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981 H Street, Suite 110
Crescent City,

SB 552 - County Drought Resilience Plan Development

County Drought Resilience Plan Development

Senate Bill 552 requires all counties to improve drought and water shortage preparedness for state small water systems and domestic wells within a county’s jurisdiction by developing a County Drought Resilience Plan (County DRP).  Plan elements must include:

    Potential drought and water shortage risk

    Proposed interim and long-term solutions for state smalls and domestic wells in the county.

Consider at a minimum:

    Consolidations for existing water systems and domestic wells

    Domestic well drinking water mitigation programs (e.g. well rehabilitation, assistance programs) 

    Provision of emergency and interim drinking water solutions

    An analysis of the steps necessary to implement the plan

    An analysis of funding sources available to implement the plan

The Department of Water Resource, through a stakeholder task force, prepared the County Drought Resilience Plan Guidebook which provides guidance on all elements including how to complete a vulnerability assessment that informs short-term response actions and long-term mitigation strategies and actions, examples of short-term response items and long term mitigation actions, and how to implement and maintain the County Drought Resilience Plan.   Additionally, SB 552 directed DWR to maintain and update its Water Shortage Vulnerability Scoring and Tool for counties to use in the plan preparation.  DWR created the Water Shortage Vulnerability Explorer tool which is accessible at the DWR website. 

Request for Membership in a County Drought and Water Shortage Task Force

Under SB 552, each county in the state is required to establish a standing county drought and water shortage task force to facilitate drought and water shortage preparedness for state small water systems (5 to 14 service connections) and individual domestic wells within the county’s jurisdiction.  Furthermore, each county is to have a drought resilience plan to assist in carrying out the preparedness efforts.  The County is the recipient of technical assistance from the Department of Water Resources to help prepare a drought resilience plan.  Stantec, a private engineering consultant, is contracted with the state to provide the assistance and will be working directly with the County and the task force to create the plan. 

At the August 22, 2023, Board of Supervisors Meeting, the Board authorized the Task Force to be established under the Natural Resources and Environmental Coordination Technical Advisory Committee. It is at this time, the County seeks interest from members of the public who may have an interest in participating in the task force.  While anyone who is interested may be included, Stantec has asked for individuals with knowledge/expertise in the following subjects to participate:

o    Public members to capture the perspective of domestic well owners or owners of small water systems

o    Local water suppliers, as they support long-term mitigation strategy and actions and short-term response actions.

o    Individuals with local knowledge of:

o    Climate change

o    Sea level rise

o    Current conditions (rainfall, subsidence, fractured rock areas)

o    Well infrastructure

o    Observed outages

o    Nonprofits that have a goal to provide accessible and safe water supplies to communities

o    Access and functional needs representatives who can help target special water needs

o    Tribal partners who can bring knowledge, data and science and valuable perspectives to the table

o    Environmental and resource specialists such as hydrology specialists, but also natural and cultural resource subject matter experts

The following members have already been identified to participate:

o    Community Development Department, Environmental Health Division as the local primacy agency for overseeing the state small water systems and individual domestic wells.

o    County emergency management specialists

o    Leadership from county government that sets or communicates priorities

o    County planning staff

Membership will be ongoing until staff receives direction from the NREC TAC.  The immediate role and responsibility of members will be to participate in up to four Task Force-specific meetings.  They are:

o    Meeting 1 (Kick-off): review expectations/process for developing the County Drought Resilience Plan

o    Meeting 2: review Risk Assessment Findings

o    Meeting 3: discuss the feasible short-term response actions and the long-term mitigation strategies and actions to include in the County Drought Resilience Plan

o    Meeting 4: review the draft County Drought Resilience Plan

The final County Drought Resilience Plan will be presented to the County Board of Supervisors.  The Task Force will remain in place and may contribute to the following:

o    Sharing findings and recommendations related to drought and water shortage planning efforts with the community

o    Providing briefings to the Board of Supervisors

o    Facilitating proactive planning and coordination across ongoing or anticipated county efforts to minimize the occurrence of water shortage events

o    Monitoring drought conditions to initiate reasonable short-term response actions

o    Sharing regulatory requirements/updates and implementation

o    Sharing/pursuing funding opportunities for water shortage planning

It is expected the Task Force will meet 2 to 4 times per year unless there is a need to meet more frequently.  

Please send any interest in membership to

Heidi Kunstal

Community Development Department Director
981 H Street, Suite 110  |  Crescent City, CA 95531
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