Groundwater meeting will be important to Elk Grove’s future

Map of Harvest Water Eco Project. | 

By Lynn Wheat | Guest Contributor | 

On Wednesday, March 25 a meeting will be held by the Sacramento Central Groundwater Authority (SCGA). While SCGA operates under the radar of most people, it’s importance cannot be overstated.

SCGA’s sixteen-member board membership includes various public and private agencies as well as agricultural and landowner interests.

The SCGA will be considering the adoption of a groundwater sustainability plan, which will include plans for how water will be sourced throughout the county, including Elk Grove.

As residents may know, Elk Grove still has long-term expansion plans to annex thousands of acres for future development, much of it for housing. Obviously, this expansion will include significant demands on water supply and infrastructure.

As part of Elk Grove’s future expansion, recycled wastewater will be provided by Sacramento Sanitation District (an SCGA member) as a part of the ongoing Harvest Water Eco project.

Recycled water map. 

While the intent of the Harvest Water Eco project has merit from a water conversation aspect, there are some noteworthy concerns.

One concern that must be addressed is who and how will this billion-dollar project be financed, given that a good part of it will be within the City of Elk Grove. Will current ratepayers in Elk Grove carry the unfair financial burden of subsidizing the impacts of future housing tracts to the benefit of the developers?

At this meeting, one of the items of discussion will be the budget and funding of the groundwater sustainability plan. This will be the third and final meeting on the matter for public participation.

It has often been said, water, especially in California, is gold. The question ratepayers need to ask is who is paying for the supplying of this gold? What will be the cost to each resident? Will some benefit more than others? Will the burden be shared in an equitable manner? Please remember the general public has been allowed only three meetings while designated “stakeholders” have had the benefit of many meetings. 

An example of the lack of transparency to the general public is the Sacramento Sanitation District’s application submitted to the Sacramento LAFCo to expand the Harvest Eco water project. In their LAFCo application it is noted that public meetings would be conducted after approval of the expansion. 

The meeting is on Thursday, March 25 between 6 and 8 p.m. and can be viewed at this Zoom link

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