The Kern Groundwater Authority Groundwater Sustainability Agency held its Wednesday, April 24, 2019 meeting at the law firm of Klein & a Couple of Other Guys on California Avenue in Bakersfield’s conference room instead of the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce offices. This threw a lot of folks off guard including me. Fortunately Shafter Wasco Irrigation District General Manager Dana Munn had also gone to the Chamber and I was able to follow him across town to find the new location. Thank you Dana. Chairman Dennis Mullins delayed taking up the proceedings until 9:10am.
The minutes and financial reports were approved by the board and KGA Manager Patty Poire reported to the board the cost share agreement with the Kern River GSA for the services of Todd Groundwater for modeling. There is also an agreement for the services of Woodward & Curran and finally a Prop One grant sub-agreement with KRGSA. The board was fine with all of them.
Larry Rodriguez, GEI Engineers reported on the Groundwater Sustainability Plan saying as each KGA member determines its measurable objectives they have to be reviewed, addressed and taken into account for to identify discrepancies. If I understood correctly the current criteria has to do with groundwater levels and subsidence and water quality will be next. The maps were pretty small and the board asked to get a PDF sent to them so they could decipher the miniature symbols.
Poire reported all the GSAs have met for a coordination agreement and on the 14th of May there will be a workshop at the Ag Pavilion; representatives from all the GSAs and the State Board will be on hand starting at 5:30 pm to answer stakeholder questions. Next Poire said the board was interested to have someone from the oil industry to interface with. John O’Connor, I think I got his name correctly. He’s available to answer questions and offer help as well as learn who to work together.
There was no new business or correspondence so attorney Valerie Kincaid reported she’s been working with other attorneys in developing an agreement to work together on the monitoring well network. Getting permission to go on private land will require an access agreement. This agreement is required under SGMA. Mullins pointed out this is a template for everyone to use and modify. There is another template dealing with white areas. If a KGA member is willing to take in white areas they need to have an agreement with the KGA. This will also be moot if the Kern County Water Agency doesn’t agree to take over the white areas from the county. Royce Fast is a KCWA director and he was very critical of the attorneys not having this taken care of yet. There has to be a rewrite of the KGA JPA including an amendment to create a special membership for the KCWA and an indemnity for the KCWA. Kincaid said the drafts have been presented to the attorney group and she sees it passing. In context the Kern County Board of Supervisors skinnied out on its obligation to represent white areas under SGMA; and it did very late in the game. Under SGMA if the county won’t take care of the white areas it devolves to the State Board and that is more than just a nose under the tent. It would place draconian requirements and give the state a foothold in private matters. The board did approve the two templates and the meeting adjourned.
Poire announced the next month the meeting will be back at the chamber but future meetings may be held here at 4550 California Avenue.
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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.
The Kern Groundwater Authority membership:
Arvin-Edison Water Storage District, Cawelo Water District, City of Shafter, Kern County Water Agency, Kern-Tulare Water District, Kern Water Bank Authority, North Kern Water Storage District, Olcese Water District, Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District, Semitropic Water Storage District, Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District, Southern San Joaquin Municipal Utility District, Tejon-Castaic Water District, West Kern Water District, Westside District Water Authority & Wheeler Ridge-Maricopa Water Storage District
DWR Listing: Basin San Joaquin, Sub Basin Kern 5-022.14