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A Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) is the state-mandated plan to sustainably manage groundwater. Each GSP will contain an assessment of each basin, measurable objectives that are specific, and quantifiable goals for the maintenance or improvement of specified groundwater conditions that lead to achieving the sustainability goal for the basin. A GSP must also include any necessary monitoring, management, enforcement, and other requirements to achieve and maintain sustainability.
The goal of SGMA is to ensure that local or regional agencies have the necessary support and authority to properly manage groundwater resources through the use of information and evaluations to protect communities, farms, and the environment against prolonged dry periods and climate change, and to preserve water supplies for existing and potential beneficial uses. The goal is eliminating all undesirable results within 20 years of GSP approval and continue to sustainably manage the subbasin over the next 50 years and beyond.
Required elements of a GSP are:
A description of the physical setting and characteristics of the aquifer system underlying the basin, including:
Measurable objectives to achieve the sustainability goal in the basin within 20 years of the implementation of the plan, including interim milestones.
A planning and implementation horizon
Information about the following, as applicable:
More detailed requirements are identified in Section 10727 of the California Water Code.
Section 8 of the GSP will address future development and population change in the context of the water budget analysis, using best-available data. Projections of future development in the Subbasin will be incorporated to provide consistency with local land use agency assumptions and projections. Projected water budget results are planned to be available in Summer 2021. For more information, see the Section 8 outline provided as part of the GSP Annotated Outline included in the GSPAC July 9, 2020 meeting packet, at pages 16-17 and more recent updates of the GSP Annotated Outline provided through the online surveys for comments on the Draft GSP Sections.
SGMA and DWR GSP Regulations require that GSPs include a water budget that quantifies inflows to, outflows from, and changes in storage for the relevant groundwater basin or subbasin. For this reason, the water budget presented in the GSP will address the Napa Valley Subbasin. However, the County and technical team recognize the potential for land uses adjacent to the Subbasin to affect the Subbasin water budget and have expanded the Napa Valley Integrated Hydrologic Model (MODFLOW-OWHM) domain to include areas adjacent to the Napa Valley Subbasin including the Milliken-Sarco-Tulucay and Carneros Subareas as well as other areas of developed land use that are contiguous with the Subbasin. These additional areas include areas served by the City of Napa potable water system west of the Subbasin, the Yountville Veterans Home, and agricultural lands contiguous with the Subbasin boundary.
The process is continuous and will be ongoing over at least the next 50 years. In terms of next steps, the GSPAC will make their recommendation on the draft GSP in October. The Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) will adopt the GSP in December 2021. The Napa Valley Subbasin is a high priority subbasin and the GSP must be submitted to DWR by January 31, 2022. DWR has two years to conduct their review. SGMA Annual Reports are due to DWR every April 1; the next Annual Report is due April 1, 2022. The next GSP update will be due in 2027.
The Napa Valley Subbasin GSP and the Napa Valley Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) are separate but complementary planning efforts. Although they are independent efforts, opportunities for integration between the plans are expected to be available.
The Napa Valley DCP is a voluntary planning effort focused on water supply reliability for local water supply agencies. The DCP is being developed as part of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s drought response program which aims to help local water supply agencies better understand and prepare for droughts and mitigate drought impacts. Completion of the DCP provides the opportunity for agencies to competitively compete for future implementation funding for drought resiliency projects described in the DCP. The Napa Valley DCP is currently under development in cooperation with Napa County, Napa Sanitation District, the Cities of Calistoga, St. Helena, Napa, and American Canyon, and the Town of Yountville.
Both planning efforts will propose projects and management actions to achieve their respective goals. While the two efforts are on slightly different timelines, the Draft Napa Valley DCP is expected to be available in Spring 2021, while the Draft GSP will be available in September 2021, there is opportunity for collaborating on potential joint projects that address both groundwater and drought resiliency.
In 2017, the City and County of Napa entered into an agreement to study surface water quality within the municipal watersheds of the reservoirs that provide the City with the majority of its drinking water. The Study will provide detailed and comprehensive data that can be used by both the City and the County to improve reservoir and land use management to better protect the public’s water supply.
The Study calls for collecting water quality samples from 20 locations along streams that flow into Milliken and Hennessey reservoirs. Samples are collected during storm events throughout the winter months and analyzed for nearly 30 different constituents. The voluntary 2017 agreement commits both the City and County to each spend up to $200,000 annually over three years to conduct this Study, for a total cost of $1.2 million.
Samples have been collected over the past three years. The last two years have been very dry and there not have been many storms where measurements could be collected, so there are limited data. However, no significant contamination has been detected to date.
The study does not directly relate to the GSP, as it analyzes water quality in the upper watersheds, outside of the Napa Valley Subbasin. But it does complement the GSP, as it provides valuable information on the water quality of surface flows in the tributaries that flow into the subbasin.