California High-Speed Rail (HSR): Burbank to Los Angeles Project Section
Comments on Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement

July 30, 2020

The California High-Speed Rail (HSR) proposed project alignment passes through ULARA, including the Burbank area of the San Fernando Basin, the largest of the four ULARA groundwater basins. The Watermaster’s office reviewed the Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (DEIR) for the California High-Speed Rail (HSR): Burbank to Los Angeles Project Section and submitted comments during the public review period. Descriptions of the project in the DEIR state that temporary, or possibly permanent, dewatering activities will occur within the alignment of the HSR that lies within the greater Burbank portion of ULARA, as part of the construction of the rail line. Mentions of the ULARA Judgment and the ULARA Watermaster were sparse in the environmental documentation, and the document did not appear to consider the adjudicated nature of ULARA with respect to groundwater extraction and disposal for construction or permanent dewatering. The Watermaster comment letter advised the document preparers that all extractions of groundwater from anywhere within the ULARA boundaries must be reported to the ULARA Watermaster, and requested that the ULARA Watermaster reporting requirements be incorporated into final versions of the Environmental documentation. That comment letter also noted that the proposed dewatering areas may contain contaminated groundwater.

ULARA Watermaster Comments, "Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement, Burbank To Los Angeles Project Section, California High-Speed Rail Authority" July 30, 2020

New Documents added to Document Library

August 6, 2019

Recently digitized documents related to the ULARA Judgement have been added to the ULARA document library.

ULARA Administrative Committee Responds to Report by University California, Santa Cruz (UCSC)

April 4, 2017

In February 2016, the University of California, Santa Cruz published a report that "evaluates the history and current condition of California's adjudicated groundwater basins and how management of these basins can be improved." The report was reportedly “Commissioned by The State Water Board”, and is published on the California State Water Resources Control Board website. The ULARA Watermaster was contacted in advance of the report publication to review the Draft document and provided some very limited comments at that time; some of the Watermaster's comments as a result of that review were not reflected in the final discussion of ULARA that was incorporated into the final published document. Once the final report was published, the ULARA Administrative Committee asked the Watermaster to provide a more thorough review. Hence, the Watermaster created a letter, endorsed by the ULARA Administrative Committee, that included additional comments in a further attempt to correct portions of the UCSC report for ULARA, so that the State Board, the State Legislature, and the public can be more accurately informed about ULARA.

Review of ULARA Portion of “An Evolution of California’s Adjudicated Groundwater Basins,” 2016-dated Report, “Commissioned by The State Water Board” April 4, 2017

USEPA Coordinated Basin-Wide Monitoring Event for the San Fernando Groundwater Basin

March 15, 2017

The Unites States Environmental Projection Agency (USEPA) has coordinated a basin-wide monitoring event for the San Fernando Groundwater Basin (SFB). The monitoring event was described in a letter from the EPA to various entities in the SFB, as follows:

“Groundwater in the San Fernando Valley (SFV) is studied by national, state, and local agencies for environmental cleanup and resource management. Historically, groundwater data collection has not been coordinated across the basin making scientific evaluations and management decision at a basinwide scale difficult. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is leading an effort to acquire basin-wide groundwater elevation and chemical concentration data on an annual basis.
“The EPA, along with the agencies and entities below , request your participation in the April 2017 annual coordinated groundwater monitoring event across the San Fernando Valley. The purpose of performing a coordinated event is to generate a spatially complete and contemporaneous data set to improve understanding of the overall basin groundwater characteristics. All participating parties will be provided access to the basin-wide data in assisting them to achieve their respective goals for groundwater cleanup and/or management in the SFV basin. The EPA will compile the data in the [US]EPA SFV Database. Stakeholders obtain the data by sending a request to the EPA contact listed below.
The annual coordinated groundwater monitoring event will be conducted during the first two weeks in April of each year, with the first event taking place between April 1 and 15, 2017.”

As the CASGEM representative for the ULARA groundwater basins, the Watermaster has prepared written requests to known private pumpers in the SFB and will conduct field monitoring of those wells to coordinate monitoring of the water levels within the EPA-proposed data collection window of April 1 through April 15, 2017.