Groundwater Assessment and Protection (GAP)

Announcements/Public Notices

Water Board contracts with U.S. Geological Survey to test domestic wells in Salinas and Pajaro Valleys

Six Month CCAMP-GAP update to the Water Board – Excerpted from Item 22: Executive Officer’s Report to the Board for Regular Meeting of January 31/February 1, 2013

Program Description and Background

The Groundwater Assessment and Protection program (GAP or CCAMP-GAP) is a new and integral component of the Central Coast Ambient Monitoring Program (CCAMP), the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s regionally scaled water quality monitoring and assessment program. The purpose of the program is to provide scientific information to Regional Board staff, local water agencies and water purveyors, and the public, to protect, restore, and enhance the quality of the waters of central California.

Reliance on Groundwater - Basis of Need

Over eighty percent of the people living on the Central Coast rely on groundwater for their drinking water and other uses. A regional groundwater monitoring program is essential to identify areas of potentially unsafe drinking water supply, measure individual groundwater basin health, and determine the effectiveness of our efforts to protect and improve groundwater quality.

Regional Monitoring – It’s a Collaborative Process

Many local agencies monitor groundwater quality to some degree, or have the potential to do so, and there is a great opportunity for the Water Board to coordinate and leverage these local efforts into a state-of-the-art groundwater protection program. We realize that our success in protecting groundwater for future generations depends on coordinating and leveraging the efforts of local agencies and other state agencies in a mutually beneficial way, and this is a primary purpose of CCAMP-GAP.

Water Board staff will facilitate capture of existing and future data from other agencies and its management via the State Board’s GAMA GeoTracker database, making the CCAMP-GAP data readily available to the public and other regulatory agencies. We will use the data from CCAMP-GAP to determine groundwater health and trends throughout the basins in the Central Coast region. The data will also help define our highest priorities, identify and support appropriate Water Board actions, and measure our performance in achieving our Vision and Measurable Goal for Clean Groundwater.

This strategic collaborative approach is intended to eliminate potential redundancy and duplication of local, regional and statewide efforts.

Healthy Watersheds Assessment – The Bigger Picture

In an effort to measure our performance in achieving our Vision of Healthy Watersheds, one of our primary goals is to integrate regional groundwater data with available surface water quality/supply data and physical landscape data from CCAMP and other sources to conduct an ongoing assessment of overall watershed function and health. In doing so, we will be able to better understand and protect the various interrelated watershed processes that are necessary to sustain the economic, environmental and social diversity of the Central Coast Region.

Special Projects – Beyond Just Data Collection and Assessment

CCAMP-GAP will also implement or support special projects to evaluate, restore, or protect the beneficial uses of groundwater and protect public health, such as providing information and free groundwater sampling to domestic well owners so they can assess their groundwater quality and take appropriate actions to protect their own health and welfare.

Funding – A Sustainable Approach

CCAMP-GAP is primarily funded by a private endowment held with the Bay Foundation of Morro Bay. Water Board staff will also be pursuing available grant and matching funds from other sources to supplement the program. Our goal is to build a comprehensive and transparent program that measures the physical condition of our groundwater basins over the long term, and reaching this goal will require significant increases in funding over time.

For additional information please click on the CCAMP-GAP Document links below.

CCAMP-GAP Documents

Supporting Documents

Special Projects

Domestic Well Project

Salinas and Pajaro Valley Project 2012/2013 (Preliminary Results)– The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) sampled 90 household taps associated with shallow wells with an emphasis on private domestic wells (i.e., well providing drinking water to a single household) in the Salinas and Pajaro Valleys on behalf of the Water Board between October 2012 and May 2013. The USGS conducted focused door-to-door outreach to solicit participation in the voluntary program. The USGS tested water samples for a suite of parameters/constituents including nitrate plus nitrite and arsenic. Preliminary evaluations of the data indicate that 29 of the 90, or about 32 percent, of the household tap samples exceeded the drinking water standard of 10 mg/L for nitrate plus nitrite (as nitrogen), and that 5 of the 90, or about 5.5 percent, of the household tap samples exceed the drinking water standard for arsenic of 10 mg/L.  It should be noted that nitrate plus nitrite is essentially equivalent to nitrate given the relatively low incidence and transient nature of nitrite (i.e., nitrite typically represents less than 1 percent of the total nitrate plus nitrite value).

