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News Release

Congressman Duarte Visits McMullin On-Farm Flood Capture Project

Earlier this month, Congressman John Duarte toured the Terranova Ranch, Inc. McMullin On-Farm Flood Capture Project with MAGSA’s Managers, Matt Hurley and Cristel Tufenkjian, and Board Chair, Don Cameron. 

In his recent newsletter, Congressman Duarte states: “[This project] successfully diverted the Kings River floodwaters, reducing the risk of flooding for the communities of Firebaugh and Mendota. Additionally, this effort put 19,000 acre-feet of water back into the groundwater basin. With communities in my District at risk of flooding, these solutions are important to protecting the health and safety of our residents.”


MAGSA Receives ACWA’s Rising Star Award for Advocacy Work at State Level

Since the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act was passed in 2014, numerous bills at the State Capitol have been proposed that impact groundwater sustainability agencies and the work we perform implementing our Groundwater Sustainability Plans. MAGSA staff monitor legislative activities and when necessary, engage with our local and state elected officials on legislation to affect the outcome of bills as they move through the legislative process.

Recently, MAGSA was recognized by the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) with their Rising Star Award for our involvement in their advocacy program. MAGSA joined with other ACWA members to amplify our voice in support of two bills related to streamlining the regulatory permitting process for water infrastructure projects and setting water supply targets to ensure we have enough water for all beneficial uses. We contacted our local California senators and assembly members to provide insight on the benefits of both bills and asked for “Yes” votes during key legislative committee meetings. We were honored to be recognized by ACWA for our efforts.

With groundwater sustainability and related subject matter remaining a focus for the Governor and legislators, we anticipate there will again be bills introduced in 2024 affecting the local efforts by MAGSA and other groundwater sustainability agencies to work on groundwater sustainability projects. MAGSA staff will continue to participate in efforts to affect the outcome of relevant bills for the benefit of MAGSA landowners.

Fresno State Awarded Half a Million Dollar Grant to Support MAGSA Farmers with Irrigation Efficiencies

Fresno State Awarded Half a Million Dollar Grant to Support MAGSA Farmers with Irrigation Efficiencies

For Immediate Release
August 14, 2023

KERMAN, California — On July 25, 2023, the California State University, Fresno Foundation was awarded a $499,609 grant through the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Water Efficiency Technical Assistance (WETA) program to support farmers in the McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA).

The purpose of this grant is to support MAGSA farmers in implementing efficient irrigation and nutrition management practices, ultimately leading to water and energy savings.

The Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) at California State University, Fresno, was the lead applicant and MAGSA was the partner applicant for the WETA grant. This partner project will involve the development of training materials, field days, educational workshops, and a variety of technical resources for MAGSA farmers on topics such as:

● Collecting and interpreting soil and water sensor data
● Regulated deficit irrigation strategies and tools
● Irrigation system maintenance
● Soil field capacity, permanent wilting point, and other information about soil-water-
plant-atmosphere relationships

This is a three-year grant program. Growers can expect to have access to resources and events developed through this program in 2024.

MAGSA’s goal is to help the region achieve groundwater sustainability by 2040. CIT’s expertise and partnership over the next three years will help MAGSA growers work toward this goal, increasing their efficiency by farming more with less water.

View a list of all CDFA WETA grant awardees here.

MAGSA Awarded $2.8 Million Grant for Meters, Telemetry & Weather Stations through Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – On April 21, 2023, the McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA) was awarded a $2.8 million grant through the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Program to help fund the purchase and installation of electromagnetic flow meters with telemetry, along with six weather stations in the region.

“You can’t accurately manage what you don’t measure,” says MAGSA’s General Manager, Matt Hurley. “Real-time groundwater data will assist growers in their on-farm water management decisions and allow MAGSA to more effectively achieve groundwater sustainability by 2040.”

The installation of flow meters and telemetry will drastically improve water management within MAGSA and is expected to result in annual water savings of 20,508 acre-feet as a result of reduced pumping. 

MAGSA’s Precision Metering with Real-Time Remote Telemetry project was awarded alongside 83 others in 15 western states for a total of $140 million in water conservation and efficiency projects. 

