Hollister Area Urban Water Management Plan 2000





The Hollister Area Urban Water Management Plan 2000 (UWMP) has been prepared jointly by the Sunnyslope County Water District, the City of Hollister and San Benito County Water District. The City of Hollister and Sunnyslope prepared an earlier UWMP in 1991. This UWMP 2000 provides a comprehensive update to the 1991 report, and expands the water management planning discussion to include the San Benito County Water District's role as wholesaler and purveyor of San Felipe water from the Central Valley Project. This imported water has been serving the agricultural community and some municipal customers outside of Hollister and Sunnyslope's service areas since 1988, and is anticipated to become a supplemental source of potable water supply to the City of Hollister and Sunnyslope service areas.


This Summary provides a brief overview of the regulatory framework that has served as the primary motivator for the preparation of Urban Water Management Plans throughout California. The goals of the Hollister Area UWMP are set forth, as well as recommendations for continued action on the part of the water agencies to fulfill the intent and spirit of the UWMP. A brief summary of each chapter of the Hollister Area UWMP 2000 is provided herein.



Regulatory Framework for Preparing an UWMP


One purpose of preparing an UWMP is to comply with several state and federal legislative mandates that have been enacted over the past 15 years. This legislation, described briefly below, has promoted efforts by water agencies to evaluate the efficiency of their water use practices and to plan ahead for future supply needs based on anticipated growth or changing demands within their service areas.


The keystone to California's water law and policy, Article X. Section 2 of the California Constitution, requires that all uses of the State's water be both reasonable and beneficial. It places a significant limitation on water rights by prohibiting the waste of water, and for preventing the unreasonable use, method of use, or method of diversion of water.  The key organizations for enforcing the state legal requirements include the California State Department of Water Resources, the State Water Resource Control Board, and the California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC). The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) enforces federal requirements for recipients of imported water from the Central Valley Project.



California Urban Water Management Planning Act


The California Urban Water Management Planning Act requires the management of urban water demands and the efficient use of urban water supplies. Urban water suppliers serving more than 3,000 customers are to prepare and adopt an urban water management plan as defined by the law. The UWMP must describe the supplier's existing and planned water demand management measures, as well as how proposed measures will be implemented. The California State Department of Water Resources (DWR) is responsible for reviewing and certifying UWMP prepared pursuant to the Urban Water Management Planning Act. An UWMP is required to contain a chapter on the water conservation Best Management Practices (BMP’s) which are to be implemented by urban water users. The Urban Water Management Planning Act law was amended in 1995 and the DWR is in the process of developing revised criteria for plans that are due in the year 2000.



Central Valley Improvement Act and the Reclamation Reform Act of 1982


Central Valley Improvement Act of 1992 and the Reclamation Reform Act of 1982 are federal statutes which establish water management requirements for agencies which receive water from the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) .The Reclamation Reform Act requires districts with certain types of USBR contracts to prepare and submit water management plans with definite goals, appropriate water conservation measures, and timetables for implementing actions. The Central Valley Improvement Act mandates that the Secretary of the Interior establishes criteria to evaluate the water management plans. This law also specifies that the criteria must identify BMP’s for efficient water management.


All agencies that contract with USBR for municipal & industrial (M&I) water in excess of 2,000 acre feet and/or for Agricultural (irrigation) water to serve over 2,000 irrigation acres must prepare water management plans that meet the USBR criteria. The USBR's policy is to condition the granting of contract renewals with water agencies on the development and good-faith implementation of an adequate water management plan.



City and County General Plans


California cities and counties are required to adopt General Plans which guide future growth, define land uses, and establish policies to protect natural resources. The General Plans for cities and counties are required by State law to have various sections, including a conservation element and a public services element. This UWMP 2000 is an opportunity to further implement the goals, policies and objectives contained in both the City of Hollister and the County of San Benito General Plans.