The USGS provided the Water Board with a set of Tap Owner Reports containing the “preliminary” water quality results on December 4, 2013 for distribution to the project participants.  The USGS data will not be “final” until it has been published in an agency approved report.  The forthcoming USGS report and subsequent upload of the data into the State Water Board’s GeoTracker GAMA groundwater information system is not anticipated until the spring/summer of 2014.  The Central Coast Water Board mailed out the Tap Owner Reports and supporting information to the project participants on December 20, 2013.  The Tap Owner Reports, transmittal letter and supporting information are available below:

The following map shows the household tap sampling locations, as identified by the GAMA ID number within the Tap Owner Reports, relative to the USGS study area and grid cells.

A fact sheet containing a more detailed analysis of the water quality data from this project is forthcoming and will be posted on this website.

Go to the following for additional information:

Small Water System Mapping and Nitrate Data

Monterey County Local and State Small Water Systems

The figures presented in the link below were created using information that is available on the Monterey County Health Department’s Drinking Water Protection Services website with the permission of the Monterey County Health Department.

A local small water system serves 2-4 residential connections, and a state small water system serves 5-14 residential connections. There are currently 694 local small and 276 state small water systems in Monterey County.

These figures are for informational purposes only. Nitrate concentration color coded areas represent service areas (parcels served) for drinking water systems as noted by the system ID number (e.g., 270XXXX). Data represents as-served nitrate concentration from one or more supply wells and does not represent the areal extent of nitrate contamination in groundwater. Data may not be representative of other wells in the area given water quality can vary among wells near each other due to differences in well construction, including well depth.

If you are not served by a permitted water system, it is recommended you have your well sampled for nitrate and other drinking water parameters to evaluate the quality of your drinking water. Contact Monterey County Environmental Health Bureau, at (831) 755-4500, for information regarding specific water systems and water quality analytical testing services.

The link below is to an overview map for the entire county with grid cells hyperlinked to more focused area maps. To view a map focused on an area of interest, click on the appropriate grid cell. Navigate to adjacent maps by clicking on the grid cell number along the outside edge of the map, or navigate back to the overview map by clicking on the grid cell map box in the legend below the map.

Related/Useful Links

The following list is a compilation of website links to various programs, entities and information related to groundwater and/or drinking water issues. This is not an exhaustive or complete list. For a list of Central Coast Water Board program links go to Central Coast Vision, Water Issues, and Programs.

This is not an exhaustive list and many of the provided links are cross-referenced within other links.

State Agencies/Programs

  • California Department of Pesticide Regulation – Groundwater Protection Program
  • California Dept. of Pesticide Regulation – Pesticide Use Reporting (PUR)
  • California Water Quality Monitoring Council
  • Local Agencies/Programs within the Central Coast Region

    Drinking Water Programs within the Central Coast Region (County level)

    Federal Agencies/Programs

    Funding Information/Opportunities

    Private Entities, Associations and Non-Profits

    Educational Materials

    • Leaping Media Groundwater Video

    Email Distribution List

    Help us do more to protect our shared groundwater resources with your charitable donation.

    To donate, please make your check payable to the Central Coast Ambient Monitoring Program –Groundwater Assessment and Protection (CCAMP-GAP) Funds, care of The Bay Foundation at 601 Embarcadero, Suite 11, Morro Bay, CA 93442.

    Subscribe to our Subscribe directly to the Groundwater Assessment and Protection (GAP) Email List email list to receive notifications and the latest updates.

    Contact Information

    If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this website or the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Groundwater Assessment and Protection Program please contact Julia Dyer via email or phone at 805-542-4624.