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    By Sheryl Hamlin

    An Executive Order (EO) signed in April 2019 by Governor Newsom directed State agencies to recommend a suite of priorities and actions to build a climate-resilient water system and ensure healthy waterways. The official website is:

    On September 12, 2019, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (LARWQCB) spent three and a half hours hearing from various agencies and the public about this topic. Note that Ventura county is regulated by this board. The presentations were selected to focus on item 11, Water Resiliency, but there was also an important update on the Oxnard Channel algae problem.

    Board Member Stahl presented a report about the integration of storm water with water systems, one of the strategies of the Water Resilience EO. The report can be downloaded here: HERE

    Commissioner Stahl also mentioned a report issued by students of UCLA under direction of Dr. Gold called “LA Sustainable Water Project” which can be downloaded at: Here


    TJ Moon, Senior Engineer from the LA County Public Works, reported on the “Carson Stormwater and Runoff “project, a joint project with the LA County Sanitation District and Caltrans. All dry weather flows will be addressed and the 85th percentile captured. Carriage Crest Park will contain the underground runoff capture. The total cost is $18 million with $13 million from Caltrans and additional from LA County. This is a multi-agency, collaborative project, said Engineer Moon. Read about that here: HERE

    From Ventura, Ewelina Mutkowska, the Stormwater Manager, reported on the Piru Stormwater Caputure for Groundwater Recharge, a project funded by Proposition 1. This is a joint project between Ventura County Public Works and United Water Conservation District. The goal is the improvement of the Santa Clara River water. The total capture will be 39 acre feet per year when both Phase I and II are complete, pending approval from the landowner for Phase II. The presentation can be downloaded here: Piru

    Ms. Mutkowska is on a panel of experts creating a recommendation for Congress about the needs for stormwater capture which is under the EPA.

    Item 10: Channel Islands Harbor Report

    At about 30 minutes in to the video, there is very detailed report on the pollution formed in the Channel Islands Harbor due to the shutdown of the Mandalay Generating Station. Because NRG has terminated its NPDES permit and shut down the plant, the water flows are gone and algae is growing in the channel due to lack of circulation. The Water Board is involved in a major data collection project with no solution yet. LARWQCB has directed its staff to work with Oxnard to monitor the quality of the water. Commissioner Stahl made an observation about the lack of circulation when he asked why not create another source of circulation? The expert said that adding pumps doing what the old pumps did would improve the circulation, but the question, she said, is who would do this? NRG is not interested. Staff Member Newman interjected that the city and county are looking at circulation alternatives but new permits would be required. Board Chair Munoz asked about smell and toxins. The expert, Dr. Nye, said there were no health issues. Three citizens spoke: Chuck Carter (safety, pollutants, turn canal into irrigated wetlands to filter pollutants), Rocco Del Monte (algae growth, sunlight, inter-field monitoring, exceedances are huge), and Tom McIninney (Seabridge, swamp plan, measurements, propose construction projects).

    Analissa Moe with “Heal the Bay” spoke about her organization’s support of the termination of NRG’s MS4 permit, but that support came with conditions. She encourages more monitoring as suggested by the community. Turning the canal into a wetland is an excellent plan, she said.

    Item 11: Water Resiliency Official Website

    Sean McGuire, the designated representative for the LARWQCB from the State, heads water resilience in the Los Angeles region for the California Resources Control Board. Nancy Vogel represents the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA). These two are collecting citizen input from meetings across the state to execute the Governor’s Executive Order. Natural Resources, CDFA and CalEPA are called out specifically in the Executive Order.

    The team is planning for 2050 when they project the state population to be 50 million. It will also be 5 degrees warmer by 2050 to 2100. Mr. McGuire spoke of 230,000 Af/y from projects, SNMPs (salt and nutrient management plans) collaboratively developed, MS4 water quality objectives, groundwater cleanup MOU, and funding from Propositions 1 and 58. Storms are a resource not to waste.

    Nancy Vogel, California Natural Resources Agency, said the response to the EO has been strong. Coping with climate change and its effect on water will require regional approaches with statewide integration across areas of governments. To date there have been 20 regional meetings to gather suggestions to promote Water Resilience. To send ideas, email: [email protected] which goes directly to Ms. Vogel. Pragmatic solutions wanted for regional resilience.

    Laurel Firestone, another board member was present. The two may be contacted at: [email protected] and [email protected]. Deadline soon.

    Speakers for Item 11

    1. Liz Crosson, director of infrastructure for Mayor Garcetti, Los Angeles, is the chief liaison. She noted that whatever LA does affects the entire state of California. LADWP, Owens Valley restoration, Los Angeles is taking responsibility to restore this valley. Garcetti’s LA Green New Deal, 100% recycled water by 2035, human rights of water, source 72% water locally. Here is an interview with Liz about water: Interview

    2. Raphael Viegas, DWP, water resource manager, is working on the mayor’s goal of 100% recycled water. Measurable goals have been incorporated into the water plan, he said. San Fernando Groundwater Basin Remediation includes 1,000,000 acre feet of storage ready to be filled.

    3. Timeyin Dafeta, P.E., Manager Hyperion Water Treatment plant, said the plant will be converted into an Advanced Treatment plant with proof of concept by 2021 to test all technologies (reverse osmosis, membranes, oxidation): Hyperion

    4. Speaker: Liz Crosson, wrapup.
    Top 3 Priorities of the Water Resilience Portfolio: raw water augmentation regulation, treated drinking water regulations; upgrade contaminated pipes; Hyperion brine discharge. The other plants have been converted. Collaboration is key.