California Urban Water Conservation Council


As a result of hearings held by the State Water Resources Control Board on water rights affecting the San Francisco Bay and Delta, a coalition of urban and environmental water interests formed the California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC). In 1991, the Council developed a voluntary Memorandum of Understanding that will lead to implementation of 16 Best Management Practices for urban water users and requires signatories to report on their status of implementation of the BMPs. The CUWCC is working to develop a mechanism to reconcile differences is urban water conservation regulations and to assist urban water users in fulfilling the spirit and intent of both State and Federal requirements. Their mission is to reduce regulatory burdens and to realize the goal of efficient water management in a cooperative, rather than confrontational, manner. The CUWCC is quantifying the water savings for each of the BMP's, and establishing standards for measuring the cost effectiveness of the BMP's. The UWMP Act law allows for urban water suppliers that are members of the CUWCC and have signed the Memorandum of Understanding to submit annual reports identifying water demand management measures currently being implemented, or scheduled for implementation, in order to satisfy the requirements of the law.


Hollister Area UWMP 2000 Goals


The goals of the UWMP 2000 for the Hollister Area include:


S       Strengthening the connection between regional land use planning and availability of water supplies;

S       Continuing collaboration between water agencies in addressing issues of water supply and demand in the Hollister area;

S       Providing a resource tool that can be used by policy-makers at various levels in county and local governments to make sound and consistent decisions regarding regional growth and water management;

S       Meeting regulatory state and federal requirements;

S       Defining water conservation plans and builds firmly on the 1998 Groundwater Management Plan prepared for cities and water districts in the Hollister area.


The 1998 Groundwater Management Plan focused on the San Benito County portion of the Gilroy- Hollister Groundwater Basin. The study assessed the condition of this basin in terms of hydrogeology, water budget, and water quality .The reliability and sustainability of the water supply was evaluated, both in terms of existing infrastructure and current and future demands. The regulatory framework of federal, state and local agencies that affect water management in this basin was also discussed. The Groundwater Management Plan that was developed from this study identified several groundwater management objectives and actions and provided an implementation plan to achieve these on a local and regional basis.


The UWMP 2000 incorporates and builds on relevant groundwater management issues that were identified in the Groundwater Management Plan by addressing water supply and demand projections over a 20-year horizon for the urban and agricultural areas that overlie three specific groundwater subbasins.  The UWMP 2000 also develops a Water Conservation Program to continue and expand on activities already underway that will encourage efficient use of municipal water supplies.



Hollister Area UWMP 2000 Recommendations


The development of the UWMP 2000 required detailed investigation and data analysis of existing water demand records in the City of Hollister and Sunnyslope County Water District as well as an evaluation of existing water conservation practices among urban water customers. As a result, the following recommendations are provided to the agencies participating in this UWMP 2000:


S       Continue with plans to construct a water treatment facility that will treat imported San Felipe water to be used as a supplemental potable supply for the City of Hollister and Sunnyslope service areas. This undertaking will allow the Hollister area to make full use of its municipal allocation of imported water and will significantly improve the quality of the potable supply.

S       Hire a Water Conservation Coordinator to work with the sponsoring agencies, with a focus on implementing and facilitating the urban conservation elements of the Water Conservation Program;

S       Evaluate and modify the approval process between the San Benito County Planning Department, the City of Hollister Planning Department, and the jurisdictional water agencies, so that the approval of new development fits into the UWMP planning framework horizon.

S       Continue recent improvements in Sunnyslope CWD's billing/accounting system to track water use by customer categories.

S       Improve the billing/accounting systems in the City of Hollister to improve the accuracy of the customer database and track water use by customer categories.



Chapter 1 -Water Supply and Demand


The Urban Water Management Planning Act requires water-purveying agencies to evaluate water supplies for existing demands and projected demands over the next 20 years. Agencies are to evaluate available supplies for normal years of rainfall, as well as single and multiple dry years to assess what options or contingencies they may have or may have to have in place to satisfy water demands for each of these situations.


