Answers to Public Input Questions from April 9 WHO Committee Meeting

May 21, 2019

During the April 9 Water & Hydroelectric Operations Committee meeting, community members asked a number of questions. Here are the responses to those questions:

Questions Regarding NID’s Strategic Plan

1. Does NID have a current Strategic Plan and if not why are you proceeding with the RWMP?

Answer
Yes, NID does have a valid Strategic Plan that is currently active. It remains active until updated.  The update is underway with each Board Committee currently assigned to review and provide update recommendations.

An action item within the District’s current Strategic Plan is “Develop consistent and integrated master planning documents” (Goal 3, fifth bullet under Action Items). This action item is the underlying directive for the RWMP update.  The State of California mandates water agencies to update and report planning efforts every five years through the Urban Water Management Plan and the Agricultural Water Management Plan.  The next scheduled update to these two plans will be in 2020.

Questions Regarding an Environmental Master Plan

2. Is an Environmental Water Master Plan more timely and important way to analyze your water future given the upcoming Delta Bay Plan and voluntary agreements that all the other Water Districts are putting together?

Answer
The RWMP Update is an integrated water resources management plan.  All uses and regulatory requirements for NID’s water rights and FERC licenses are included in the plan.

Environmental water uses and requirements are dictated in separate processes and procedures with the State Water Resources Control Board and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  Like many other water agencies, NID has not yet entered into discussions with the State Water Resources Control Board regarding unimpaired flow requirements.

Question Regarding Drum Spaulding

3. “Will the new major acquisition of the Drum Spaulding PG&E divestiture be a major component of the RWMP Update?”

Answer
The discussions with PG&E regarding bankruptcy and Drum Spaulding are in the initial phases. It is unknown what the timing of any potential divestiture is in a bankruptcy process.

Keep in mind that the RWMP update is a process. As such, the RWMP update will be adaptive to any new information or changes to assumptions. Whenever new information on Drum Spaulding comes available, the RWMP update process will be flexible to address it and incorporate recommended actions at that time.

Questions Regarding Nomenclature and Integrated Master Plans

4. “Why are you picking this particular plan [RWMP] to update when you have far more customers on treated water? What is the status of the Treated Water Master Plan? The Recreation Water Management Plan? The Hydro Water Management Plan? How will you integrate these plans as is required by the State of California?

Answer
The RWMP update is the District’s comprehensive water resources management strategy. Therefore, the RWMP update is the integrated management plan that addresses all of NID’s water resources management responsibilities.

The focus of the plan may be confusing since the words “Raw Water” are in the title. This derives from the historical way the District has named documents and processes over the course of the last 100 years. It is not intended to limit the focus to only raw water customers.

Question Regarding FERC Environmental Requirements

5. “Why has NID failed to enact the FERC environmental requirements?

Answer
NID is meeting all the requirements of its current FERC license available for public review on the FERC website.

 

Question Regarding State Board Instream Flow Requirements

6. “Why does NID claim that State Regulations are a a threat to water supply when there is no knowledge of how much water the environment requires?”

Answer
Regarding the use of the word “threat,” this is the term used in organizational management for any external action that could alter the assumptions used for organizational decision-making. In this context, it is not a pejorative term in relation to state regulations; it is a categorizing term in relation to an external factor with potentially significant planning implications.

It is generally known throughout the state, and in comments made by State Board staff, that the State Board is interested in claiming more in-stream flow requirements than currently exists. Therefore, unknown unimpaired flow requirements are understood as threat in the context of planning assumptions.