Schematic drawing of a land-use proposal
A representative General Plan Land Use map

Groundwater Planning

Over the past 30 years, Todd Groundwater has been engaged in the application of hydrogeology to groundwater issues arising in environmental (CEQA/NEPA) assessments and in land use planning documents such as General Plans. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 represents a landmark in groundwater planning. It lays out a road map toward groundwater sustainability, including multiple intersections with CEQA and with land use planning.

Environmental Assessment for CEQA/NEPA

Todd Groundwater has provided hydrogeologic expertise to a wide range of CEQA issues. These have included evaluation of the potential impacts of groundwater projects, for example, new production wells, recharge facilities, or management plans. These also have involved assessment of potential impacts on groundwater resources and hydraulically connected surface water bodies.
  • Production wells
  • Managed Aquifer Recharge projects
  • General plan updates, specific plans and master plans
  • Residential and commercial developments, including golf courses and wineries
  • Industrial projects including aggregate and gold mines, solar farms
  • Hydraulic fracturing regulations
  • Water recycling projects

We bring experience in preparing reliable environmental reports: documenting baseline conditions, defining meaningful thresholds of significance, evaluating project and cumulative impacts, and identifying effective monitoring and mitigation measures for potential impacts:

  • Drawdown and loss of yield in nearby wells
  • Perennial yield and overdraft
  • Groundwater quality, including impacts of salt water intrusion and contaminant mobilization/migration
  • Subsidence
  • Dewatering of hydraulically connected surface water features and habitat

We apply a broad variety of analytical and modeling tools to assess potential impacts.

Urban Water Management Plans and Water Supply Assessments

The Urban Water Management Planning Act of 1983 requires California's medium and large urban water suppliers to prepare an Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP) that assesses the reliability of their water sources to provide for existing and future demands. Requirements of this act were modified significantly by SBX7-7, the water conservation portion of the 2009 Comprehensive Water Package. Todd Groundwater regularly tracks UWMP requirements — including those specifically for groundwater sources — and prepares UWMPs for municipalities that use groundwater.

Similarly, Todd Groundwater tracked Senate Bills 610 and 221 — the “show me the water” legislation that strengthened the links between water supply and land use planning by requiring Water Supply Assessments and Verifications. We have prepared over twenty WSAs with a variety of land uses — mostly urban redevelopment with residential, landscaping, commercial, and office land uses, but also including a hospital, college campus, ski resort, solar facility and wallboard plant. The scale of our WSAs has ranged from a large office complex to specific plans and General Plan updates that involve assessment of broad urban areas and multiple land use alternatives. In most cases, the WSAs have addressed a portfolio of water supplies (local, imported, recycled). In every case, an important supply is groundwater, which requires specific evaluation.

While producing documents that are fully compliant with the water code, we also have developed approaches to Urban Water Management Plans and Water Supply Assessments so that they are easy to read and understand for professionals, stakeholders and interested people. We produce truly informational documents, turning water code requirements into planning benefits.

Contact Todd Groundwater

For more information, contact Todd Groundwater