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Greater Kaweah GSA Board July 8, 2019

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The Greater Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency held its board meeting on Monday, July 8, 2019 at the Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District offices in Farmersville. It’s been a while since I’ve attended a GKGSA meeting. The Kern Water Bank usually meets at this time. Chairman Don Mills called the meeting at 1:00pm and the public comments, directors reports and minutes must have been taken care of immediately.

General Manager Eric Osterling said they’ve received relatively little public input for projects although there is an open invitation on the front page of the website. What they do have is included in the spirit of the kitchen sink approach but shakes out in two categories; increased water supplies and better conservation. They also fall under either projects or management actions. The proponents have furnished the estimated benefit impacts. These are ran through models. Osterling said the modeling only goes to 2040 and that doesn’t always show the full range. He also said he’s looking for workers to verify well locations throughout the GSA.

The issue of subsidence and a sustainable management criteria was next Osterling said the GSA is already starting to receive comment letters from stakeholders. Dennis Mills is chair of the technical advisory committee and on the phone a guy named Rodney Fricke who may work for GEI and may have been introduced before I got there where both present also. One look estimated a subsidence on a four-five year drought due to change in storage. It is estimated 87 inches of subsidence drop could happen if four million a/f is pumped during a drought. He said this info will be taken to the stakeholders committee. Fricke said this should be 137 inches on the westside of the GSA where there is more Corcoran clay. He also said arsenic levels in the groundwater is getting better and nitrates are increasing. Total Dissolved Solids are decreasing but one concern he has is non operative wells with higher salinity don’t cause a mobilization of groundwater plumes. Osterling said there is a need to coordinate greatly. He said the Kaweah Sub Basin is leaky and unwanted groundwater quality challenges are often beyond the GKGSA’s controls.

Osterling said the draft GSP development schedule is working out well. I believe he may have had is doubts about portions of the timeline. He said he’s not as confident about a late July release but he sees an early August of the public draft. Everyone wants the comment period to begin as soon as to possible to avoid having an extra heavy workload of responding to comments during the holidays in preparation to meeting January 30th deadline to turn the GSP into the Department of Water Resources. Osterling showed a slide of the coordination agreement between the GKGSA and the East Kaweah and Mid Kaweah GSAs. But it was a very long document.

Mills asked Fricke if the recent earthquake could have impacted subsidence. The answer was yes; there is a good chance shaking up the soil could enhance subsidence. The meeting then went into closed session.

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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.

Greater Kaweah GSA JPA – Chair Don Mills-Lakeside Water ID, Vice Chair Chris Tantau-Kaweah Delta WCD, Pete Vander Poel-County of Tulare, Ernie Taylor-Kings County WD, Greg Milleman-Cal Water Service, Eric Shannon-St Johns WD, Paul Boyer-Rural Communities Committee, Brian Watte-Stakeholder Committee representative.

Eric Osterling-Secretary, Aubrey Mauritson-Legal Counsel

Offices shared with the Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District, 2975 Farmersville Blvd., Farmersville, CA 93223   Tel. 559/747-5601

DWR Listing: Basin San Joaquin Valley, Sub Basin Kaweah 5-022.11