A water element is a self-contained document that identifies and articulates goals, policies, and objectives for the multiple uses of water. It can address all or some of these uses, such as water supply, wastewater, water quality, stormwater management, flood management, watershed management, protection of habitat, and erosion control. It does not dictate land use planning; it informs land use planning. The Calaveras County General Plan Water Element (Water Element), when completed, will consist of two primary documents: (i) Water and Wastewater Supplemental Baseline Data Report (completed as a supplement to the February 2008 General Plan Baseline Report); and (ii) A Water Element Policy Document, stating the goals, policies, and implementation plan.
The purpose of the Calaveras County General Plan Update is to define current policies for everything from land use to public safety to noise, and water that will be implemented over the next 25 years. Historically, water has been addressed in different elements of a general plan, such as in public facilities, natural resources, conservation, and open space elements. However, in recent years communities all over California are recognizing the need for more focused attention on water policies.
Here in Calaveras County issues such as water reliability, development, water quality, septic system failure, wastewater treatment and disposal constraints, and watershed and habitat protection are already affecting present and future water planning. By integrating these various aspects in a water element there is greater opportunity for: improving the linkage between land use decisions and water planning; standardizing services; increasing public awareness; and improving opportunities for state and federal grant funding. And this integration will minimize water related problems of the past and increase opportunities where water can be utilized more effectively, disposed of more efficiently, and relied upon for healthy economic development throughout the County.