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Author: Rebecca Quist

Hats off to Cohort 0! On-Farm Recharge University completes workshop series

The first-ever grower cohort completed MAGSA’s On-Farm Recharge University (OFR-U) workshop series in April. Over a six-month period starting last November, “Cohort 0” completed six workshops covering a full breadth of On-Farm Recharge topics, from possible grant funding for OFR-related improvements to ideal timing and duration of flooding different crop types for recharge. 

OFR-U workshops were led by OFR expert Phil Bachand, PhD., and featured guest speakers with expertise in wide ranging On-Farm Recharge topics.

To complement workshops and provide real world examples of On-Farm Recharge, field trips were integrated into the cohort experience. A series of site visits are taking place through May, where the OFR-U team will meet growers at their farms to discuss site-specific implementation of On-Farm Recharge.

If you are a MAGSA grower and are interested in joining Cohort 1 this fall, email the OFR-U team at!

Cultural resources survey at Aquaterra’s proposed project locations wraps up, a needed step for the water bank project to continue

A cultural resources survey at proposed project sites for the Aquaterra Water Bank wrapped up in mid-April. The survey was a necessary step requested by the Bureau of Reclamation to meet National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements. Compliance with NEPA is key for the project to complete environmental review and continue to progress forward.

The surveyed area was roughly 70 miles long and 200 feet wide, and was conducted by a team of archeologists with MAGSA’s environmental consultant, Tetra Tech. A summary of survey results will be completed by the firm in the following weeks, although the team reported nothing of particular significance was discovered.

The Aquaterra Water Bank project area totals 80,000 acres and includes a vast expansion of canals, basins, and agricultural land to use as on-farm recharge sites. The project is a cornerstone of MAGSA’s strategy to achieve groundwater sustainability through surface water storage and recharge.

Once fully developed, Aquaterra will have the capacity to store 1.8 million acre-feet of water within MAGSA’s boundaries using 208,000 acre-feet of recharge capacity and 770 cubic feet per second of new conveyance.

MAGSA prioritized completing the cultural resources survey in its pursuit of moving forward to develop more water storage infrastructure for potential water bank subscribers, while benefiting landowners with improved local groundwater conditions.

Board approves Implementing Rules and Regulations and Proposed Fee Schedule for the McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency Groundwater Export Policy

The Board approved the Implementing Rules and Regulations and Proposed Fee Schedule for groundwater exports at the April 6, 2022 Board Meeting. The rules and regulations serve to manage, protect, and sustain groundwater supply for the benefit of local landowners within MAGSA.

The Rules and Regulations provide specific guidance to landowners on the annual permitting process and fees related to groundwater exports extracted from land within MAGSA to any location outside of the agency boundaries.

To view requirements and export fee schedule, review the adopted Implementing Rules and Regulations on here.

Landowners who own parcels located both within and without MAGSA’s boundaries are exempt from groundwater export fees but still require appropriate export permits and reporting. The Rules and Regulations exclude entirely de minimus use (domestic wells), and production of water stored and extracted from the Aquaterra Groundwater Bank project.

MAGSA’s priority continues to be the success of its landowners. Any policies and rules and regulations will continue to be for the betterment of the area by achieving groundwater sustainability through local control under SGMA.

A draft document including an economic analysis was available on MAGSA’s website for public review and comment on December 13, 2021. MAGSA adopted its Groundwater Export Policy on December 9, 2020, providing a framework for pumping groundwater within MAGSA for use outside of the agency. The recently adopted Rules and Regulations and Fee Schedule provide the specific guidelines for implementing that policy.

Newsom Executive Order requires GSAs approve new well permits, MAGSA committed to quick approvals on behalf of landowners 

In response to extreme and continued drought, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-7-22 on March 28, 2022. The directive outlines orders for statewide response to drought and water shortages, including a requirement that no well permits may be approved by permitting agencies until first approved by the Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) managing the area where the well is proposed. Read a memorandum from MAGSA’s General Manager on Executive Order N-7-22 below:

The seven GSAs in the Kings Subbasin, including MAGSA, are working quickly with the County of Fresno to respond to the order and develop a streamlined process for well approvals to avoid permit delays for landowners. When a new permit application comes in, the County will forward the application along with a simple PDF form for the GSA to check off and sign for approval. MAGSA is committed to reviewing permit applications and signing off as quickly as possible to avoid delays for our landowners as we enter summer irrigation months.

Permits requiring GSA approval include any new wells producing greater than two acre-feet annually, and any alterations to existing wells that require a permit. Permits for domestic wells, considered “de minimus”, will not require GSA approval.

It is not expected that this process will cause delay or prohibition of new wells for MAGSA landowners. MAGSA is doing everything it can to implement the executive order in a way that causes minimal to no interruption to the landowners it serves.

If you have questions or concerns regarding Executive Order N-7-22, contact General Manager Matt Hurley at or 559-515-3339.

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