The area of study encompassed by this UWMP includes the Hollister East, Hollister West and Tres Pinos subbasins, all located within Zone 6 the area established for imported surface water benefits from the Central Valley Project. This project area, as well as the remaining areas in the Hollister Valley , currently enjoys the benefit of ample water supplies that come from a variety of sources:


S       Imported (San Felipe) Water from the Central Valley Project, which is administered by the U .S. Bureau of Reclamation. San Felipe water deliveries are based on a contract with USBR that contains allocations for both agriculture and municipal and industrial uses;

S       Groundwater Supplies from an extensive aquifer that, in recent years, has recovered significantly from decades of overpumping earlier in the 20th century;

S       Surface Water Recharge from reservoirs that capture runoff from the valley' s upper watershed, and is released in summer months to percolate to the groundwater via  local rivers and creeks;


Agriculture continues to play a dominant role in the Hollister area economy, and existing and future water demands are expected to continue to be greater than that of municipal and industrial water uses. However, Hollister is currently experiencing a strong growth rate in population, as a result of increasing pressure for affordable housing for many workers employed in Silicon Valley's technology firms and its supporting businesses. Silicon Valley is located approximately 50 miles north of Hollister and is considered to be well within a reasonable commuting distance for this area. As the Hollister area's residential population grows, some lands currently used for agriculture will experience a shift to urbanization. However, it is anticipated that the agricultural and urban communities will continue to coexist well into the 21st century, each with its separate patterns of water demand and consumption, and shared water supplies.


As developed and discussed in detail in the UWMP report, the Hollister area should have ample supplies of potable water through the year 2010. The construction of the proposed Hollister Area Water Treatment Plant will ease the demand for groundwater supplies in the near term, thus allowing continued recovery of the groundwater basin. Beyond 2010, groundwater extraction above current levels may be required to satisfy growing water demands. Careful management of groundwater reserves and water savings realized through conservation programs in the near term, should allow for adequate water supplies to meet anticipated growth through the year 2020.



Chapter 2 -Hollister Area Water Conservation Program


Water agencies that act as wholesalers or retailers of water are required by state and federal laws to provide the means to establish and promote water conservation practices in their service areas.


The development of the Hollister Area Urban Water Management Plan 2000 evaluated the water conservation practices currently in place, and prepared a Water Conservation Program that will continue the proactive stance towards efficient and beneficial use of water that has been established in this area.


The California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC), a coalition of urban and environmental water interests was formed almost ten years ago to assist urban water users in fulfilling the spirit and intent of state and federal requirements for efficient water management. The Council has set forth a Best Management Practices (BMP) list of activities that will promote water conservation practices in urban settings.


For the Hollister area, the BMPs were individually evaluated for their applicability and effectiveness in realizing water savings in the Hollister area, as well as their economic viability. Based on guidelines provided by the CUWCC, the expected savings in water use were derived for several BMPs .



Hollister Area Water Conservation Program Implementation – Based on the evaluations of the current Best Management Practices supported by the CUWCC, the following activities are recommended for inclusion in the Hollister Area Water Conservation Program. The Water Conservation Program for the Hollister area was developed to be implemented over a 10-year period.


Residential Incentives and Services – The activities to be undertaken to promote water conservation in residential dwellings will focus on single and multi-family units that were constructed before 1992. Based on information obtained from the 1991 Urban Water Management Plan, there are about 6,300 single-family units and 1,600 multi-family units within the City of Hollister and Sunnyslope's service areas that were constructed prior to 1992. These are likely to contain water plumbing fixtures that are not conducive to water conservation, whereas residential dwelling units constructed after 1992 were subject to a revised Uniform Plumbing Code, which required the installation of low-flow toilets, low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators.


