The Kings River East Groundwater Sustainability Agency held Thursday, November 21, 2019 at the Dinuba City Hall. Chairman and Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendez called the meeting to order at 2:00pm. We started with saluting our great nation’s flag and found out there were no conflicts of interest lurking beneath the surface of an otherwise innocuous meeting. Today’s meeting didn’t start out with a bang. It wasn’t until item 9.2 for things to warm up.
Item 9.2 was the Groundwater Sustainability Plan update. KREGSA Executive Director Chad Wegley said public outreach has been very good. Item 9.2.1 was the Kings Sub Basin Coordination Agreement. All seven of the GSAs in the Kings Sub Basin have finally worked out their differences and it has been a long haul to get there.
Without a coordination agreement the State Department of Water Resources will not accept a GSP from a sub basin with more than one GSA. Having multiple GSPs from a single sub basin using different terms would be impossible to understand and approve. Attorney and noted speaker Lauren Layne said one of the things that took a little longer in developing the coordination agreement was they started by working out a dispute resolution first; while they were all still friends. Good for them.
Adriana Renteria, Community Water Center of Visalia said congratulations on the hard work and offered ways to improve the coordination agreement by adding water quality impacts to any rewriting of the sustainability goals. She said monitoring of more shallow wells would also help in drinking water quality.
Next Renteria commented on the GSP saying the water budget be revised to include missing data important to drinking water users. She also wanted to the sustainable levels to include groundwater impacts when they are achieved. The plan should include more than nitrates and keep any eye on other constituents that can harm drinking water qualities. She praised Wegley for the detail to attention and thanked the board for their time.
Nichol Zieba, City Manager of Reedley also commented and thanked Wegley for the hard work to get the coordination agreement together. She said there are new laws coming down where Governor Gavin Newsom is pushing for millions of more homes to be built in California before the SGMA impacts are even known. The board then approved the coordination agreement. Wegley and Layne both said there are four-five year periods to adjust the GSP and the agreement. It was mentioned there is a very real possibility the bureaucrats in Sacramento working on housing don’t know about SGMA and the SGMA folks don’t know about the housing situation.
Layne had no updates on legislation but did report DWR has some computer portal ready to upload the GSPs. KREGSA’s GSP is still awaiting approval next month but Wegley said each of the GSAs in the Kings Sub Basin have the same major and minor headings throughout. For instance; both the KREGSA and the North Kings GSA’s GSP have the same structure. Layne said the GSP will be adopted at next month’s meeting on December 19th. There was no closed session and the meeting adjourned at 2:38pm.
So, it was a relatively short meeting. The short term heavy lifting created by SGMA is coming to an end. The GSAs have been formed. Most all of the GSPs are under review or comments have been addressed. The McMullan Area GSA has already adopted its GSP. More are on the way and I think it will be interesting to watch how many GSPs are turned in just under the deadline in January. Mendez said he’d been speaking with former California Secretary of Agriculture Bill Lyons who is now the governor’s ag liaison and he has his suspicions human nature being what it is and the size of the GSPs being downloaded onto the DWR computers there could be a crash. Having myself filed a few reports under a deadline I think Lyons is correct.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2019 by Don A. Wright
SGMA The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 calls for the formation of Groundwater Sustainability Areas within Basins and Sub-basins to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans.
Kings River East GSA Board – Chairman Buddy Mendes Fresno County, Vice Chair Mary Fast, Secretary Jack Brandt Alta Irrigation District, Eddie Valero Tulare County, Fernando Rubalcaba Special Districts Drinking Water, David Brown Special Districts Irrigation Water, and Steve Boos Ag Production. General Manager Chad Wegley, Attorney Lauren Layne
DWR listing: Basin San Joaquin, Sub Basin Kings