Draft Environmental Documents Available for Poso Creek Regional Water Management Group Groundwater Banking, Transfer and Exchange Program

Media Contact: Pete Lucero, 916 978 5100

For Release: February 23, 2012

The Bureau of Reclamation has released for public review draft environmental documents for the proposed long-term approval of groundwater banking, water exchanges, and water transfers among members of the Poso Creek Regional Water Management Group in Kern County, California.

The members include three Central Valley Project (CVP) contractors (Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District, Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District, and Kern-Tulare Water District), four non-Central Valley Project contractors (Semitropic Water Storage District, Cawelo Water District, North Kern Water Storage District, and North West Kern Resource Conservation District), and one representative for the 16 disadvantaged communities located within the Poso Creek Region.

The proposed 25-year program for groundwater banking, and water transfers and exchanges, advances the Central Valley Project Improvement Act goals of improving CVP operational flexibility through expanded use of voluntary water transfers to balance existing water supplies. The Draft Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact (EA/FONSI) address the potential environmental effects of the program in which three CVP contractors would bank CVP water outside their service area boundaries for later return, exchange CVP water with other members of the Poso Creek Regional Water Management Group (RWMG), and/or transfer CVP water to other members of the RWMG.

The Draft EA/FONSI was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. If you encounter problems accessing the documents online, please call 916-978-5100 or e-mail mppublicaffairs@usbr.gov.

Written comments must be received by close of business Friday, March 23, 2012, and should be sent to Chuck Siek, Bureau of Reclamation, South-Central California Area Office, 1243 N Street, Fresno CA 93721. Comments may also be faxed to Mr. Siek at 559-487-5397 or e-mailed to csiek@usbr.gov.

For additional information or to request a copy of the Draft EA/FONSI, please contact Mr. Siek at 559-487-5138, TTY 800-735-2929. Copies of the draft documents may also be viewed at Reclamation's Fresno office at the above address.

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