    5. Dan Lafferty, Water Resources Deputy Director Safe Clean Water Program, County of Los Angeles, Public Works “Safe Clean Water Program” Safe Clean Water LA, floodwaters as resource, IRWM (integrated regional water management), Measure W parcel tax approved. Mr. Lafferty plans to use Measure W funds for several of his projects. Read about Measure W here including a property tax calculator: Measure W Chair Munoz expressed concern about the flaws of simultaneous translations, so advocated for presentations in multiple languages like the voter pamphlets.

    6. Rita Kampalath, LA County Chief Sustainabilty Office. The report highlights disparate water supplies across different economic communities Sustainability

    7. Shona Ganguly from the Nature Conservancy spoke of water equity. She said the Nature Company owns 19-21 miles of the Santa Clara River and some of the LA River. They look for “nature based solutions” and are happy with brownfield to greenfield conversions. She also advocates for multi-language presentations.

    8. Diane Gossa, Manager or Water Resources, WRD, spoke of their 420 square mile service area. 50% of their resources come from groundwater and 50% imported. WRD has four replenishment sources. WRD website Groundwater contamination was covered by another speaker. WRD will request modification of Title 22 for blending water. WRD advocates PFAS research be complete before operational regulations established

    9. Deven Upadhyay, COO, Metropolitan Water District, serves six counties, including part of Ventura and Riverside and is the largest water wholesaler in the United States serving 19 million people. There are 5 water treatment plants in their service area. Funding recycling of water for local areas. LA County Sanitation System is the backbone. Building the largest water recycling facility in the country in competition with Hyperion. The state needs regulations for raw water augmentation. Pleased with the framework for Direct Potable Reuse as a start. Direct Potable Reuse The State of California needs better coordination between agencies, he said. Here is the MWD website: MWD Website

    BREAK UNTIL 2:00 pm, about one hour

    10. Arnie Anselm, Ventura, Watershed Protection District MS4 Program, will focus on the need for stormwater capture integration into the groundwater. MS4 Permits should be written to prioritize multi-benefit, large-scale regional projects. Going forward better integration needed between plans. Pumpers are expressing cutbacks due to SGMA.

    11. Henry Graumlich, Calleguas, Manager of Strategic Planning, but today speaking for a larger group of water interests on the Calleguas Creek watershed. Calleguas was part of original watershed initiative in 1996. TMDL’s for chlorides from wastewater were brought in during the late 1990’s. TDML Defintion On a watershed basis, more salts were being brought in than going out, so even with distilled water, impossible to meet the chloride compliance level. Now working on the SNMP (Salt Nutrient Management Plan). Groundbreaking of Camarillo desalter but no SNMP. There is no natural world untouched by human activity at this point in time, so baseline conditions on equilibrium may not be realistic due to current conditions.

    12. Bruce Reiner, Los Angeles Water Keepers. Mr. Reiner explained that his coalition has been active in statewide water planning for a decade. City and County of LA are world leaders. “Bad” projects must be dropped: twin tunnels, desalination, imported water, purple pipes, and dams. California Action plan did not go far enough. The agricultural industry is not doing its fair share. Every project raises costs for ratepayers, so must pick the best.

    13. Sheryl Hamlin, Santa Paula, spoke of the fifteen year history of the Santa Paula wastewater plant as an example of regulatory compliance complacency. Saying a regional solution is needed for a better product. Here is link to the entire report: Hamlin Report

    14. Dr. Edo McGowan referenced the Proposed Framework for Regulating Direct Potable Water Reuse. Direct Potable Reuse That document, he said, references Public Health, but there was little to none of this in today’s meeting in discussions about recycled water. For example, entero virus are 30 nm, which will be caught by a 9 nm membrane, but an ARG (antibiotic resistant gene) is 2 nm, so will pass through into the reusable water, as will others like pharmaceuticals. As temperatures increase with climate change, pathogens in water increase. He said it felt like those who were building the new plants are not in sync with those writing the potable water reuse plan and the water boards. There is a real problem in public health if we don’t pay attention. McGowan Statement

    15. Corey Bell, NRDC lawyer, submitted a 15 page document which includes an amendment to the State Constitution guaranteeing everyone access to healthy water. But a simple solution would be the enforcement of the laws on the books.

    16. Analissa Bell, Heal the Bay, advocates smart water practicese including small and regional projects. Distributed projects help with heat islands. Well-engineered infrastructure is required to treat wastewater and storm water contaminates.

    17. City of Santa Monica started with a vision to reduce carbon by 2023 and water self-sufficiency by 2033. Santa Monica partners with MWD and the Regional Board. Underground storage consists of 30% storm and 30% wastewater for use in potable reuse project.

    The four remaining LARWQCB (Chair Munoz left for a trip to receive an award in Washington, D.C.) commented on the long day. To watch this long, but fascinating meeting, click here: Video

    Commissioner Charles Springer said he would like to understand how markets can play a role in water in the future.

    Commissioner Stahl is supportive of the resiliency plan and looks forward from a plan to an implementation to operation, but it can’t happen quick enough.

    Commissioner Guzman thanked everyone. Trying to undo past “messes” is a challenge. The commented on the new taxes for many projects including water and transportation.

    Commissioner Yee said climate change was a global problem of epic proportions and water is the primary endangered resource. We need to analyze how our water institutions are organized and structured. There are too many fiefdoms managing our precious resources. We need to emphasize water equality as a civil rights issue. He quoted Julian Castro. We need an extraordinary level of commitment.

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