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
- This task is optional and will only proceed with the facilitator’s recommendation
Task 1 of the Work Plan (Process Initiation) has already been completed. 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 will now move on to Task 2 which consists 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 is intended to gather key information on the following questions concerning stakeholders:
- Who are they? (Citizen, 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 Program, the stakeholder assessment consisted of two components: a series of individual and small group interviews (20 total interviews) 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 provides 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 staff 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:
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, a 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:
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 their 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, reviewed how the assessment findings relate to the IWVGA Communications and Engagement Plan Update that was prepared by the PAC, and the PAC discussed the conditions for a successful collaborative process moving forward.
You can view the meeting on YouTube here.
As a next step, Stantec will be evaluating the conditions for initiating a collaborative process and making a recommendation on how to move forward. We are hoping you can spend 5-10 minutes of your time to share input on the extent to which the collaborative conditions for success are present in the basin. This input will help to inform Stantec’s recommendations.
Survey responses are requested by Monday, December 12, 2022.
Please complete the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3KKTLRR