Groundwater Management Program for Yuba County Water Agency: A Conjunctive Use Pilot Project
The Yuba County Water Agency (YCWA), an independent, stand-alone government organization created in 1959, aims to develop and promote the beneficial use and regulation of the water resources of Yuba County. Over the last two decades, YCWA and its Member Units (currently eight Member Units) in cooperation with stakeholders and local, state, and federal agencies have made significant planning efforts to improve both local and statewide water supply reliability. In 1984, YCWA started surface water deliveries to the North Yuba Subbasin and South Yuba Subbasin from the New Bullards Bar Reservoir. Following the surface water deliveries, groundwater elevations in the South Yuba Subbasin, which declined substantially (estimated 100 ft. at some locations) between 1948 and 1981 due to groundwater overdraft, returned to near historical levels. In addition to supplying highly reliable water to its local Member Units, in 1987 YCWA began transferring surface water and groundwater to other parts of the state to increase statewide water reliability. In 2001, the Conjunctive Use Pilot Project was designed to formalize the historically successful management of Yuba County?s groundwater resources and to develop a framework for implementation of future activities. Funded by the California Department of Water Resources, this ongoing project is a part of a comprehensive watershed and groundwater management effort in Yuba County. YCWA has recently developed a collaborative agreement, known as the Lower Yuba River Accord (Yuba Accord), working with a broad coalition of agricultural, environmental, and fisheries interests, including state and federal agencies. The Yuba Accord, proposed in early 2005 and implemented in late 2006, improves river habitat conditions and provides YCWA with a source of revenue for activities, including an active surface and groundwater conjunctive use program. Through the past groundwater management and resource use activities, YCWA has proven its leadership role in progressively embracing the concept of sustainable groundwater management. Resource management operations implemented under the Yuba Accord further demonstrate YCWA?s dedication to providing highly reliable local and statewide water supply.