2021 Groundwater Pumping and Conveyance Project


SCH Number
Public Agency
Westlands Water District
Document Title
2021 Groundwater Pumping and Conveyance Project
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The Project includes executing a one-year Warren Act contract with the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and a one-year State Water Project Analysis Office (SWPAO) Agreement with the Department of Water Resources to convey up to 30,000 acre-feet of groundwater in the San Luis Canal (SLC) in 2021. The Project would allow well owners within the District to pump groundwater into the SLC, using existing pipelines and integration locations, for delivery and use on other land in the District, or to temporarily store it in San Luis Reservoir to meet peak summer crop demands and guard against water shortages in 2022. Per USBR’s Water Quality Monitoring Plan (usbr.gov/mp/nepa/includes/documentShow.php?Doc_ID=46945; see Appendix B) for the Project, water quality testing and groundwater level monitoring will be performed routinely. The District’s action on the Project is for one year in response to emergency conditions, which are demonstrated by, among other factors, the limited amount of water available from the Central Valley Project, and the 5% water allocation to South of Delta Agricultural Contractors, including the District, which is not available for delivery until further notice from USBR. The District anticipates the USBR will rely upon its recent approval of the Five-Year Warren Act for Westlands Water District Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact (CGB-EA-2020-032 and CGB-FONSI-2020-032, respectively) to support execution of the one-year Warren Act contract.

Contact Information

Russ Freeman
Agency Name
Westlands Water District
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency / Project Applicant


Fresno, Kings
Total Acres
State Highways
33, 145, 180, 198, 269
San Luis Canal

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Declared Emergency
Type, Section or Code
Sec. 21080(b)(3); 15269(a)
Reasons for Exemption
Westlands Water District has determined that this project is exempt from CEQA pursuant to Public Resources Code Section 21080 (b)(3) and CEQA Guidelines Section 15269(a) for the following reasons: On May 10, 2021, Governor Newsom declared a State of Emergency (Proclamation) to address the severe drought condition, in particular the Central Valley. Government Code section 8571 authorizes the Governor to suspend certain regulatory requirements, including CEQA, under emergency conditions. The Proclamation orders the State “to expeditiously consider requests to move water to areas of need, including requests involving voluntary water transfers, forbearance agreements, water exchanges, or other means,” and suspends CEQA for purposes of carrying out or approving this and other directives. The Project will carry out this directive and will prevent or mitigate the impacts of the drought emergency. The Project also is statutorily exempt from CEQA pursuant to Public Resources Code section 21080(b)(4) and CEQA Guidelines section 15269(c) because it involves specific actions necessary to prevent or mitigate the drought emergency. The Project also is categorically exempt from CEQA pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15301 because it involves operation of existing facilities with no or negligible expansion of use.
County Clerks
Fresno, Kings


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