The Basin has been, and presently is, in a condition of long-term Overdraft for a period longer than ten years as described in California Code of Civil Procedure sections 832(d) and 847(a). The Stipulated Judgment establishes the initial “Sustainable Yield” of the Basin as 5,700 AFY which may be refined as determined by the Watermaster by January 1, 2025, and periodically updated thereafter, through the TAC processes. There is presently no viable means to cure the Basin’s Overdraft through artificial recharge or other supply augmentation strategy under current Basin conditions and cumulative average annual pumping quantities. As a result, it is necessary to implement the Physical Solution inclusive of a prescribed reduction in cumulative authorized pumping over time.
The Physical Solution is intended to provide flexibility and adaptability to allow the Court to use existing and future technological, social, institutional, and economic options to maximize reasonable and beneficial water use in the Basin. The Physical Solution takes into consideration the unique physical and climatic conditions of the Basin, the use of water within the Basin, the character and rate of return flows, the character and extent of established uses, and the current lack of availability of imported water.
The Stipulated Judgment assigns a Baseline Pumping Allocation (“BPA”) to specific identified parcels (“BPA Parcels”) based upon quantities calculated by the County of San Diego as part of the development of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan. The BPA proposed to be assigned to each BPA Parcel is set forth in the Stipulated Judgment at Exhibit 4. The BPA will be used to determine the maximum allowed pumping quantity allocated to the BPA Parcel(s) in any given Water Year (“Annual Allocation”). Pumpers will be allowed to pump up to their “Annual Allocation” and will pay pumping fees based on the amount of water pumped.
Pumpers will be allowed to “carry over” water if they underpump in any given year, so long as they timely pay Watermaster assessments. A pumper’s carryover “account” can never exceed two times its BPA and any carryover must be the first water used in the following Water Year.
Annual Allocations will be ramped down over time based upon the Sustainable Yield for the Basin. The Stipulated Judgement includes a provision requiring all pumpers to begin ramping down pumping starting on October 1, 2020. The rampdown rate is 5% per year for the first 5 years and faster than proposed under the GSP. The Rampdown will materially reduce pumping levels in the Basin year over year for the first 10-years. Further rampdowns will occur from 2030 to 2040 to reach sustainable yield pumping by 2040.
Pumpers will be permitted to pump up to 120% of their Annual Allocation in Years 1 to 3, to allow for a “soft landing” provided that they underpump or purchase/lease water in Years 4 to 5 to make up for any over pumping in the first 3 years. All over pumping will be subject to an administrative penalty of at least $500 per acre foot, as set by the Watermaster, if not made up by underpumping or purchase/lease of make-up water.