On January 18, 2019, the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center, in collaboration with Medicine Lake Citizens for Quality Environment submitted lengthy comments on California’s 2018 Draft Water Plan Update to the California Department of Water Resources.

These comments noted that the plan update “fails to mention or even recognize the vast groundwater and natural recharge supplied by northern California’s Cascade volcanos…”. Following additional discussion of threats to the region from proposed geothermal fracking, unregulated water bottling and the exclusion of volcanic aquifers from the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the comments recommend inclusion of “the following objectives and strategies…into the 2018 Water Plan Update:

  • Include pristine volcanic headwaters, aquifers and recharge areas in the Update
  • Establish baseline studies and monitoring, measure current aquifer flow rates and changes
  • Identify and protect drought and climate change resilient waters flowing into the Central Valley and State Water Projects
  • Maintain cold water flows and habitat for aquatic wildlife species
  • Maintain a reliable water supply for Northern California water uses, including drinking water, cultural values, agriculture, hydroelectric, wildlife habitat needs, and recreation
  • Develop policy and management strategies for the volcanic aquifers
  • Develop a cooperative protection and monitoring plan with the US Forest Service and BLM where recharge areas are located on federal lands
  • Create a system of economic valuation for ecosystem services that could be paid to counties which provide critical source waters to the state
  • Update SGMA to recognize volcanic aquifers and the need for resource protection
  • Update Bulletin 118 to reinstate volcanic aquifers, extend basin boundaries to protect recharge areas”

The comments letter is shown below and also posted on the DWR website.

Update 2018 PRD Public Comment 13