DWR Facilitation Services
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) offers Facilitation Support Services (FSS) to help Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) and local water management groups foster discussions among diverse water management interests and jurisdictions in support of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) implementation. Through the FSS Program, the Indian Wells Valley Water District (IWVWD) requested professional facilitation to support the basin in discussing challenges related to SGMA, the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP), and the multiple related lawsuits that have been filed, and to assist the community to understand and clarify the issues being faced in order to help discussions focus on constructive solutions moving forward. Stantec is a neutral third-party facilitator working on behalf of DWR in the Indian Wells Valley basin to gather input and guidance from local stakeholders to identify and clarify the challenges being faced related to local groundwater management.
As part of the FSS process, a Planning Committee was formed to support the development of a Work Plan that guides the Planning Committee’s efforts. The Planning Committee serves as an advisory group to support the Stantec facilitators in engaging basin stakeholders to explore issues and concerns related to groundwater management in the basin. Members of the Planning Committee serve at the pleasure of the IWVWD and were selected based on the member organization’s interests and recommendations. The following organizations make up a membership on the Planning Committee:
- United States Navy
- Indian Wells Valley Water District
- Searles Valley Minerals
- Mojave Pistachios
- Meadowbrook Dairy
Indian Wells Valley Planning Committee Work Plan
(click here to view the plan)
The Work Plan timeline consists of three key tasks:
- Process Initiation (April 2022 – May 2022)
- Committee formation and facilitation
- Stakeholder Assessment (May 2022 – July 2022)
- 20 one-on-one or small-group interviews
- Online survey
- Public Meetings (July 2022 – December 2022)
- Committee meetings, public workshops, and presentations
Task 1 of the Work Plan (Process Initiation) was completed on schedule. The Planning Committee was formed, and a Work Plan was created to help define committee goals and decision-making processes. A public meeting was held on May 17th to share the Work Plan and give updates on recent milestones in the FSS process. With the completion of Task 1, the Work Plan moved to Task 2 which consisted of a stakeholder assessment. The purpose of a stakeholder assessment is to evaluate the needs and conditions of a project as they relate to stakeholders and the community, identify any non-technical risks, and determine the best engagement techniques for the circumstances.
A stakeholder assessment gathers key information on the following questions concerning stakeholders:
- Who are they? (Community Member, Partner, Provider, Regulator)
- What do they care about?
- Who are their trusted messengers?
- What are the best ways (how) to connect with them?
- When should we talk to them / sensitivity?
- What do we need to know from them?
For this FSS Task Order, the stakeholder assessment consisted of two components: a series of individual and small group interviews (20 total interviews with 47 participants) and an online survey open to all members of the community. A link to the online survey was distributed through social media outlets and was made available on the IWVWD webpage. In total, the survey was open for an 11-day period and closed on August 19th, 2022. The survey provided an opportunity for members of the community to share feedback on the local groundwater management challenges being faced and provide input on the potential options the basin should consider moving forward.
May 17, 2022 Presentation
On May 17, 2022, the Indian Wells Valley Water District hosted a public meeting to share information about the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Facilitation Support Services (FSS) program and to present the DWR Facilitation Support Services Planning Committee Work Plan and answer questions related to the work plan. During the meeting, DWR Deputy Director Paul Gosselin also provided an overview of the DWR Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) Evaluation Process and Expectations for Sustainable Groundwater Management (SGMA) implementation and responded to questions from meeting participants. The PowerPoint presentations and the meeting recording can be found by accessing the links below:
Facilitation Introduction | SGMA Overview Presentation by DWR
You may view the meeting on YouTube here.
October 4, 2022, Workshop
On October 4, 2022, the Indian Wells Valley Water District hosted a public workshop to share findings from community interviews and surveys conducted by Stantec, the neutral third-party facilitator working on behalf of DWR in the Indian Wells Valley basin. From July through September 2022, Stantec staff conducted a stakeholder assessment consisting of a series of interviews (20 total) and an online, community-side survey. The interviews and surveys provided an opportunity for members of the community to share feedback on the local groundwater management challenges being faced and provide input on the potential options the basin should consider moving forward. The purpose of the public workshop was to share the high-level findings from the interviews and surveys, gather feedback from community members on their observations, and discuss the next steps based on the assessment results. The PowerPoint presentations and the meeting recording can be found by accessing the links below:
Summary of Stakeholder Assessment Findings
You may view the meeting on YouTube here.
November 30, 2022, Presentation
On November 30, 2022, the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (IWVGA) Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) hosted a special meeting to discuss the findings from the stakeholder assessment conducted by Stantec, a neutral third-party facilitator working on behalf of DWR in the Indian Wells Valley basin. From July through September 2022, Stantec conducted a stakeholder assessment that included small group interviews and a survey, to gather information on the community’s views. The goal was to collect input and guidance from local stakeholders on their groundwater management challenges and their thoughts on ways to support the community in finding common ground and constructive water management options. On October 4, 2022, Stantec presented its findings and asked the public to validate and augment what was learned through the assessment. During the November 30th PAC special meeting, Stantec summarized the discussion from the October workshop and reviewed how the assessment findings related to the draft IWVGA Communications and Engagement Plan Update prepared by the PAC. The facilitator also led a discussion with the PAC to discuss the conditions for a successful collaborative process moving forward.
You can view the meeting on YouTube here.
February 13, 2023 Presentation
The Stantec facilitators presented at the Indian Wells Valley Water District (IWVWD) February 13, 2023, regularly scheduled Board meeting. During the session, they discussed the conditions necessary for a successful collaborative process and recommended the next steps. Their recommendations were based on the stakeholder assessment and follow-up outreach conducted by the Stantec facilitators from July through December 2022. During the assessment, they gathered community input on the groundwater management challenges being faced in the groundwater basin and potential options to support the community in finding common ground. Stantec had previously presented a first round of assessment findings at a IWVWD publicly noticed workshop on October 4, 2022, and later provided an augmented presentation during an Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (IWVGA) Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) special meeting held November 30, 2022. Additional feedback on the collaborative conditions for success was gathered during the IWVGA PAC meeting and via a survey distributed to the IWVGA PAC, DWR FSS Planning Committee, and through the IWVWD Facebook and listserv.
During the February 13th presentation, Stantec summarized the final findings, highlighting the gaps that would inhibit progress. In the final presentation, they recapped the work they had conducted during the course of the project and focused on a discussion of the conditions needed for a collaborative process to be successful. They then offered potential next steps. The facilitators recommended not moving forward with a formal collaborative effort at this time but suggested the basin revisit the potential for collaborative processes as conditions change in the future. This presentation concluded the tasks associated with the Department of Water Resources Facilitation Support Services work plan. The facilitators expressed appreciation for the IWVWD staff and Board as well as the Planning Committee and many community members that contributed to the assessment.
Copies of meeting materials can be found here.
February 28, 2023 Highlights Report
At the conclusion of their work, the Stantec Facilitators prepared a Highlights report to recap the work accomplished under the Department of Water Resources Facilitation Support Services Task Order that provided assistance to the Indian Wells Valley Water District (IWVWD). The Highlights provide an overview of each work plan task and summarizes the key findings of the effort’s stakeholder assessment. It also provides an overview of suggestions made to the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority Public Advisory Committee regarding their draft communications plan. The report closes with a summary of the analysis provided to the IWVWD regarding the conditions necessary to move forward with a collaborative process, an overview of the accomplishments of the past year, and recommendations for moving forward.
Copies of the report can be found here.