CALIFORNIA CITY — The City Council approved a regional plan for managing the area’s groundwater resources, which brings a measure of local control and to qualify for state funds for water-related projects.
The Fremont Basin Integrated Regional Water Plan has been in the works for at least four years, filling in a hole in water plans in the area, as the surrounding groundwater basins already have plans in place.
California City is one of three primary stakeholders in the document, with the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency and the Mojave Public Utility District. These three entities are the major water providers in the region covered by the plan. Both the other two entities have approved the plan and the state has accepted it, Public Works Director Craig Platt said.
Platt referred to approval of the plan as a “housekeeping item” by the state.
“This has been a multi-year task,” he said.
With an approved plan in place, the partners may then qualify for state funds to complete those projects named in the plan.
Without a plan in place, the state may come in an impose one of its own, Platt said.
“The region manages its water or the state will manage it for you,” he said.
Among the objectives are to ensure the water supply and its quality into the future, meet needs for regional land use and address challenges from a changing climate.
The types of projects that may be funded under the plan include efforts such as water banking to increase water storage and improvements for treating and using recycled water. Considered a “living document,” the project listing may be changed as needed, according to the staff report.
“There’s no reason not to be involved in this,” Councilwoman Tami Johnson said, especially if the city may miss out on funds without it.
The Council approved the plan on a 3-2 vote, with Council members Donald Parris and Gene Stump dissenting.
Parris questioned repeatedly how the plan would impact the city’s water rates, but it has nothing to do with how the city sets its water rates, Platt said.
Parris also was under the mistaken impression that it did not cover all of the city. Platt said it encompasses the entire groundwater basin and overlaps a portion of the Antelope Valley Integrated Regional Water Plan.
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