The East Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency Advisory Committee held its Monday, October 19, 2020 remotely by Zoom. I believe the adult supervision portion of the meeting was brought to us from the Lindmore Irrigation District headquarters in Lindsey. Chairman Joe Ferrari called the meeting to order at 4:06pm after EKGSA Executive Director Michael Hagman determined there was a quorum. After roll call and approving the agenda Member Allan Lombardi asked about some nomenclature on the agenda as part of public comment. The minutes were approved and the reports began.
Other Committee Reports
Provost & Pritchard’s Matt Klinchuch reported on the technical committee meetings. He said ground-truthing for evapotranspiration has been continuing. The board didn’t meet last month but it will meet next week. That’s when we find out if the Prop 218 election passes and the GSP can be implemented quicker.
Cruz Romero gave an update on implementing ET, well levels, monitoring wells and well videoing. His toddler aged daughter helped him but he didn’t introduce her name. There are some good reports coming in soon. Hagman said Romero is learning how to overlay parcels in order to accurately determine the ET.
Habitat Concerns and Solutions
Hagman reported on the Wildlife Conservation Board efforts saying the RCIS documents to identify habitat for species are being developed. He said kind of what was said at an earlier Tulare Irrigation District meeting – the breaks are being pumped before the GSA accidently creates some habitat for an endangered critter and creates a bigger problem than existed. A planning grant is being pursued.
Next Hagman presented a policy matrix for four policies he said shouldn’t be controversial:
- Groundwater 01-2020, overlying rights, inflow accountability and the right to regulate withdrawals.
- Groundwater 02-2020, the board will allocate.
The policy doesn’t give the GSA the right to dictate surface water, just groundwater supplies. He said banking of water being moved to another area within the GSA for recharge could be regulated and encouraged in some cases. The policies themselves were sent out by Hagman earlier today by PDF in email. Stacie Ann Silva pointed out the regulations exist but not the details of how to enforce them. Justine Massey, Community Water Center asked about the protections for de-minimis users. Hagman said the law establishes two and half acre feet for domestic use per year as de-minimis. He said there could be problems if someone planted a bunch of trees on a small property and goes over that 2.5 a/f that has to be considered. He said water used for a shower won’t be subject to ET. Water goes from the well to the tub to the septic tank and back into the groundwater. Like many things about SGMA this is new territory. After hearing Hagman’s explanation and a good discussion the committee approved taking it to the board for consideration.
More Policy Recommendations
Next another policy was discussed about EKGSA allocating native supply, only this time attorney Joe Hughes wasn’t listening in. All the lands included in the previous policy are in this policy. The native supply is according to existing law pertaining to groundwater rights. The allocation must be made by October 1st of the year – Hagman said the technical committee came up with the date. There were some questions about carryover and how item four was written. Hagman said an allocated supply can carry for one year so a supply and demand are synced up to the same year. Lombardi said he’d like some language addressing carryover. Things moved into the wordsmithing mode with several different ideas of how to incorporate the concept into the policy. Luis Sanchez asked if it would be better to send a memo to the board about the intentions. I’d never heard of sending a memo in this situation and Klinchuch said it would be best in his opinion memorialize it in the policy. Hagman added “item 6. Use of the allocated supply will addressed in subsequent policies.” That seemed to satisfy everyone. The October date was well received as it coincided with the water year calendar.
Grower Karen Yohannes wanted Hughes to look it over before voting but that wasn’t possible and Hagman said with the exception of item 6 – which is an uncontroversial statement – there has been a legal review. The committee passed kicking this one up to the board as well. Trying to get wording that satisfies everyone can be a very difficult task but these guys handled it pretty good.
No Policy Recommendations without Funding
There were two other policy positions were on the agenda: charges and metering – and they were not discussed today. Hagman explained the Prop 218 vote will make a big difference on what is even possible. He said future funding considerations will play such a big role there is no need to go out in the weeds on those issues. Hagman added the outreach efforts for the Prop 218 election were conducted in August. P&P’s Trilby Barton has been the mover and shaker for EKGSA outreach and concurred.
That Was Just About That
The meeting will be November 16th and there was no more business the meeting almost adjourned. Yohannes asked if there was going to be any further discussion on allocation methods and there won’t be any. It wasn’t on the agenda. However, as usual Yohannes gave some good ideas in the earlier discussion as did others. At that point the meeting did adjourn.
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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.
EAST KAWEAH GSA 315 E. Lindmore Street, Lindsay, CA 93247. Telephone 559/562-2534. Mailing address PO Box 908 Lindsay, CA 93247
Members: County of Tulare, City of Lindsay, Exeter ID, Ivanhoe ID, Lindsay Strathmore ID, Lindmore ID and Stone Corral ID
Staff: Michael Hagman – Executive Director, Joe Hughes – Attorney
DWR Listing: Basin San Joaquin Valley, Sub Basin Kaweah 5-022.11