The Water Board Measurement Fair
was today, from 10 – 4 at the EPA building in Sacramento!
The Board had lots of new information. The morning sessions revealed:
- Watermaster Service Areas are exempt from most of this, if the Watermaster reports monthly diversions, once a year, to the Water Board or a Superior Court.
- The Water Board staff “have a range of options in working to resolve
disagreements” about whether diversions comply with new regulations, according to Kathy Mrowka and attorney Nathan…did not catch his last name. That means a diverter can reason with Board staff.
- The draft Alternative Compliance form is out! Not online yet, so here is a black-and-white PDF for your use now: SWRCB_DRAFT_Alternative_Compliance_bw.pdf. I think I heard correctly that Alternative Compliance Plans are good for 5 years, and then they must be revisited.
- All diversions over 10 AF, up to 10,000 AF, report annually to the Water Board, with exceptions below. Monthly flow volumes are reported; data collected weekly, daily, or hourly, are to be kept by the diverter but not reported unless the Board requests it.
- Telemetry will be required starting in 2020, for 1) diversions over 10,000 AF, 2) diversions of 30 cfs between June 1 and September 30, or 3) diversions of over 20 % of flows Board-identified streams with species of concern. Telemetered diversions must be reported weekly online – since this doesn’t start for 3-1/4 years, the Board will announce later how it is to be reported.
- There were lots of vendors with hundreds of possible solutions to measure flows. Costs are coming down and manufacturers are getting more innovative. They still cost money though – the rule is, the more spent on devices, the better they will work for years, with less hassle. Less up-front cost means more maintenance, more upkeep. No surprise there, that’s how it is for trucks, houses, tractors, and computers.
In the afternoon, Delta Watermaster Michael Patrick George gave a great presentation on the progress of Delta regulations. Some of the main points are:
- There are 2,800 diversions, and measurement and reporting compliance is proceeding nicely.
- Delta diverters are recognizing that measuring device compliance, although it can be costly, is the easiest thing to do.
- Alternative compliance rules are in place and working! Mr. George’s slide show is not online yet, but soon will be.
- Mr. George points out that there is one set of rules and laws for the State, although application may be a little different for a flat Delta with tidal flows. What I believe will happen is that Alternative Compliance for the State will be the same as already exists for the Delta. This means: 1) the Water Board will not approve or deny, but may comment on Alternative Compliance plans. 2) As long as someone is working to comply the Water Board will work with the diverter. The first response from the Board will NOT be a Cease and Desist Order if a diverter is communicating. 3) Plans will be posted online, and so anyone may comment or point out their real or alleged deficiencies. The effect is that if a diverter says it is too expensive to comply normally and has an ineffective plan, the diverter’s neighbors and state and federal resource agencies will likely complain to the Board that the plan is deficient.
- Lauren Barva, firstname.lastname@example.org, is the main Water Board staff contact for Delta diverters. If she does not know the answer, she will make sure a Delta diverter gets an answer from the right person.
- Paul Wells, email@example.com, is the main Water Board staff contact for NON-Delta diverters. If he does not know the answer, he will make sure a NON-Delta diverter gets an answer from the right person.
Kathy Mrowka and Nathan came back and did a great job of explaining how stockponds and other ponds can comply, including the use of staff gages and stage-storage curves. There will be more information online shortly.
Kathy also discussed the Report Management System (RMS). She said:
- All reporting is now online, and the form is standard. That means regardless of whether you are reporting on your new measurement device, or your monthly diversions, or your stockpond use, the form will be the same.
- If you have corrections, they can be made any time after the submittal deadline.
- If you are filling out a form, you can save your entries, leave, and come back and still edit your form up until the time the ‘SUBMIT” button is pressed.
- The Board is updating their FAQ right now, and they will soon update their “How to Work with the Board” document.
Here is the draft form to request additional time (up to 24 months) to comply: SWRCB_DRAFT_Request_Addl_Time_bw.pdf
By the way, there is a parking lot right across
the street from the EPA building, at 10th and I streets. It was full so I parked out at the City of Sacramento Parking structure at 14th and H; I needed the 4-block-walk for exercise anyway.
That’s enough for now! I will be out of town for a couple of days, and I will write more then. A good night to all!