Willows man selected to be representative
Glenn County supervisors appointed Willows farmer John Amaro to be a landowner representative on the Northern Sacramento Valley Integrated Regional Water Management Plan Committee.
The decision followed a lengthy discussion Tuesday about the future of the body and Glenn County's participation in it.
Supervisor Leigh McDaniel said the water plan should be completed by the end of 2013.
However, the function of its 18-member board could change, he said.
Six counties belong to the board and include both elected officials and landowner representatives along with irrigation and water district interests.
McDaniel wanted to know how his colleagues felt about Glenn County's role on the body that is looking for regional collaboration on water issues.
McDaniel asked whether the group should play an informational role, a coordinating role or a leadership role in water activities within the North State.
Those are the options being considered by a sub-committee of the organization, he said.
"I threw out we should be a leader in the North State," McDaniel said.
However, some participants expressed concern about the expense of being leaders in these hard economic times, he said.
However, being an informational and activity coordinating organization still would help define water policy in the North State, McDaniel added.
He also suggested Glenn County concentrate on groundwater monitoring and protection since water districts already handle surface water issues and the rights of water settlement contractors.
Glenn County Water Coordinator Lester Messina said the regional water management organization could take a variety of roles through leadership and coordination of efforts.
Each county has a different perspective, Messina said, on how the board should function along with the irrigation districts - so it is a "challenge to keep 18 members going in the same direction."
Glenn County is among the first to discuss the new roles, he added.
"(Dealing with) 18 members is like herding cats," Supervisor Mike Murray said.
At this stage, the body needs to be all inclusive, Messina said, but when the plan is adopted - it will not need as many members.
Supervisor Dwight Foltz said conservation of surface water and better efficiency in its use are important since that benefits groundwater usage in the area.
As a well driller, Foltz said he has seen the water table drop because of agricultural pumping, so it is a concern.
He also advocated having a leadership role in water resource management, Foltz said, leading residents and the municipalities to better management since both pump groundwater.
Foltz added dumping surface water into the river is short sighted and something should be done to minimize that.
"If our water policy is widely effective, we can demonstrate to the rest of the state we are managing our water resources wisely," McDaniel said.
Supervisor John Viegas said the county needs to influence and inform people on water needs, and that "will drive us into a leadership role."
"We don't have to take over the surface water management," he said, "but we can bring our concerns to them (water districts) about re-charging the aquifer."
Viegas added residential wells in his Orland area district have dropped in recent years, so it is a worry.
The board asked Agriculture Commissioner Jim Donnelly and Mesina to look for grants to help fund the county's water protection activities and bring back information on costs at a future meeting.