6 Resolution Approving a Memorandum of Understanding Setting Forth Certain Items of Agreement Among Agencies Within the Merced Subbasin Following the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Execute the Agreement.

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Meeting Date; May 17, 2016

STAFF REPORT

AGENDA ITEM: Resolution Approving a Memorandum of Understanding Setting Forth Certain Items of Agreement Among Agencies Within the Merced Subbasin Following the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Execute the Agreement.

MEETING DATE: May 17, 2016

PREPARED BY: Odi Ortiz, Interim City Manager and Engineering Staff

REVIEWED BY: Odi Ortiz, Interim City Manager

RECOMMENDATION:

Council adopt Resolution No. 2016- , approving a Memorandum of Understanding setting forth certain items of agreement among agencies within the Merced Subbasin following the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and authorizing the Interim City Manager to execute the agreement.

BACKGROUND:

Merced Irrigation District (MID) and Merced County hired a consultant, Keams and West, Inc. through a DWR grant to perform an initial assessment of options for a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) formation covering the Merced Subbasin areas. Many agencies including cities, county, districts, the Farm Bureau leadership, and others within the Merced Subbasin were interviewed by Keams and West.

The study revealed the following;

• Agencies have general awareness of drought impacts and declining groundwater levels

• General awareness on water quality issues

• Uneven understanding of groundwater use rights

• There are over 15,000 wells in the Merced Subbasin area

• Agencies would like fair and equitable decisions …all agencies want a voice, but lack expertise and resources

• Concerns about "control" of the entire Merced Groundwater Subbasin by any single existing entity.

How can a GSA be formed? Any local agency or combination of local agencies overlying a high or medium-priority groundwater basin may form a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) for the basin. These include public agencies that have water supply, water management, or land use responsibilities within a groundwater basin.

Deadline to form a GSA(s): June 30, 2017

Possible GSA formation models to consider:

A) Single (Centralized; covers entire basin) GSA- County or MID may become the sole GSA and all agencies could be included ….share costs, possible JPA, no . obvious decision-making rule, assumes all authorities and responsibilities

B) Distributed (Multiple) GSAs- At least two (2) GSAs, but less than 5 could be feasible ….possible coordination agreement/MOU. Each GSA assumes all responsibilities for its service area

C) Hybrid (Combination) – A central GSA and other GSAs setup (this provides great flexibility to delegate responsibilities). Possible delegation of functions to participating agencies (GSAs): Coordination, implementation, reporting, enforcement, outreach and education, data collect, water budget, etc. Additional findings identified by Study:

1) MID and City of Merced prepared a draft Groundwater Management Plan (GWMP) to comply with AB 3030 in 1997.

2) 2008 update supersedes 1997 plan and responds to SB 1938 and includes Basin Management Goals and Objectives (MBO) which asserts local control over groundwater resources, calls for a JPA to facilitate regional planning and management of water resources within the Merced Groundwater Basin. MAGPI established in 1997 under an MOU and adopts 1997 GWMP.

3) One local agency has filed a notice with DWR as of December 2015 to form a GSA and others have intentions to file.

4) No single GSA model or possible configuration appears to meet all key interests and the IRWM structure is not likely to be supported or effective as the single GSA.

5) MAGPI is viewed as important for GSP development, but is not obvious as the single GSA.

DISCUSSION:

Council to consider approving the "cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)" as proposed by the County and MID (See attached MOU marked as Exhibit A). Document is similar to Turlock Groundwater Basin Association MOU. MOU will be finalized and approved by participating agency board members in the near future. The MOU section 2.5 calls for the formation of GSAs by June 30, 2017.

FISCAL IMPACT:

None at this time

ATTACHMENTS:

1. Resolution No. 2016-_, approving a Memorandum of Understanding setting forth certain items of agreement among agencies within the Merced Subbasin following the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and authorizing the Interim City Manager to execute the agreement.

2. Exhibit A- Cooperation MOU

RESOLUTION NO. 2016-

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON APPROVING A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING SETTING FORTH CERTAIN ITEMS OF AGREEMENT AMONG AGENCIES WITHIN THE MERCED SUBBASIN FOLLOWING THE SUSTAINABLE GROUNDWATER

MANAGEMENT ACT AND AUTHORIZING THE INTERIM CITY MANAGER TO EXECUTE THE AGREEMENT

WHEREAS, the City of Livingston ("City") shares common groundwater resources with various public entities located above the Merced Groundwater Subbasin ("Merced Subbasin"); and

WHEREAS, on September 16, 2014, the State of California enacted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 ("SGMA"). The SGMA established new requirements and mechanisms for managing groundwater resources within each subbasin; and

WHEREAS, SGMA authorizes local agencies to develop groundwater sustainability plans ("GSPs") tailored to their regional economic and environmental needs, and to form groundwater sustainability agencies ("GSAs") to manage groundwater resources; and

WHEREAS, the SGMA requires that local agencies within the Subbasin meet certain deadlines, including forming a GSA by June 30, 2017, in order to avoid intervention by the State Water Resources Control Board ("SWRCB"); and

WHEREAS, the City and other local agencies within the Merced Subbasin seek to work cooperatively to achieve sustainable groundwater management and comply with the SGMA; and

WHEREAS, the local agencies wish to enter into a voluntary agreement outlining their commitment to do so and their respective responsibilities; and

WHEREAS, the Memorandum of Understanding Setting Forth Certain Items of Agreement Among Agencies Within the Merced Subbasin Following the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act ("Post-SGMA MOU"), attached hereto as Exhibit A, provides, among other things, that the local agencies:

(1) will work individually and collectively to form one or more GSA(s) prior to June 30, 2017;

(2) will work individually and collectively to develop a single GSP or coordinated GSPs for the Merced Subbasin;

(3) agree that the Merced Area Groundwater Pool Interests (MAGPI) will be a forum of discussion regarding groundwater governance; and

(4) will work in good faith to meet the objectives of the Post-SGMA MOU; and

WHEREAS, the Post-SGMA MOU will not create any financial obligations or commitments for the City or any of the local agencies party to the agreement, nor does it replace the existing MAGPI Memorandum of Understanding, nor does it create a joint powers authority, and will not affect the local agencies’ respective water rights or authority to manage their water supplies.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Livingston as follows:

1. The City Council hereby approves the Memorandum of Understanding Setting Forth Certain Items of Agreement Among Agencies Within the Merced Subbasin Following the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act; and

2. The Interim City Manager is hereby authorized and directed to take the necessary steps to execute the POST-SGMA; and

3. This Resolution shall take effect immediately upon passage.

Passed and adopted this day of May, 2016, by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTAIN:

ABSENT:

Rodrigo Espinoza, Mayor of the City of Livingston

ATTEST:

I, hereby certify that the foregoing resolution was regularly introduced, passed, and adopted at a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Livingston this _ day of May, 2016.

Antonio Silva, City Clerk of the City of Livingston

2652905.1

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