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Author: Rebecca Quist

Third water market study workshop will focus on market structure

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to participate in a MAGSA water market, join us for the January 27th water market study workshop. Landowners and interested stakeholders are encouraged to participate in this interactive workshop via Zoom.

Participants will hear from MAGSA’s General Manager, Matt Hurley, and the technical consulting team, who will present a project update as well as a couple of alternate scenarios describing how the market could be structured. The workshop will include a demonstration illustrating the differences between a “bulletin board” and “electronic clearinghouse” structure. Participants will have an opportunity to offer feedback on the market structure concepts as well as ask other questions regarding the study, which is currently underway.

The workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, January 27, 2021 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM. If you are interested in attending, watch this space or sign up for updates here. The workshop is part of a water market study funded through a WaterSMART grant awarded to MAGSA by the US Bureau of Reclamation.

Upcoming 2021 Vision Event – you’re invited!

Although 2020 was met with unique challenges, MAGSA’s team has continued to move forward meeting the great challenge of achieving groundwater sustainability for our landowners and stakeholders. There is still a lot more ground to cover in 2021 to reach our goal of reducing 10% of our overdraft (9,110 acre-feet) by 2025!

Join us for a 2021 Vision Event to recap on 2020’s progress and hear from MAGSA’s General Manager and technical team on the most pressing activities planned in 2021.

MAGSA’s resilient landowners and stakeholders are invited to learn how they can participate to secure a thriving future starting in the new year. All are welcome to join us for this event to kick off 2021.

The event is scheduled for Wednesday, January 20th from 4:00 – 5:00 PM via Zoom. A link will be shared closer to the event date.

Board adopts Groundwater Banking and Groundwater Export policies after second round of public review

The MAGSA Board unanimously adopted the Groundwater Banking and Groundwater Export policies at the December 9th meeting. The draft policies were available for public review and comment early September, with updated versions available for a second round of public review early November.

The Groundwater Export Policy clarifies and expands on the groundwater pumping restriction referenced in MAGSA’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) as a management action to achieve sustainability. The policy will allow MAGSA to oversee, manage, and reasonably regulate groundwater extraction within its boundaries effectively and equitably. This includes groundwater pumping within MAGSA for any use outside of MAGSA.

The Water Banking Policy establishes guidelines and principles for MAGSA on water banking within its service area, outlining measures MAGSA may implement for its oversight of any water banking activities within its boundaries.

The final policies are available on the website policy page.

MAGSA will continue its work to develop policies that will guide the agency in its sustainability efforts in the years to come. Signing up for the MAGSA email list is the fastest way to stay up to date on upcoming drafts available for review and comment. If you are not already on the list, sign up here!

Water market study update

The water market study team is currently conducting stakeholder interviews, working to understand the perspective of individuals representative of MAGSA’s service area. Interviews are an opportunity for the study team to gather in depth feedback on preferences and perceptions for how a water market might be structured and will ultimately result in a water market design that fits the needs of MAGSA stakeholders and landowners. Once completed, the team will bring its findings to the Board for discussion.

The team is also working on developing varying water market options. The options look at different water supply scenarios such as groundwater allocation based on sustainable yield and potential surface water imports.

Stakeholders and landowners are encouraged to join the next Water Market Study workshop on Wednesday, October 21st from 4:00-6:00 PM. Check the website regularly for event updates.

Two draft policies released for stakeholder input

Two new draft policies were released for public and committee review at the September 2nd Board Meeting. The Groundwater Export and Water Banking policies are open for public comment until September 30th. Their proposed adoption date is October 7th.

The Groundwater Export Policy clarifies and expands on the groundwater pumping restriction referenced in MAGSA’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) as a management action to achieve sustainability. The policy will allow MAGSA to oversee, manage, and reasonably regulate groundwater extraction within its boundaries effectively and equitably. This includes groundwater pumping within MAGSA for any use outside of MAGSA.

The Water Banking Policy establishes guidelines and principles for MAGSA on water banking within its service area. The policy outlines measures MAGSA may implement for its oversight of any water banking activities within its boundaries.

The draft policies can be reviewed and comments submitted via MAGSA’s Board Policy page. MAGSA stakeholders and landowners are encouraged to engage in this foundational aspect of the groundwater management process.

Board Meeting September 2, 2020

The next regular Board Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 1:30 PM.

Meeting Agenda

Stakeholder Outreach Report

Please note: The Board will convene a Closed Session portion of the meeting at 1:30 PM. Immediately thereafter, or at 2:00 PM, whichever is later, the Board will convene an open session to complete the balance of the meeting agenda. No change in Zoom details is required. Members of the public should simply connect to the Zoom link at the regular 2:00 PM appointed time.

*PLEASE BE ADVISED*
In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order (N-29-20) and the declared State of Emergency, including social distancing directives as a result of the potential threat associated with the COVID-19 virus, members of the Board of Directors and MAGSA will be participating in this meeting remotely.

This meeting will be held via ZOOM Web/Teleconference.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86105890515

One tap mobile: +16699009128,,86105890515# US (San Jose)
Dial by your location: +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 861 0589 0515

Board approves $19 fee rate, keeps eye on grant funding to accelerate project and management action development

The Board approved a fee of $19 per acre for Fiscal Year 2020-21 at their July 15th meeting. Based on 114,475 acres included under the property-related fee, this generates a projected revenue of $2,175,025 for agency administration, professional services, and project and program development to implement the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP), adopted in November 2019. In addition to MAGSA’s fee-based revenue, the agency will continue seeking additional funding for projects and management actions through grants.

Revenues collected from the fee cover the approved Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget expenses including agency administration and staff, GSP legal and litigation reserves, project development, and groundwater monitoring and implementation, among other technical and administrative expenses.

The $19 per acre fee is the maximum amount approved by MAGSA landowners in the Proposition 218 groundwater fee election passed in 2018. The fee is levied on all landowners within MAGSA via Fresno County tax bills, excluding parcels of 2 acres or less. This is the third budget year collecting the fee that has a 5-year lifespan.

Beyond fee revenues, MAGSA will continue applying for grant funding to accelerate implementation of specific projects and management actions outlined in its GSP. Recent grant awards like the US Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART grant to study a groundwater market, in addition to future grant opportunities, aim to leverage and extend the dollars of MAGSA landowners collected via the fee.

MAGSA is committed to implementing solutions tailored to the landowners and stakeholders it serves and will continue to provide updates on its activities. To stay informed, sign up for our interested persons email list here, and follow us on Twitter @McMullinAreaGSA.

Stakeholders encouraged to review and comment on draft groundwater data policy

The MAGSA Board reviewed the preliminary draft groundwater data policy at their July 15th Board Meeting, releasing the draft for public review by stakeholders and landowners, the Technical Advisory and Stakeholder Committees.

The draft groundwater data policy can be reviewed, and comments submitted via MAGSA’s Board Policy webpage.

The groundwater data policy outlines methodologies for MAGSA to receive data from landowners and respond to data requests that ensure the confidentiality of data is maintained. It is the intent of MAGSA to protect landowner data to the maximum extent possible, unless otherwise released with permission from an individual landowner.

For consideration, public comments should be submitted no later than August 5, 2020. The policy is currently scheduled to go before the Board for consideration and adoption September 2, 2020.

Board Policy Adoption Process

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