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New drought regulations and state laws topic of Water Element Group meeting

waterelementmeetingLeaders of water and municipal agencies met today with members of the local business and development sectors to discuss how new state laws and regulations related to the drought may impact community planning and growth in San Bernardino County.

About 70 people convened in Rancho Cucamonga to learn about the state drought measures, including the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 and Proposition 1: The Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.

The meeting was hosted by the Countywide Vision Water Element Group, the SANBAG City-County Managers Technical Advisory Committee Water Sustainability Subcommittee and the Baldy View Chapter of the Building Industry Association.

Since their first meeting in January 2012, the Water Element Group has been working to develop a long-range plan to ensure water sustainability for the county’s future. The Group consists of leaders representing public and private water agencies, regulators, planners, education, and business.

This effort by the Group marked the first time that San Bernardino County endeavored to address its water needs in a comprehensive, collaborative environment that incorporated multiple watersheds.

The Countywide Vision Water Element Group has produced:

  • A countywide water inventory that revealed the County has enough water to supply residents, business, and agricultural needs through 2035, if there is a commitment from the whole community to invest in capital projects and programs to store new water supplies, protect current water supplies, and increase water conservation efforts.
  • A countywide inventory of water conservation programs.
  • A map that identified land recommended for protection for future local water recharge projects.

During the past year, the leaders of the Water Element Group have met with County and city managers, County and city planning directors, and the Baldy View Chapter of the Building Industry Association (BIA) to discuss how they can all work together to ensure there is a sufficient, sustainable water supply to accommodate expected population and economic growth.

At BIA’s Annual San Bernardino County Water Conference in August, water, city and BIA leaders discussed the benefits of collaboratively working on regional 2015 urban water management plans that closely link to County and city general plans.

When Governor Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act on September 26, 2014, which in part advocates for coordination of water management and land use planning, the water, city and BIA leaders saw a chance to continue the dialogue they started earlier this year to improve their growing partnership.

To view presentations and other materials from today’s meeting, click here.

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