Ahead of a deadline this month, the Zone 7 Water Agency recently submitted a plan for groundwater management to state officials.
Approved at the Dec. 15 Board of Directors meeting, the plan outlines actions for maintaining and improving the 69,557-acre Livermore Valley Groundwater Basin, which provides about 30% of the agency's water supply.
As a water wholesales, Zone 7 provides water for approximately 250,000 Tri-Valley residents through sales to agencies including the cities of Pleasanton and Livermore and Dublin-San Ramon Services District (DSRSD).
In a statement on Friday, Zone 7 groundwater resources manager Ken Minn said the plan was developed "very methodically" and in cooperation with state water officials, "so that we put out a product that meets their criteria.”
Most of Zone 7's water comes from the State Water Project (SWP), but the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced last month that the forecast for drought conditions into 2022 means that Zone 7 "will only receive enough water to meet basic health and safety needs in the upcoming months," according to officials.
The agency said, "It’s still too early to tell if the precipitation experienced in December will be sufficient to allow a greater water allocation from DWR. Drought conditions like those the state is currently experiencing draw the importance of groundwater management into sharp relief."
Though the basin "has been sustainably managed,” Minn said "that doesn’t mean that we are bulletproof."
"We are very vigilant about emerging threats from different sources," Minn said. "Sustainably managing the basin doesn’t mean that we can put it on autopilot. We still have to be vigilant to manage the water quality, to manage the basin to be what it is today.”
In 2014, a law was passed to ensure the long-term viability of the state's groundwater supply. Local water agencies, including Zone 7, were assigned to each of the 515 groundwater basins throughout California and tasked with developing plans to lessen the impact of overdrafting in the next 20 years.
The state has two years to review the plan and identify any shortcomings. Annual progress updates are also required, as are plan updates every five years.
For more information and to view the plan, visit www.zone7water.com.