Earning the grant award represents MAGSA’s determined pursuit to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) with a landowner-first approach, minimizing the out-of-pocket costs associated with implementing on-farm tools for groundwater management.

The grant funding will be used to implement MAGSA’s meter and telemetry incentive program for growers who registered their wells with the agency. MAGSA growers will receive further details on the incentive program details in coming months.

Groundwater sustainability is only possible through collaboration with landowners, regional partners, and the state. MAGSA is committed to pursuing grant funding and other creative opportunities to support landowners in working toward a sustainable future for generations to come.

CA Department of Water Resources Recommends Kings Subbasin GSPs for Approval

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that the Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) for the Kings Subbasin, which includes the McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA) and 6 other GSAs, are recommended for approval.

“I’m glad our region was compliant and worked hard together to get to this point,” says Don Cameron, Chair of MAGSA’s Board of Directors.

“We’re happy to hear about our current success as a Subbasin!” says Matt Hurley, MAGSA’s General Manager. “The Kings Subbasin is a good group of people to work with and I’m confident we will reach sustainability in a timely manner. I’m also confident MAGSA is on the right path to achieve sustainability for our landowners.”

The Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) is a requirement of the 2014 California law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). A GSP outlines a region’s strategy to achieve groundwater sustainability by 2040. The Kings Subbasin GSAs developed and submitted their initial GSPs to DWR in January 2020. DWR had two years to review the original GSPs. On January 28, 2022, DWR deemed 12 of the 21 critically-over drafted basin GSPs, including the Kings Subbasin GSPs, incomplete.

The Kings Subbasin GSAs, including MAGSA, the North Fork Kings, Kings River East, North Kings, James, South Kings, and Central Kings GSAs, worked diligently and collaboratively to review DWR’s notes on what changes needed to be made. The Kings Subbasin GSAs submitted their revised GSPs in July 2022.

On March 2, 2023, DWR announced which subbasins’ revised GSPs are recommended for approval and which subbasins’ GSPs are inadequate. Subbasins with inadequate GSPs will be transitioning to the State Water Board for State intervention and oversight at this point, with the ultimate goal still being to have all basins return to local management. Subbasins with GSPs recommended for approval adequately refined their sustainable groundwater management criteria and made appropriate corrections to their plans in relation to the analysis of groundwater levels, water quality, and inter-connected surface waters. The Kings Subbasin and other basins with plans recommended for approval will continue to work with DWR to report on their progress and include any additional corrective actions recommended by DWR in the 2025 GSP periodic update.

“This approval is many years in the making and all the hard work has paid off,” says Lynn Groundwater, MAGSA technical consultant and lead author on MAGSA’s GSP. “Now… we can continue to work on filling data gaps and implementing the GSP. Implementation includes design and construction of canals throughout MAGSA to be able to utilize surface water especially in wet years like we are having this year to capture flood water when available.”

MAGSA is deeply thankful for landowner engagement throughout the GSP development and implementation process. Together, we can achieve a sustainable future in our region for generations to come.

Read DWR’s full announcement HERE.

MAGSA celebrates California Water Professionals Appreciation Week

Matt Hurley, General Manager, MAGSA

At the helm of every successful organization is a visionary leader. Matt Hurley, MAGSA’s General Manager, brings a determined focus on leading the region to sustainability under SGMA while improving the lives of the constituents the organization serves. And he does it all with a smile and cheery attitude!

“Prioritizing the interests of the growers and residents MAGSA serves is vital to our success. We are asking a lot of folks when it comes to achieving balanced levels of groundwater by 2040 under SGMA. But we try to get creative and make sure there’s value added for them too,” he said

Rather than immediately cut back on water demand, MAGSA is focused on leading growers through innovative projects that bring surface water to an area that has historically been 100% groundwater dependent. Thanks to the McMullin On-Farm Flood Capture Expansion Project, opportunities will open for growers to receive water from a canal, something new to the area.

