The Kern Groundwater Authority Groundwater Sustainability Agency held its Wednesday, August 22, 2018 board meeting at the Kern County Administration building in Bakersfield. Chairman Dennis Mullins called the meeting to order at 8:00 am. The board meets first to work on the Special Activities Agreement #4. After roll call, public input and approval of minutes Executive Officer Terry Erlewine told the board there needs to be a revision on the sustainable management criteria proposal contracts between KGA GSA and the engineering firm of Provost & Pritchard and consultant Robert Gailey. The board agreed and the meeting adjourned and reopened as the regular KGA meeting.
Once again there was a quorum, no public input and the minutes were approved. The treasurer’s report was given and the board paid its bills and a bill to Todd Groundwater Modeling for more than $150,000. The KGA has undergone an audit for 2017. A CPA from the firm of BHK said the audit went well but to get ready for a more intense audit in 2018 due to the far greater amount of stuff happening.
Staff report were next and Erlewine reported there is a proposal for continuing to pay $30,000 per month to Provost & Pritchard for management services. This was already built into the budget and is really an extension of the contract. Patty Poire reported she’s met with oil industry representatives to gather data to be used in the GEI Engineering task order #17 and there will be some revisions in light of the further information. Erlewine reported the peer review task order to be performed by Woodard & Curran needs to get started because Todd Groundwater will have the model up and running soon. He’d like to get started by the end of August and be ready by October. The board agreed to add another $5,000 to the contract.
Harry Starkey, GM West Kern WD is also the chair of the urban subcommittee. He reported the committee met and is making headway. Erlewine reported the policy committee also met and talked about an upcoming meeting with representatives from the State Board and DWR to speak with the GSAs in Kern County. Mullins said the Kern River GSA claims all the water that seeps into the banks and bed of the Kern River and that wasn’t discussed much.
Erlewine reported on accomplishments and reported there is good progress on defining how undesirable results will be approached. He’s also met with Eastern Tule GSA and the Delano Earlimart GSA to talk about subsidence on the Friant Kern Canal. This is a major issue for Kern County as much of its imported water comes through the FKC. He also said they have to get busy working on the climate change portion of the GSP. Poire said the Kern County ordinance now requires a meter to receive a well permit. If the land is in a district with satellite imaging that may be waived. They don’t want this to get bogged down in SGMA but there needs to be a way for the GSAs to be notified of new well permits. At this point California Milk Council representative Geoff Vanden Heuvel said he’s been attending the coordination meeting and would like to know even more about the technical side of implementing SGMA. Poire said there will be a workshop coming up to give more information such as Vanden Heuvel requested. She also said on September 19th and 20th Trevor Joseph of DWR and a State Board representative will be in town to talk. Mullins said Allen Christianson with Kern County met with white area representatives. He said Kern County alone doesn’t have the tools and skills needed to properly represent the white areas in total. He said some areas are annexing to districts or attaching with management agreements and the third concept has been a non profit group made up of white area landowners working up a GSP chapter. He suggested a monitoring area for grazing land. There is a large swath of rangeland on the east side of the county. He also said the oil industry is looking to develop its own GSP chapter.
The east side landowners are represented by the Hall Mark Group and Jim Beck spoke. He said the non-profit organization has been formed and Hall Mark is helping to develop the GSP chapter. The lands north of the Kern River to the county line east of State Route 65 to the Sierra Nevada range is basically the area represented; more than 150,000 acres in size. EKI Consultants will be writing the GSP chapter. He said there is about 1,000 landowners in the area and so far only 300 or so have signed up. This includes mostly rangeland but also oil and irrigated ag. The white area group would like to be a non-voting member of KGA and sit in on the coordination meetings. This outfit is called the Eastside Water Management Area.
Attorney Valerie Kincaid had no reportable matters for open session and the meeting went into closed session.
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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:
Chair-Dennis Mullins, Executive Officer-Terry Erlewine, Attorney Valeria Kincaid
Arvin-Edison Water Storage District, Cawelo Water District, City of Shafter, Kern County Water Agency, County of Kern, 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