Shrinking groundwater allocations will raise our costs and impair the economics of a new well.

The “sustainable yield” of our aquifer is only 70% of current pumping rates.  When Crestview’s pumping allocations are reduced, we will have to pay higher rates to import more water, and a new well might be uneconomic with less water to be pumped.

Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency has adopted a Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the Las Posas Valley, which was approved in January 2022 by the Department of Water Resources.  It sets the “sustainable yield” of our West Las Posas Management Area (“WLPMA”) at 12,500 acre-feet per year (“AFY”) and adopts ill-defined plans for closing the 5,453 AFY gap between that and 17,953 AFY being pumped in 2022.  Crestview’s allocation could go from 717 AFY in 2022 to only 500 AFY.

Management Action #1 (page 5-13) is a vague and politically difficult plan to reduce pumping from the aquifer.  This could reduce Crestview’s allocation by up to 30%, but changes may be gradual and have a different end point.

Because of the existing uncertainty associated with future conditions in the LPVB, a plan for exact reductions and groundwater elevation triggers for those reductions has not been developed as part of this GSP. Instead, FCGMA will work to develop and refine this plan over next 20 years as the level of uncertainty is reduced. FCGMA recognizes that a specific long-term plan that incorporates stakeholder feedback and the need for flexibility in groundwater management will have to be adopted by 2040 to provide users of groundwater in the LPVB with the tools necessary to plan for sustainable groundwater production into the future.

The DWR approval document (page 42) says an important “corrective action” is for FCGMA to show in its 2024 reassessment that there is a well-defined plan likely to achieve sustainability by 2040.  That is different from having a plan by 2040 for achieving sustainability later, which is what FCGMA seems to be targeting.  What are responsible officials like Supervisors Carmen Ramirez and Kelly Long, Councilman Tony Trembley, and Executive Director Jeff Pratt prognosticating about pumping cutbacks?  What do Crestview directors think about this?

Project #1 (page 5-2) would reduce pumping from WLPMA by 1,762 AFY by substituting imported water from Calleguas.

The funding source for this project is anticipated to be replenishment fees collected by FCGMA. A pumper would buy water from CMWD and FCGMA would reimburse the pumper for the net cost to purchase imported water. The cost of this project would depend on the amount of water purchased from CMWD. It is anticipated that water would be purchased at the Tier 1 rate, which is currently [as of 2019] $1,423 per acre-foot of water.

Crestview could participate in this partially-defined and unfunded project by having FCGMA reimburse Crestview for purchased water to the extent it reduces pumping.  This could be valuable if Crestview lacks pumping capacity in critical months–and if Calleguas has enough water.

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