From MICHAEL LAYBOURN
(with emphasis added)
August 26, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California
EXCERPTS FROM THE LAFCO REPORT CONCERNING WATER USE IN THE UKIAH VALLEY
[This report clearly shows us that the DDR Measure A plan is asking you to vote against your neighbors and possibly yourself if you need water. The DDR plan is also inaccurate and clearly states that the plan is to bypass any laws or careful thinking about how much water is needed or will be used. This is not about politics, it is about resources and there is not enough water. For the complete report go to http://www.mendolafco.org/files/2009-08-Service-Impact-Report.pdf -ML]
The proposed project will not be subject to the level of review required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) because it is being proposed by initiative. Therefore, a groundwater analysis is not required to occur and thus any potential impacts to the groundwater will not be fully investigated and reviewed by the County prior to approval of the project.
Water and Millview County Water District (MCWD)
The Ukiah Valley is presently overbuilt to its available water resources. Any new growth will severely impact our existing circumstances. Even in non-drought years we have a water availability problem and are barely able to provide water services to existing development. Drought years therefore cause the requirement of extreme measures such as reduction by 50 percent or more of water consumption. Consider the following: Every time we increase development, we decrease our ability to survive a drought.
Water agencies are required to plan and develop capacity that will allow them to continue to provide service during drought times. This capacity, if developed, is meant to carry the agency during at least three dry years. This means that during normal rain years, it may appear that the agency has excess capacity that can be used for new development but in reality this is not the case. This three year drought that we are presently enduring demonstrates that our local reserves are at our limits. Any new development will therefore cause present water users to be further harmed.
California water use ranges between 8,000 to 15,000 gallons per month per household. Increased per capita use of water has occurred along with population increases; these twin engines of increased consumption means that more and more storage water is needed and the natural reserves of our groundwater are being depleted.
The State Water Resources Control Board has declared that the Russian River is fully appropriated from July 1 to October 31 of each year. (Order #91-07) This means that during this time of peak demand all of the available surface water is being used and there is no more water to be appropriated for any purpose; this includes underflow water. Only 8,000 acre-feet of the water normally stored in Lake Mendocino is owned locally; the rest is owned by Sonoma County. Russian River Flood Control District, as the owner of this water, wholesales water under contract to local agencies and others. In 2007, they were fully contracted for their water; all of their water was being used. This year because of the drought this amount has been reduced by the State by 50 percent thus all contracts have had their amount reduced by 50%.
Redwood Valley County Water District is under court imposed moratorium for new connections because of the lack of available water. Previously it obtained surplus water (i.e. water not under contract) from Russian River District; surplus water is no longer available. Redwood Valley is under a 50% reduction requirement.
Calpella County Water District contracts to Russian River District for water. Under a wheeling agreement, Millview provides finished water to Calpella. The amount that Millview is capable of providing is limited thus Calpella is under a de facto moratorium and is also under the 50% reduction requirement.
The proposed development at the old Masonite site could include 150 new residential units and various commercial developments that would use water equivalent to hundreds of new residential units. The Specific Plan associated with the ballot Initiative is unclear as to the exact amount of housing development versus commercial development. In any case, the Specific Plan provides that “The actual development of the site is subject to change based on market and regional demands.” The true numbers are therefore unknown.
According to the Specific Plan that is being placed before the voters, Millview Water District is to be the provider of water to this proposed development (page B-73—see additional discussion about Well #6). Millview Water District is under a State imposed moratorium for new connections for the lack of available water. Millview purchases Lake Mendocino water from the Russian River Flood Control District. As indicated, Russian River District in 2007 was fully contracted; unless others give up their water contracts there is no additional water for Millview that would allow lifting of the moratorium. As are other agencies, Millview is under a 50% reduction requirement. Millview presently has a backlog of applications wanting water service that it has been unable to fulfill. People already within the District cannot obtain water service because of the lack of water. It is my understanding that the backlog is in excess of 300 applications.
On page 73 of the Specific Plan (that you are voting on) is found this statement: “The Millview Water District (MCWD) is a water supply company serving the area surrounding Ukiah, including the properties within the Specific Plan area.” That is an inaccurate statement at three levels: (1) Millview is not a “company”; it is a public agency formed under Water Code Sections 30000-33900. It is therefore subject to all of the requirements of law for public agencies; (2) The District does not surround Ukiah; it is located to the north of Ukiah. (3) The District does not serve the properties within the Specific Plan area; most of the Specific Plan site is outside the boundaries of Millview CWD.