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Author: Rebecca Quist

A New Era in Groundwater Management Begins

Kerman, CA – A new era in the sustainable management of groundwater in a portion of Fresno County for the next 20 years and beyond was initiated by the McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA) Board of Directors with the unanimous adoption of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) at their November 6 meeting.  

“This action by the Board represents two years of focused effort by MAGSA’s Board, technical consultants, and stakeholders to develop a plan that gives our landowners the tools and flexibility they need to effectively manage their groundwater use,” stated Board Chair Don Cameron. “MAGSA has taken a critical first step to secure the future of opportunity and economic viability for the landowners in the region.”

MAGSA is the first of seven groundwater sustainability agencies in the Kings Subbasin (and one of the first in the State of California) to adopt their GSP, which must be submitted to the State for review by January 31, 2020. MAGSA’s GSP is one of the foundational elements to achieve sustainability in the King Subbasin, a critically overdrafted groundwater basin that lies within Fresno County.  

“Having the first GSP to be completed and adopted in the subbasin is a testimony to the determination of the Board and MAGSA landowners,” stated MAGSA General Manager Matt Hurley. “MAGSA has distinct challenges to overcome. It is a groundwater use only territory with a large portion of the area without water district oversight,” stated Hurley. “Being first out of the gate with a solid, informed Groundwater Sustainability Plan indicates on day one that MAGSA is up to the challenge.”

Approximately 55% of MAGSA’s 118,783 acre territory is within the service areas of Raisin City Water District and Mid-Valley Water District with 45% of MAGSA’s service area located outside of local water districts in what is referred to as the “white areas”.

MAGSA’s GSP is a roadmap for how to achieve balanced levels of groundwater supply and defines a path forward for groundwater sustainability. It describes localized groundwater conditions and identifies innovative solutions. The GSP does not propose starting off with pumping restrictions, changes to cropping patterns, land use conversion, or land fallowing. Instead, MAGSA’s top priority is to develop water supplies. Another immediate implementation action is to fill data gaps to form a more comprehensive and accurate picture of groundwater conditions. MAGSA’s Board is proposing a phased approach over 20 years to mitigate the target overdraft of 91,100 acre-feet per year, MAGSA’s allocation of the Kings Subbasin total 122,000 acre feet per year overdraft.

Starting in 2017, the MAGSA Board created a stakeholder-driven process with monthly public meetings by the ad hoc technical advisory committee to provide GSP updates and receive input from the public. This informed the development of the GSP, ultimately creating a more robust document for the localized MAGSA area. In July 2019, the Board approved opening the draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) for a 90-day public review and comment period. First in the Kings Subbasin to release a full draft GSP, MAGSA staff and consultants allowed ample time to consider comments and make any necessary revisions to the draft prior to adoption and submittal to the State by the January 31, 2020 deadline.

In spirit of cooperation, MAGSA delays adoption of Groundwater Sustainability Plan to address comments

Having received several comments in the last few days leading up to the October 16th Public Hearing on its draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan, the MAGSA Board agreed to hold off on consideration of Plan adoption until the November meeting. Matt Hurley, MAGSA’s General Manager, recommended the delay in an effort to appropriately address the comments received.

This will include re-convening the Technical Advisory Committee for review of the latest comments submitted and for an updated TAC recommendation to the Board. Considering stakeholder input has been foundational to MAGSA’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan development, MAGSA wanted to be sure to give adequate and respectful consideration to those who took the the time to provide comment.

Comments received prior to the October 9th Technical Advisory Committee meeting were previously addressed in the latest updated draft version of the GSP.

Once the review of the latest comments is complete, it is expected the draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan will be in front of the MAGSA Board once again for adoption at the November 6, 2019 meeting in Kerman. The final adopted GSP will be made available on the MAGSA website.

Recent outreach activities engage MAGSA stakeholders in Groundwater Sustainability Plan review

A workshop held in Kerman followed by an online webinar brought both seasoned and newly engaged stakeholders to the table, as MAGSA’s technical consultants explained the ins and outs of groundwater conditions and the plan to meet SGMA-mandated sustainability by 2040. Both events took place in August during the draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan 90-day comment period.

A September “office hours” chat offered both online and at MAGSA’s Kerman office presented another opportunity to connect with MAGSA’s General Manager and technical staff.

Engaged stakeholders posed thoughtful questions related to MAGSA’s priorities for GSP implementation when it comes to projects and management actions. MAGSA staff highlighted the importance of improved groundwater data gathering, citing working with growers on a data gathering program as a top priority.

Visit our GSP Portal resources page for workshop materials, videos, and powerpoint slides: GSP Resources

Public Hearing October 16, 2019 at 2:10 pm

The Board has set a Public Hearing for October 16, 2019, at 2:10 P.M. for formal consideration for adoption of the draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan. The Public Hearing will take place at the Kerman Community Center, 15101 W Kearney Blvd., Kerman, CA 93630.

There will not be a Board Meeting October 2, 2019.

Public encouraged to review and comment on MAGSA’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan, first released in the Kings Subbasin

At the July 10, 2019 Board Meeting, the MAGSA Board approved opening the draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) 90-day public review and comment period. Members of the public are invited to take part in this important process by reviewing a copy of the GSP document, available for download on MAGSA’s website at mcmullinarea.org/gspcomment, and submitting comments.

Input from the public is important as GSP policies and plans will impact stakeholders in the region for the years to come. The GSP documents historic and current conditions, and defines a path forward for how groundwater will be sustainably managed.

First in the Kings Subbasin to release a full draft GSP, MAGSA staff and consultants are intent to allow ample time to consider comments and make any necessary revisions to the draft prior to submittal to the State by the January 31, 2020 deadline.

The MAGSA Board and staff have welcomed broad public participation in the development of the draft GSP over the last two years, holding numerous public GSP technical update meetings to provide an in-depth look at GSP progress. Technical consultants and the Board consistently present the opportunity for members of the public to provide guiding feedback on the GSP’s components during Board Meetings. MAGSA hopes to continue this trend of public participation through the official 90-day public review and comment period.

Stakeholders can submit comments a number of ways: an online comment form at mcmullinarea.org/gspcommentform, by email to comments@mcmullinarea.org, or by mail/hand deliver to the MAGSA office in Kerman (275 S Madera Ave., Suite 301, Kerman 93630).

The review period will conclude at the MAGSA Public Hearing set to take place Wednesday, October 16th at 2:10 pm at the Kerman Community Center.


Click below to download the GSP, and to find more information regarding the Public Review period.

Ready to comment? Click below to access our online comment form:

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