The Yucaipa Sustainable Groundwater Management Agency, Yucaipa SGMA for short, hosted a meeting with local elected officials at the Yucaipa Performing Arts Center on June 19 to discuss public outreach regarding the plan for managing the local groundwater basin. The SGMA consists of the city of Redlands, the city of Yucaipa, San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency, South Mesa Water Company, South Mountain Water Company, Western Heights Water Company, and Yucaipa Valley Water District.

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014, includes a framework and schedule to achieve sustainable groundwater management within the next 20 years.

Zoe Carlson, a representative from the environmental consulting firm Dudek, gave the presentation for the public outreach and engagement plan, which is intended to bring awareness to general public to the current groundwater management plan as well as to provide potential updates.

“It’s an opportunity to bring everyone on the same page about the importance and uses of water, as a transparent process,” said Carlson. She noted that Yucaipa SGMA has a website, yucaipasgma.org, where documents describing water management plans are available to read, as well as a SGMA meeting calendar and meeting minutes. She mentioned that news, comment sections, links for subscribing to updates, and other features are currently in the works as well. Changes are to be expected, since the groundwater management plan is, as Carlson described, “not set in stone.”

The plan has four phases. Phase 1, the formation of the Groundwater Sustainability Agency, was completed in 2017. Currently the plan is in Phase 2, preparation and submission of the groundwater sustainability plan. Phases 3 and 4 in the future involve review, evaluation, and receiving feedback before implementation and review. During Phase 3, the groundwater sustainability plan will be available on the Department of Water Resources website for 60 days. During that time, any person may provide comments to the DWR before the evaluation of the plan is complete.

“Come to the meetings,” Mark Iverson, general manager of Western Heights Water Company, urged residents. SGMA board meetings typically take place once per month on Wednesdays at Yucaipa City Hall, 34272 Yucaipa Blvd., at 10 a.m., and SGMA workshops take place at 10:30 a.m. at the same location.

Visit yucaipasgma.org for a calendar of events.

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