Reasons for Exemption
The execution of the Agreement effectuating the exchange of non-SWP Water from the Agency to Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency is statutorily exempt from substantive CEQA review under State CEQA Guidelines section 15282(u), which exempts temporary changes in the point of diversion, place of use, of purpose of use due to a transfer or exchange of water or water rights. Here, the proposed Project involves the exchange of a certain amount of the Agency’s SWP Table A water or non-SWP water for the year 2023. The Project merely changes the place of use, and does not involve construction of any additional facilities to service the Project. As the Project involves a one year exchange, it also satisfies the definition of “temporary change” pursuant to Water Code section 1728.
Additionally, the Project is categorically exempt from environmental review under CEQA pursuant to State CEQA Guidelines section 15301 (Class 1 – Existing Facilities), which exempts from further CEQA review the operation of existing public structures, involving negligible or no expansion of use beyond that existing at the time of the lead agency’s determination. The Project will use existing facilities and will not require the construction of additional facilities to affect the delivery of the SWP Table A or non-SWP water.
Finally, the Project is exempt pursuant to State CEQA Guidelines section 15061(b)(3) which exempts those activities for which it can be seen with certainty that there is no potential to result in significant environmental effects. The Project involves the transfer of an existing allocation of water within existing facilities.