Beginning May 14, 2017, residents of Marina, Neponset, Castroville, Moss Landing, Blanco, and Salinas, may see a low-flying helicopter towing a large hexagonal frame. This unique equipment is part of a project to map groundwater aquifers and subsurface geology in the area.
Lasting up to 5 days (unless delayed by weather), instruments mounted below the helicopter will collect and record measurements to learn more about buried sand and gravel aquifers. Marina Coast Water District, working with Aqua Geo Frameworks and researchers from Stanford's Department of Geophysics have planned the flights to improve understanding of the available groundwater resources. This technology allows for more complete data acquisition from the air, upwards of 50 to 75 miles per hour, with exploration depths down to at least 900 feet below the land surface. Aqua Geo Frameworks and Stanford researchers will process the data and information, and produce a final report.
The Marina Coast Water District has commissioned this study to better understand and manage the groundwater basins that supply its customers. The data generated from the study will provide a far more comprehensive and clear understanding of the degree to which sea water has or hasn't intruded into basins allowing the District to manage its resources based on the best available scientific data. It is expected the study will fill key gaps in data, provide a far more accurate picture of the quality of the groundwater, and prepare the District with the necessary information to include in a Groundwater Sustainability Plan. Since data can only be collected over open spaces, no data collection will occur over residential areas or other buildings.
Sinton Helicopters, based out of Paso Robles, California, will oversee the flights. The helicopter will fly lines over a flight path designed to get the best available data from the subsurface. Scientific equipment, towed about 100 feet above the ground surface, hangs about 100 feet below the helicopter in a 'spider web' array and is designed to map geologic structures beneath the ground. The helicopter will be manned by very experienced pilots who are specially trained for low-level flying with this equipment. The helicopter company operates under FAA unlimited part 135 unscheduled air-taxi operations, part 133 a,b,c and d external loads, and part 137 agriculture dispersal.
Residents of the Marina Coast Water District remain diligent in their water conservation efforts actually increasing already high savings rates while most of the state saw modest declines. Marina Coast Water District conservations rates for July went from 31.1% in 2015 to 34.6% this year in comparison to 2013 usage levels. The trend held steady in August 2016 with Districtwide conservation rates at 34.8% (3.6% higher than August 2015) which is among the top 5% of 398 reported water agencies.
The State Water Resources Control Board recently announced statewide water conservation efforts held steady for the month of July 2016 at 20% which is down 1% from the month prior. In May, the State Water Resources Control Board relaxed the statewide mandated percentage approach in favor of locally identified targets.
"Conservation has been a way of life in this area and a focus of MCWD for more than 15 years and I am proud to say our residents are among the top in the state," said Keith Van Der Maaten, Marina Coast Water District General Manager.
The August conservation data are encouraging in light of the fact the District went from a Mandatory Stage 3 conservation level to a voluntary Stage 2 goal. To achieve Marina Coast Water District's Stage 2 goals, customers are asked to practice the following voluntary irrigation practices:
In August, the Marina Coast Water District (MCWD) board accepted a recommendation to move from Stage 3 Water Conservation water use restriction(s) to voluntary Stage 2 regulations.
The move from Stage 3 mandatory water use to Stage 2 voluntary water use, removes the Districts' two day per week landscape irrigation restrictions. However, all state mandated water use restrictions, primarily for municipal and commercial customers, are still in full effect.
The State Mandated water use restrictions are:
To achieve Marina Coast Water District's Stage 2 goals, customers are asked to practice the following voluntary irrigation practices:
"Our ratepayers have a great record of saving water on a voluntary basis, and have enabled MCWD to consistently exceed our own internal and state-mandated conservation goals," said Keith Van der Maaten, General Manager of MCWD. "MCWD still values conservation as its priority, along with ensuring sustainable future supply, and we will continue to work with ratepayers and stakeholders to conserve this vital resource."
In May, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted a statewide approach that replaced the prior percentage reduction-based water conservation standard with a localized "stress test" approach that mandates urban water suppliers act now to ensure at least a three year supply of water to their customers under drought conditions.
"Drought conditions are far from over, but have improved enough that we can step back from our unprecedented top-down target setting," said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus.
The District will be testing water samples for lead and copper from selected customer's indoor taps beginning in late August. Every three years the District is required to determine the amount of lead and copper present in tap water derived from indoor pipes, faucet fixtures and solder materials. (Previous tests revealed that MCWD's water supply has not exceeded the action level for lead and copper.)
If you provided water samples in 2013, you will be asked to participate again in the monitoring program.
For more information, please call District Water Quality Laboratory Supervisor Thomas Barkhurst at 384-6131.
A short video on lead and copper sampling produced by the American Water Works is embedded below.
Incentives are now available for rainwater catchment ... Details
The District's Water Shortage Contingency Plan is developed in compliance with California Water Code Section 10632. Read the plan (PDF)
On January 17, 2014, Governor Brown proclaimed a State of Emergency to focus Californians' attention on the need to conserve water. The Governor is asking that all citizens immediately reduce water use by 20 percent. More info and conservation tips (PDF)
Additional Information and Resources:
Trees and water are both precious resources. Trees make our houses feel like home–they also improve property values, clean our water and air, and even make our streets safer and quieter. When we water wisely and maintain our trees carefully, we enjoy a wide range of benefits at a low cost and with little effort. Be water-wise. It's easy.Here's how (PDF from Invest from the Ground Up a project of the California Urban Forests Council).
Current and previous issues are available below as PDFs.