Beaumont Morongo Tribe 2010 Water Agreement
Agreement highlights that Beaumont is Diluting their Sewer Water with Drinking Water to produce ‘Tertiary Treated Water Equivalent’.
City/Tribe 09 21 2010 Agreement
On September 21, 2010 the Beaumont City Council Approved a Cooperative Memorandum with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. To put the Agreement into perspective; the City withdrew from STWMA on August 17, 2010 and the State Water Board had already rescinded the ARRA Funds for the Purple Pipes.
The Agreement exchanges 50% of Beaumont’s imaginary storage space in the Beaumont Basin and states that the City will help the Tribe obtain imported water from the State. The imported water would then be used to dilute Beaumont’s sewage to pass State Water Board standards for ‘tertiary treated water equivalent’ instead of actually treating their sewage to produce recycled water.
The City of Beaumont has no water rights, is not a purveyor of water, and can not “purchase some of all of such water” from the Morongo Tribe.
The Tribe purchased water rights in the Beaumont Basin when they purchased the golf course. The Tribe also owns their own Water District in the Cabazon Area, East of Beaumont. The Tribe is entitled to a seat on Watermaster and should be talking directly with the San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency to purchase imported water.
But more importantly; the Agreement highlights that Beaumont does not produce anything resembling recycled water. The City had/has a permit from the State Water Quality Control Board to discharge tertian treated water, but the City is diluting their sewer water with potable/drinkable water – thereby wasting drinking water and not producing ‘tertiary treated’ recycled water at all.
Below is the Staff Report signed by former City Manager Alan Kapanicas on September 21, 2010.
Beaumont City Council Staff Report
The State of California Regional Water Quality Control Board has made the City of Beaumont solely responsible for the protection of water quality in the Beaumont Groundwater Basin, including sole obligation to implement programs which promote the ‘maximum benefit use’ of water in the Basin. This is because the Regional Board regulates the discharge of water from the Beaumont Wastewater Treatment Plan and because Beaumont is currently the only pubic agency with a permit to discharge recycled water in the Beaumont Management Zone which overlies the Basin. This is very important public trust which goes to the heart of the most basic public responsibility, the provision of an abundant and clean source of water to serve an expanding region. It is an obligation of the highest order to protect a resource as regionally important as the Beaumont Groundwater Basin.
As a member of the Beaumont Basin Watermaster, the City also has obligations to manage groundwater in the Basin. The Watermaster was established by the Riverside Superior Court in Case No. RIC 389197 to preserve water rights, protect water quality and encourage water conservation. One of the functions of Watermaster is to administer agreements which allow the storage of water in the Basin. The City and Watermaster have an agreement which establishes Beaumont’s right to store 22,000 acre feet of water in the Beaumont Groundwater Basin. It is currently has approximately 350 acre feet of water in storage from the discharge of recycled water in storage helps maintain groundwater levels in the basin and helps protect water quality in the San Timoteo Groundwater Basin which is downstream form the Beaumont Groundwater Basin.
In the past, the City has recognized that high quality water imported from northern California which is recharged into the Beaumont Groundwater Basin helps meet its obligations to dilute salts, nitrogen, and other pollutants in the Basin. It is recognized that imported water helps keep a downward pressure on future water treatment costs, and helps the region meet its future demand for reliable water supplies which are projected to be needed in addition to local sup pies and existing entitlements to imported water available through the State Water Project. For example, the City and San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency have entered into a Cooperative Agreement which encourages the recharge of high quality imported water into the Basin and conservation of local water supplies. Like the Agency, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians also has plans to import high quality water into the Beaumont Basin, which if come to fruition, will also benefit Beaumont and the region. Morongo has requested the cooperation of the City in this regard to help plan for the future delivery and storage of high quality imported water, including storing the water in the City’s storage account which is administered by Watermaster.
The proposed Cooperative Memorandum is a non-definitive, yet historic and important agreement between the City of Beaumont and Morongo Band of Mission Indians to cooperatively plan ways to protect and preserve one of the most valuable natural resources in the region, the Beaumont Groundwater Basin. The agreement provides assurances to Morongo that it has a partner who will cooperate with them as they continue to expand their commitment to the protection of vital natural resources and to the provision of regionally significant water supplies. The Agreement also provides assurances to the citizens of Beaumont that they have a partner to help them meet their obligations to conserve water supplies for generations to come.
Elements of the agreement include the reservation of fifty percent of Beaumont’s 22,000 acre feet of storage in the Beaumont Groundwater Basin for use by Morongo at such time as Morongo arranges for the delivery of high quality imported water into the Basin. The agreement would start the planning process of expanding the storage account to ultimately provide for 50,000 acre feet of storage for Morongo. In exchange for storage rights, Beaumont would receive all the water quality and water conservation benefits from the imported water supply which help it meet its obligations to the Regional Board as set forth in the City’s waste discharge permit.
Staff recommends APPROVAL of the Project Progress Report and Cooperative Memorandum and AUTHORIZATION of the Mayor to execute the Project Progress Report and Cooperative Memorandum subject to the authority of the City Attorney to make non-substantive changes.
CITY OF BEAUMONT