DWR Provides Additional Guidance on Requirements to Become Groundwater Monitoring Entities

November 17, 2010

Entities considering whether to volunteer to become Monitoring Entities under the recent groundwater monitoring legislation (SBx7-6) now have additional information to make that decision under draft guidance proposed by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).

The draft guidelines flesh out requirements for monitoring plans, and address many of the comments and questions presented during the workshops held in the summer. For example, the guidelines discuss how DWR will address areas with data gaps, where there is an inadequate density of wells available for monitoring. Data reporting requirements are presented, which define the specific data that DWR would like collected, and allow entities to evaluate how well their existing monitoring programs satisfy SBx7-6, or if it is likely that expanded monitoring will eventually be required. Technical guidelines are also provided that, while not binding on local Monitoring Entities, give guidance on issues such as the density of monitoring wells, timing of water level measurements, the establishment of reference points for wells, and methods for taking water level measurements.

The draft guidelines also recognize that some existing monitoring programs may not provide all of the data called for in the guidelines. Therefore, the guidelines provide flexibility for Monitoring Entities to continue with existing monitoring programs during the early implementation of the program, and DWR will work cooperatively with monitoring entities if they cannot provide all of the data elements identified in the guidelines.

The draft guidance is presented in two documents, “Procedures for Monitoring Entity Reporting” and “Groundwater Elevation Monitoring Guidelines,” which are available at DWR’s CASGEM website. Public comment on those documents is due to the DWR by November 22, 2010, and the documents will be finalized by about December 15, 2010.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the following from our office, or the attorney with whom you normally consult.

Eric Robinson or Stan Powell | 916.321.4500