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Enterprise Anderson Groundwater Sustainability Agency-EAGSA

Clear Creek Community Services District has a contract to receive water
annually from the Central Valley Project (Trinity Lake) and, in addition, owns
three wells in the southern part of the district at Happy Valley and Gas Point
Roads. Over the past drought years the district has relied more and more on
well water to augment our sometime diminished supply from the Bureau of
Reclamation. Because of this use of ground water the district became a member
ofi the Enterprise Anderson Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA). The
agency was formed by Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in May of 2017.
It was formed as a result of the passage in 2014 of the State Groundwater
Management Act (SGMA) which required agencies using wells overlying
groundwater aquifers to form a GSA. The MOU was signed by the five cities and
Special Districts that have wells that use groundwater in the Enterprise
Anderson area, Clear Creek CSD, ACID, City of Anderson, City of Redding and
Bella Vista WD, along with Shasta County who is the overall umbrella governing
body for the County.
Some history of the EAGSA.
For many years the water purveyors in Shasta County would meet, usually
monthly, to discuss mutual problems and to stay in touch with current issues
affecting their districts. It was during these years that the cities and districts
became interested in the groundwater aquifer below Shasta County, its size, the
quality of the water, the boundaries of the aquifer and its pumping constraints.
In 1992 the state passed AB3030, the Groundwater Management Act, which
allowed local water agencies to develop groundwater management plans. The
local Shasta County water agencies embarked on a program to develop a local
plan. First, the aquifer had to be studied to determine its particulars. Through a
grant from the McConnell Foundation, CH2M-Hill did a study of the aquifer but,
the local agencies were not able to conclude with a groundwater management
In 2014, the state passed a three bill legislative package known as the
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). This legislation required
any area in the state that had an underlying high priority or medium priority
aquifer to form a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) and to do a
Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). The Department of Water Resources
considered the aquifers underlying Shasta County to be in the medium priority
which meant that the agencies in Shasta County that had wells and drew water
from the aquifer had to form a GSA and develop a GSP. Since Clear Creek
Community Services District had wells and periodically used them and wanted
to protect its future use of groundwater in its mix of water deliveries to
customers, CCCSD took part in those initial discussions. At that time CCCSD,
along with the other Shasta County agencies, protested to the state Department
of Water Resources that the medium priority designation did not fit our aquifers.
In the end, it became apparent that, if the protest was unsuccessful, the cost of
forming a GSA and completing a GSP would have fallen totally on the cities and
districts in Shasta County, estimated to be at that time over a million dollars.
The agencies in Shasta County ultimately formed a GSA (an arduous political
process) and embarked on the process of doing a GSP. All of this was paid for
through grants from the state. So far the cities and districts in Shasta County
have expended zero money in the process.
Where are we today?
The GSA hired CH2M-Hill (now CH2M-Jacobs Engineering) to do an aquifer
study again, but this time more comprehensive, and to develop a GSP for
managing the aquifers going forward (again, at no costs to the GSA agencies).
The study of the aquifer confirmed what had been discovered years ago, that
the Enterprise-Anderson aquifers contain 6.5 million acre feet of water, are
healthy and are in no overdraft condition. In fact, it is shown that we could more
than double the drafting of our underground water in any year and not affect the
quality or quantity.
The final draft GSP is now finished and has been circulated for public scrutiny.
The finished product will be delivered to the GSA by January 10, 2022 for
approval and will then be submitted to the DWR by January 31, 2022.
What are our options going forward?
Once the plan is approved it will then be implemented. The cost of
implementation will fall on the agencies who are a part of the GSA (including
CCCSD). Chapter 8 of the plan estimates that the cost of implementation will
range between $93,000.00 and $214,000.00 a year. Under this scenario
CCCSD's portion would be between $15,500.00 and $35,000.00 a year to
continue to be a voting member of the EAGSA (total divided equally between the
6 agencies in the GSA). This estimate cost was developed by CH2M-Jacobs
anticipating all necessary work being done by an outside agency. Implementing
costs can be less if much of the implementing jobs are done internally by the
participating agencies.
It should be obvious that CCCSD does not have the budget to afford $15,500.00
to $35,000.00 a year to implement the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP).
The task for the CCCSD board and community going forward will be to minimize
the cost to the district without jeopardizing our ability to extract the groundwater
we will need to provide enough water to our customers.