SDCWA approves grant application for Anza Baseline groundwater basin study

The November 2014 election included the passage of Proposition 1, whose allocations included $510 million to the state Department of Water Resources to support projects included in Integrated Regional Water Management programs approved by DWR. Proposition 1 also stipulated 12 IRWM funding areas which are based on hydrologic areas rather than county boundaries.

The San Diego County Water Authority coordinates grant applications for the San Diego Funding Area which includes the Upper Santa Margarita Planning Region and the South Orange County Planning Region as well as the San Diego Planning Region. On Oct. 27, the SDCWA board authorized the submittal of a Disadvantaged Community Engagement Planning Grant application which includes a request for $534,000 for a proposed Anza Baseline groundwater basin study.

The San Diego Funding Area is expected to receive $48.8 million in grants from Proposition 1. Each funding area must spend at least 10 percent of its total Proposition 1 allocation on projects designed to benefit disadvantaged communities. The Disadvantaged Community Engagement Planning Grant process calls for each funding area to submit a single funding application which includes all of the projects proposed by the regions within the funding area. That criteria warranted the inclusion of projects in areas not within the SDCWA boundaries.

DWR staff members met with staff from the planning regions to discuss the application plans before the submittals, and meetings to review the applications will take place after the submittals. That DWR involvement is intended to improve the understanding of the regional planners on the water-related needs of disadvantaged communities and to identify and develop solutions to obstacles which hamper the involvement of disadvantaged communities in water planning.

In November 2002 the state’s voters approved Proposition 50, which authorized the spending of $3.4 billion for projects involving fresh water and coastal resources including $500 million for IRWM planning and implementation grants. Following the passage of Proposition 50 the SDCWA, the City of San Diego, and the County of San Diego formed a regional water management group (RWMG) to lead the IRWM effort in the San Diego region. The SDCWA was designated as the lead agency for the RWMG, which also organized a Regional Advisory Committee with 28 voting members and six non-voting members from water management, business, academia and other sectors.

The RWMG and the Regional Advisory Committee organized a workgroup of six technical experts to review potential Proposition 1 grant projects submitted by local sponsors and to develop the package of projects to be included in the grant application. The workgroup also met with their Upper Santa Margarita River and South Orange County colleagues before recommending a project list in August 2016.

The grant request for the Anza Baseline groundwater basin study was sponsored by the Ramona Band of Cahuilla Indians.

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