Water Watch

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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