The Water Conservation Program will include the following elements for residential water conservation measures:

1)      Single- and Multi-Family Audits/Surveys

2)      Plumbing Retrofits

3)   Ultra Low-Flow Toilet Replacement


Water Conservation Practices for Retail and Wholesaler Water Service Providers Activities to be undertaken by the three water agencies sponsoring this Water Conservation Program will include:

1)      Hiring a Water Conservation Coordinator

2)      System' Water Audits and Leak Detection

3)      Metering of Demands (for those customers not yet metered)

4)      Plan Checking and Reviews

5)   Conservation Pricing (inclining water rate structure


Commercial, Industrial and Institutional Incentives and Services Activities that will focus on customers will include:


1) Conservation Program for Large Landscape Customers

2) Surveys and Audits for Large Commercial, Industrial and Institutional Accounts


Public Affairs and Outreach – Activities in this area of potential water conservation will focus on school education programs and public information programs to heighten awareness among local young and adult citizens of water as a precious resource and provide education on lifestyle habits and practices that will promote its efficient use.



Chapter 3 -Water Shortage Contingency Plan


The San Benito County Water District, the City of Hollister and Sunnyslope County Water District, have jointly agreed to a preliminary a four-stage rationing plan to be enacted during declared water shortages. This plan includes both voluntary and mandatory rationing, depending on the causes, severity and anticipated duration of the water supply shortage.


The Hollister Area Water Shortage Contingency Plan could be activated by one or a combination of the following triggering mechanisms :

S       Significant reduction in deliveries of San Felipe Water;

S       Prolonged, multi-year drought;

S       Groundwater levels falling below a certain depth in the Hollister East, Hollister

S       West and Tres Pinos groundwater subbasins;

S       Contamination of surface and/or groundwater supplies

S       A disaster loss due to earthquake or other calamity that would destroy or severely disrupt imported water conveyance to the Hollister area.


The priorities for use of available potable water during shortages would be established for all customers according to the following ranking system:


1)      Minimum health and safety allocations for interior residential needs such as: single and multi-family households; hospitals and convalescent facilities; retirement, mobile home communities and student housing, and fire fighting and public safety


2)      Commercial, industrial, institutional/government operations where water is used for manufacturing and for minimum health and safety allocations for employees and visitors, to maintain jobs and economic base of the community


3)      Permanent agriculture --orchards, vineyards and other commercial agriculture which would require at least five years to return to production


4)      Annual agriculture --row crops, floriculture


5)      Existing landscaping


6)       New customers --proposed projects that have not obtained permits at the time a shortage is declared.


The Hollister area water agencies agree that a high degree of social responsibility will play a significant role in the actual allocation of water during a shortage. To this end, the economic impact to employees or other persons dependent on the use of water, such as golf course maintenance workers and row crop harvesters, will be taken into account if water reductions are necessary.



Chapter 4 -Water Recycling


The Hollister urban area wastewater treatment facilities provide secondary treatment at municipal and industrial plants using three-stage ponding systems. The secondary effluent from these facilities is percolated back to the groundwater basin. Thus, the Hollister area has and continues to support a long-standing practice of water recycling.


The levels of treatment provided for wastewater in the Hollister area fall within the permitting requirements of the Regional Water Quality Control Board. However, to meet the more stringent Title 22 requirements for landscape irrigation on local parks, food crops, golf courses, cemeteries and other similar applications, additional treatment facilities would be required. The high levels of TDS in wastewater effluent may preclude reuse of this source even if treatment levels are upgraded and the resulting effluent complies with Title 22 requirements .


When the Hollister Area Water Treatment Plant is built, and San Felipe water becomes a supplemental supply for municipal and industrial uses in the Hollister area, it is expected that the salinity levels and the presence of other minerals will be reduced significantly in both water supply, and subsequently, treated effluent. This anticipated improvement in water quality may, in turn, promote the prospects for expanding the use of recycled water in the rural and urban communities.


Items Completed


As of March 2002, the following items have been completed or in the process of completion as identified in the Hollister Area Urban Water Management Plan 2000.


















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