Alternative Plan Update

Learn more and follow the for 2022 Mission Creek Subbasin Alternative Plan Update planning process.

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) in medium- or high-priority groundwater subbasins to have an approved Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) or Alternative Plan to manage the subbasin. The Mission Creek Subbasin, which was designated as medium-priority by the State of California Department of Water Resources (DWR), is unique in that it is one of only nine subbasins throughout the State with an approved Alternative Plan. SGMA also requires that GSAs be established to develop and implement the Alternative Plan. In the Mission Creek Subbasin, the two GSAs are the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) and the Desert Water Agency (DWA). The two agencies are also working together with Mission Springs Water District (MSWD) as the Mission Creek Subbasin Management Committee (see Home > Management Committee page) to prepare an update to their approved Alternative Plan.

Overview of Alternative Plan

The Mission Creek Subbasin Management Area was initially formed in 2003 when CVWD and DWA entered into the Mission Creek Groundwater Replenishment Agreement for the cooperative management of groundwater replenishment.  The Mission Creek Subbasin Management Committee was formed as a result of the 2004 Settlement Agreement which also resulted in the agreement to jointly prepare a Water Management Plan for the Mission Creek Subbasin and Garnet Hill Subarea of the Indio Subbasin. The 2013 Mission Creek/Garnet Hill Water Management Plan (2013 MC/GH WMP) was prepared for the Mission Creek Subbasin and Garnet Hill Subarea of the Indio Subbasin as required by the 2004 Settlement Agreement (see Home > History of Groundwater Planning page) to address the water management needs of these areas. In 2016, the SGMA Bridge Document was developed to demonstrate that the 2013 Mission Creek/Garnet Hill Water Management Plan (2013 MC/GH WMP) is functionally equivalent to the requirements for a GSP. The Bridge Document described how the 2013 Mission Creek/Garnet Hill Water Management Plan meets each of the requirements of SGMA.

The Mission Creek Subbasin Management Committee developed the following Mission Statement:

“The purpose of the Mission Creek and Garnet Hill Water Management Plan is to manage the water resources to meet demands reliably and protect water quality in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.”

The 2013 MC/GH WMP water management objectives are shown below.

The water management objectives of the 2013 Mission Creek/Garnet Hill Water Management Plan are to:
• Meet current and future demands with a 10% supply buffer
• Eliminate long-term groundwater overdraft
• Manage and protect water quality
• Comply with state and federal laws and regulations
• Manage future costs

In January 2017, the Mission Creek Subbasin Management Committee collaboratively submitted the 2013 Mission Creek/Garnet Hill Water Management Plan and supporting materials as an Alternative Plan for the Mission Creek Subbasin. The Alternative Plan was approved by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) on July 17, 2019. With this approval, DWR made several recommendations for new information and a requirement that the first Alternative Plan Update be prepared by January 1, 2022.

The Alternative Plan is available for review here. Key reports are shown below.

2013 WMP and Alternative Plan Bridge
Graphic for Reports Tab – 2013 WMP and Alternative Plan Bridge Document cover

Alternative Plan Update

SGMA requires that GSPs and Alternative Plans be updated every five years. DWR has given the GSAs a deadline of January 1, 2022 for submittal of the Mission Creek Subbasin Alternative Plan Update. The Mission Creek Subbasin Management Committee is currently working on the Mission Creek Subbasin Alternative Plan Update to ensure population growth, land use changes, and other future conditions are incorporated into water management planning in the region. The Alternative Plan Update will analyze groundwater pumping and recharge volumes (the subbasin’s “water balance”), amongst other components, to understand the progress of the Alternative Plan in attaining groundwater sustainability. The Alternative Plan Update will also review and assess the groundwater management projects and strategies that the agencies have been implementing since the 2013 MC/GH WMP. This assessment will help the agencies to understand which management strategies are working to achieve their goals (see Call-Out box above) and how they might update them to ensure subbasin sustainability under future conditions.

The Mission Creek Subbasin Management Committee may make other changes in the Alternative Plan Update to ensure the plan meets SGMA requirements and that DWR recommendations have been considered.

Plan Reports & Resources

As the Alternative Plan Update moves forward, reports and materials that are created for the planning process will be uploaded here.

Common Acronyms
CVWD = Coachella Valley Water District
DWA = Desert Water Agency
DWR = California Department of Water Resources
GSA = Groundwater Sustainability Agency
GSP = Groundwater Sustainability Plan
MSWD = Mission Springs Water District
SGMA = Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Document TitleLink to Document
Communication & Engagement PlanPDF
Date & TimeNameLocationMeeting Materials
July 15, 2020
3:00-4:30 PM
Public Workshop #1
(Virtual)
Join Microsoft Teams Meeting
+1 949-522-5848   United States, Irvine (Toll)
Conference ID: 685 500 518#
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MCSB Workshop 1 Presentation
October 22, 2020
3:00-4:30 PM
Public Workshop #2
(Virtual)
Join Microsoft Teams Meeting
+1 949-522-5848   United States, Irvine (Toll)
Conference ID: 600 485 024#
Local numbers | Reset PIN | Learn more about Teams | Meeting options
MCSB Workshop 2 Presentation

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