity caused by our atomic testing.  Much water is thousands of years old.
  • Lex McCorvey asked why was Ag involved in this?  Jay’s answer:  About 70% of water use in Sonoma Valley and SR Basin is by “agriculture”.
  • SCWA is looking into injecting surplus winter waters into the SR Basin.
  • FB Director – What about Eel River diversions?  Jay:  It was reduced about 10 years ago and will probably stay there (I know nothing about this.) Said he wouldn’t elaborate any further.
  • Biological Opinion – Lots of unhappy people here.  That’s all he would say.