Public Engagement Process for the Sacramento Regional Water Bank
The Regional Water Authority (RWA) is facilitating a public engagement process for the Sacramento Regional Water Bank, a groundwater storage program utilizing the expansive reservoir under the urban core for storing water during wet times for use during dry times.
The Water Bank is identified as one of several key strategies for addressing the projected impacts of climate change on local water supplies in the newly-released American River Basin Study produced by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in partnership with local water agencies.
The goal of the Water Bank public engagement process is to share information, answer questions and gather input about how a Water Bank could be operated and expanded in the Sacramento region. RWA is planning several public meetings—called Stakeholder Forums—through early 2024.
Questions of the Week
Between Stakeholder Forums, the Program Team is addressing questions provided by stakeholders through a Questions of the Week feature. Questions may include those from a single stakeholder, or the Program Team may combine similar questions and provide comprehensive answers about the Water Bank. Questions and answers will also be posted here on this page. Additional questions may be submitted to the Water Bank program email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find questions from previous weeks here.
Theme: Sacramento Regional Water Bank Infrastructure
Question: What is the infrastructure needed to implement the Water Bank?
Successful water banking will require both natural and human-created infrastructure as described in more detail below:
Natural infrastructure–the groundwater basin that includes aquifers that naturally contain significant volumes of water and can be used to store additional water during wet times for withdrawal during dry times.
Human-created infrastructure–which is owned and operated by water providers in the Sacramento region, that provides water supply for our homes, businesses and environment. From a water banking perspective, this infrastructure also makes it possible to distribute water around the region, increasing the ability to shift between larger volumes of surface and groundwater supplies. For instance, this infrastructure makes it possible to move water from lakes and rivers to recharge the aquifer during wet times, and to move groundwater to areas reliant on surface water during severe droughts or emergencies.
Examples of projects that expand the ability to deposit and withdraw water and better connect surface water and groundwater supplies include:
- Constructing new and rehabilitating existing groundwater wells, including Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) wells that can both deposit and withdrawal water, and traditional wells used for withdrawals.
- Establishing new transmission mains and interties to connect water systems. Traditionally, water districts developed as multiple, independent units, but the Water Bank connects these systems, facilitating water sharing and storage based on availability.
- Incorporating booster pumps and pressure reduction to move water across district boundaries, ensuring it reaches areas in need within the region.
- Expanding surface water and groundwater treatment facilities to enhance system flexibility.
The Regional Water Authority (RWA) is pleased to release a foundational document that describes the overall strategy, process, and considerations related to the development and implementation of the Sacramento Regional Water Bank.
The Goal, Objectives, Principles, and Constraints (GOPC) document sets the direction for developing the Water Bank’s operations, governance, communication and engagement, environmental compliance, and more.
While drafting the document, feedback and input was gathered from the public and interested parties during Stakeholder Forums, sharing sessions, and a public comment period, and was considered as the document evolved through several drafts. Document development milestones included:
- In the second half of 2022, participating local water agencies developed several iterations and refinements of the goals, objectives, principles, and constraints document. Working drafts were discussed with various stakeholders, interested parties, and other organizations throughout the development process.
- Feedback was solicited during the Water Bank Stakeholder Forum #2, in February 2023, and considered as part of the refinement process.
- In April 2023, the draft was presented to Reclamation as part of an ongoing companion study, and the agency’s input is reflected in redline revisions to the “Relationship to the CVP” principles.
It is important to note that the Water Bank goals, objectives, principles, and constraints are intended to be a “living document,” open to periodic revisions as Water Bank implementation continues.
You can read the GOPC document here.
Next, the Water Bank Program Team is working with the Water Bank Program Committee (RWA agencies supporting Water Bank development) on drafting documents related to governance, and the project description for environmental documentation. These documents are expected to be discussed during a third Stakeholder Forum in fall 2023.
Materials from the Second Stakeholder Forum Held February 13, 2023
- Recording of Stakeholder Forum #2
- PowerPoint presentation slides
- Questions submitted during Stakeholder Forum #2
- Proposed Goal, Objectives, Principles, and Constraints
The second Stakeholder Forum explored the proposed goal, objectives, principles and constraints for the Sacramento Regional Water Bank, a groundwater storage program utilizing the expansive reservoir under the urban core for storing water during wet times for use during dry times.
Materials from the First Stakeholder Forum Held October 26, 2022
The first Stakeholder Forum explored key topic areas such as water sources and management in the Sacramento region; projected impacts of climate change on the region’s water resources; how water banking works; how a Water Bank could help the region adapt to climate change; and other topics.
Questions for the Water Bank project team? Please email email@example.com.
Funding for Water Bank development has been provided in part from the Budget Act of 2021 through a grant from the California Department of Water Resources.