The McMullin Area GSA met on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at the Kern Community Center. I walked in about a quarter to 2:00. The start time was listed at 2:00 pm but folks from Provost & Pritchard were conducting a workshop, at least I think it was. There was talk about monitoring and how this data would be collected and used. I did see my old friend and engineer Owen Kubit answering questions. I believe Randy Hopkins was there as well. As it turned out this was the technical advisory committee, so I just caught the end of it. However, I did hear subsidence is not likely to be the biggest problem facing MMAGSA.
At 2:00 pm Chairman Don Cameron called the meeting to order and the minutes were approved. The board also agreed to pay its bills. I think there was only two checks going out and one of them was to P&P. All five directors were present. Attorney Rob Donlan addressed the board by telephone. He was asked to explain a 218 Election to the 16 or so folks assembled in the audience and the board. Donlan said funding the GSA with a proper fee by way of a 218-Election. He was relying on Hopkins to get a slide show up to help explain how this works. It appeared a flurry technical challenges prevented the slide show from materializing. I’ve sat there many 218 explanations and I think Donlan may not have been as clear as would have served the group. Let me see if I can follow; Donlan said developing a budget was the first portion of the task. Identifying the parcels impacted was next then calculating the amount of the fee would follow. How much money is needed, how many acres are there to support that amount determines how much per acre the fee must be.
After a spell an Excel spreadsheet appeared on screen. There were three categories: administration, professional services and monitoring & implementation made up the list. A five-year budget was prepared. The bottom line was a bit more than $9.2 million, but this was a draft figure. The average cost per acre ranged from $15 to $17 annually. These figures don’t include capital plans. A separate election would be required. Donlan said a maximum amount could be established as a cap without having to charge that amount. You can start off with a smaller assessment if the full amount isn’t needed.
Donlan continued saying a 45-day notice period would be followed by a public hearing. If there isn’t a majority protest of voters the board can proceed by presenting the county the outcome. Cameron asked if a rate consultant is needed. Donlan said there is a group of consultants he uses and that would be a good, informal way to save some money as opposed to putting out a RFP. If I understood correctly. Kristal Tufenkjian, Kings River Conservation District said August 10th is the latest time to turn a 218-Election into the county. That means the election must take place no later than July. She recommended some landowner meetings before any roll out and of course there is the accompanying engineering report. The board agreed to hold a 218-Election.
Next Lynn Groundwater, another P&P engineer, obviously appropriately named for the task, gave an update on the GSP listing the tasks and their development status. Kubit gave more details. He said the GSA gets to define the significant & unreasonable thresholds. There are measurable objectives to be set and milestones to follow development. The state says to set the minimum threshold to avoid causing undesirable results in your basin or any surrounding basins. You have to keep the use beneficial and meet regulations. The DWR has released a draft Best Management Practices and Kubit recommended everyone read it. The sustainable or safe yield is the amount of groundwater that can be pumped without causing undesirable results. This can change over the course of time and must be watched. DWR state it doesn’t care about the amount of groundwater pumped but rather the results of pumping. There has to be monitoring to verify the safe yield will satisfy sustainability.
Reports from the ad hoc committees was next. The tech committee already gave its report. Tufenkjian reported on the outreach committee. She said she’d like to set up a 218 web-page and outreach meetings and workshops. Flyers will be sent out by mail to all the area landowners. She also reported on responses to email outreach and links to the website. There is also a YouTube channel that is getting views. Fresno ID will have hosting two SGMA meetings later this month and MMAGSA will try to get on the agenda for that. The meeting then went into closed session. The next meeting will be April 4th.
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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.
McMullin Area GSA – The McMullin Area GSA member agencies are Fresno County, Raisin City Water District and the Mid Valley Water District. Located in Western Fresno County MMAGSA is one of seven GSAs in the Kings River Sub Basin.