|On July 27, 2021, the Board adopted Resolution No. 21-98 proclaiming the existence of a local drought emergency. Drought conditions have persisted since that time and the drought emergency continues. On October 19, 2021, Governor Newsom issued a proclamation extending the drought emergency statewide and further urging Californians to step up water conservation efforts as the western U.S. faces a potential third dry year. The Board received its most recent drought update at the October 26, 2021, meeting. The November update is provided below.
Well Status Report
As of November 11, 2021, staff have confirmed 22 dry wells within unincorporated Yolo County, and are aware of a dry well report to the State of California (Department of Water Resources) that staff have been unable to confirm. An updated map depicting the general locations of the confirmed dry wells is provided as Attachment A to this staff report.
In addition, Yolo County Office of Emergency Services (OES) staff have continued to connect County residents to all available state and federal resources for emergency drought/drinking water assistance. OES staff have also completed bottled water deliveries for the month of October. 400 cases of bottled water were delivered to County residents without access to potable water.
Groundwater Conditions Update
As previously reported to the Board, the Drought Task Force consists of staff from the County's Natural Resources and OES divisions, staff from the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District (YCFC&WCD), and several water purveyors. The YCFC&WCD conducted monthly groundwater measurements July through October 2021. The groundwater measurements for October were taken from 108 representative monitoring wells and indicated that, on average, the groundwater has recovered four (4) feet since the September readings. This means that the groundwater level has increased by an average of four (4) feet. Since groundwater levels were showing signs of recovery in the September and October manual measurements, the YCFC&WCD did not feel it was necessary to conduct monthly measurements in November. Data on YCFC&WCD’s real-time monitoring wells is shown in the tables provided in Attachment B to this staff report, which provides historical groundwater elevations for October 17 and November 17. A location map of the 23 real-time monitoring locations currently operating in the Yolo Subbasin is shown in Figures 1 and 2 in Attachment B. YCFC&WCD and the Yolo Subbasin Groundwater Agency (YSGA) are currently working with Cacheville CSD to repurpose and utilize the Yolo Fire Protection District’s groundwater well for real-time monitoring and expect it to be online the week of November 22, 2021 (this will result in 24 real-time monitoring locations).
From October 17 to November 17, 2021, the YCFC&WCD’s real-time wells have realized an average increase of approximately 11 feet in groundwater elevation.
When compared to last year’s elevations (as shown on the historical depth to water table for November 17 in Attachment B), this year’s water levels are on average 11 feet lower. When compared to the most recent drought period (2015 elevations), this year’s groundwater levels are on average four feet higher.
This data is current as of November 17, 2021. Please visit http://yologroundwater.org for additional information.
YCFC&WCD and YSGA staff continue to make themselves available to conduct depth to water measurements and verify dry well reports received by Yolo County OES.
Yolo Subbasin Groundwater Agency Involvement
In response to Board direction at the August 31 and September 28, 2021, Board meetings, the YSGA has formed an Ad Hoc Drought Contingency Planning Committee to advise the YSGA Board of Directors on 1) local planning strategies; 2) appropriate management actions for drought conditions; and 3) coordination with Yolo County staff and County Supervisors for management of groundwater resources during the drought. Additionally, the Committee intends to identify available resources to mitigate drought impacts, implement sustainability projects, and investigate whether restrictive measures are necessary. The first Committee meeting was held on November 3, 2021 and the following action items resulted: 1) develop a map of dry well reports with total well depth information; 2) request Yolo County Department of Environmental Health provide new well permit request to the YSGA and work towards enhancing the well permitting process; develop a preface for the Yolo Subbasin GSP to recognize the existing drought and potential need for the YSGA to consider demand management strategies in future updates to the GSP; 3) develop an outline for the YSGA/Yolo County Groundwater Communications Plan; and 4) investigate partnerships with University of California, Davis watershed sciences faculty. The next Committee meeting is scheduled for December 8, 2021.
Emergency Drought Funding (State/Federal Resources)
Natural Resources division staff and consultant staff have met with all potential applicants for available state and federal emergency drought funding programs and have met with representatives from the relevant state agencies to ensure that projects are eligible for funding. As reported during the October 26, 2021 drought update to the Board, staff initially compiled over two dozen potential drought response projects, totaling nearly $78 million in project costs. Since that time, staff have worked collaboratively with project proponents to gather detailed information on project specifications and anticipated costs.
Staff are currently recommending that 12 funding applications be submitted in the near (90-day) future. These 12 projects total approximately $27 million and include (not an exhaustive list): the replacement of failing wells; additional above ground water storage and associated infrastructure; installation of water meters; and wastewater recycling to reduce groundwater demand.
One such project, the County’s “Dry Well Assistance Program”, has been identified as a priority project for emergency drought funding from the State Department of Water Resources (DWR). The project proposes to deliver water to up to 30 households with failed wells in Yolo County. The proposed project will result in the purchase of up to 30 water tanks and the ongoing delivery of water to up to 30 households for up to one year each. Yolo County Office of Emergency Services and its partners will provide the staff time necessary to implement the program requests funding for tanks and water deliveries from DWR’s Small Community Drought Relief Grant Program. The funding application requests a total of $559,000 from DWR for project implementation, with a local match of $95,628 ($30,000 cash contribution – allocated on August 31, 2021 by Board action, and $65,628 in “in-kind” services, such as staff time). DWR requires a resolution approved by the Board of Supervisor’s authorizing the submittal of this grant application. The resolution is provided as Attachment C.
Staff will continue to assist the remaining project proponents with gathering the additional information necessary to complete funding applications so that they may be considered for funding in the future (90+ to 120 days).
|Staff have, and will continue to, collaborate with the YCFC&WCD, the YSGA, the Water Resources Association of Yolo County, all in-county water purveyors, the general public, and state and federal agencies.