Ag Today May 24, 2018

State proposes change in monitoring status for Napa County’s groundwater

BARRY EBERLING May 24, 2018 Updated 9 min ago, Napa Valley Register

California says it might raise its alert level for monitoring Napa Valley groundwater to make certain local wells keep supplying water, although what — if anything — this means for the county’s current water policies is unclear.

The state proposes to reclassify the Napa Valley subbasin from “medium” to “high” priority. But since it requires communities in either category to take the same steps to avoid sucking aquifers dry, the proposal may or may not have consequences.

“I think at this point, everything is open to interpretation and requires additional investigation as to what DWR is trying to accomplish,” County Public Works Director Steven Lederer said.

After several years of study, Napa County had concluded that the subbasin is nearly full and is used in a sustainable way, with a few problem locations. Wineries, vineyards and residences in the heart of wine country depend on well water.

The county submitted its studies to the state Department of Water Resources a year-and-a-half ago. It wants to convince the state it is already a good steward of groundwater and doesn’t allow more water be withdrawn than is recharged.

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