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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 12:16 pm | Fair 62º


Goleta Water District Homes In On Groundwater Management Plan

Board tackles aquifer contingencies in case of drought, will take up health-care benefits for directors Dec. 29.

The Goleta Water District Board on Friday considered a proposal from groundwater expert Steven Bachman for the district’s official groundwater management plan.

The nearly one-year, $87,000 project includes research into the history and use of the Goleta Central Basin, analysis, public outreach and review during the plan’s first year.

The cost of the project would be split between the two major pumpers of the aquifer, the Goleta Water District and the La Cumbre Mutual Water District. There are several other, private, users of the basin — some have been incorporated into the GWD’s system, but others have yet to be identified and informed of the proposed groundwater management plan.

Goleta’s groundwater supplies the district in times of drought. The level of water in the basin figures heavily in the water district’s SAFE ordinance, which dictates when and how much water can be allocated for new development, but there is still disagreement as to how the groundwater supply is measured.

Meanwhile, the directors also deliberated over their options regarding health-care plans. Director Larry Mills, who has had the benefit, suggested cutting the board out of the agency’s health-care plan, a move that could save the district 3 percent in funds during the next year.

Board president Bert Bertrando and director Lauren Hansen were favorable toward the move, but director Bill Rosen was skeptical, saying the insurance should be available to those who need it. He has made it clear he will not be participating in any health-care plans offered by the district.

Director Jack Cunningham, however, receives partial benefits, and so withheld his opinion on the matter until it can be clarified further at a special meeting at 10 a.m. Dec. 29, when the board is expected to make its decision.

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