Along with the arrival of surface water will come the opportunity to implement sustainability practices like On-Farm Recharge. The introduction of a new university-style course tailored to MAGSA growers, “OFR-University”, is launching this fall to help growers implement these groundwater recharge practices. This is just one small example of MAGSA’s dedication to add value to people living within the service area, and it’s all thanks to its people-first leader!

Randy Hopkins, Chief Strategic Officer, Principal Engineer, Provost & Pritchard

The Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) has already started implementation, thanks to water professionals like Randy Hopkins, Chief Strategic Officer and Principal Engineer at Provost & Pritchard! Randy is a visionary leader, and he’s primarily focusing on planning and developing projects to help connect MAGSA to a variety of water sources. This creates the ability to bring in surface water when it’s available.

“Sustainable water management is the key to sustainable agriculture and healthy communities,” he said.

Not only is Randy a key leader in GSP implementation, but also in executing the McMullin On-Farm Flood Capture Expansion project and the Aquaterra Water Bank.

Implementing the GSP is a huge undertaking that requires developing a significant about of infrastructure over the next few years. While challenging, it’s the most rewarding aspect of Randy’s job. Developing infrastructure means being fully dedicated to putting tools in place for MAGSA to sustainably manage water supplies for the benefit of residents, growers, and our region.

Lynn Groundwater, Senior Engineer, Provost & Pritchard

This Water Professionals Week we’re celebrating a collaborative leader, Lynn Groundwater, Senior Engineer at Provost & Pritchard! Implementing the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) for MAGSA is no small task, but Lynn plays a key role in doing so. She helps monitor the sustainable management criteria, projects, and management actions. She’s currently helping with projects that would provide MAGSA flexibility to recharge surface water when available and construct surface water facilities as outlined in the GSP. She is an integral part of the McMullin On-Farm Flood Capture Expansion project and the Aquaterra Water Bank.

“It is rewarding to work with growers and members of the MAGSA community to collaborate on the MAGSA projects and for implementation of the GSP,” she said.

Working on a tight schedule is challenging, but it’s rewarding work to help provide the opportunity to use surface water within MAGSA.  Thank you to our hardworking engineers who are paving the road to sustainability within MAGSA!

Lindsey Sciacca, Assistant Engineer, Provost & Pritchard

Behind every basin, every sustainability goal, and groundwater conservation effort is an engineer who dedicates time and lots of math to make it come to life! This Water Professionals Week we’d like to give a shoutout to Lindsey Sciacca, Assistant Engineer at Provost & Pritchard! He is an assistant project manager and project engineer at Provost & Pritchard for the McMullin On-Farm Flood Capture Expansion Project.

“It takes an entire team to succeed in the work we do for the McMullin Expansion project and I wouldn’t be able to be nearly as successful in my own work without the support of the rest of the team,” he said.

As an assistant project manager and project engineer, he is responsible for running hydraulic calculations, working on drawings, and coordinating with several other engineers, manufacturers, and utility companies.

Lindsey is a determined leader and keeps track of project schedules so that sustainability goals are met in a timely manner.

The McMullin On-Farm Flood Capture Expansion Project is the largest and most involved project he has worked on thus far, and the teamwork behind it keeps the ball rolling. This project could not be done without every hand on board!

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.

MAGSA Joins GSAs Statewide Bringing Awareness to Need for Groundwater Sustainability

KERMAN, Calif. – The McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA) is joining GSAs statewide to bring awareness to groundwater’s importance this Groundwater Awareness Week (GWAW) from March 6-12, 2022. GWAW was established in 1999 by the National Ground Water Association and The Groundwater Foundation to promote responsible groundwater management and celebrate local groundwater efforts across the country.  

Groundwater accounts for up to 60 percent of California’s water supply during dry conditions. As we enter a third dry year, following the second driest year on record, understanding groundwater conditions, and managing groundwater has never been more crucial. Groundwater Sustainability Agencies like MAGSA have been tasked with implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) at a local level. MAGSA is working hand in hand with landowners to make changes that will lead to long-term sustainability.  

“Bringing groundwater to sustainable levels is not a job one grower or agency can tackle alone,” says MAGSA’s General Manager, Matt Hurley. “Our landowners are paving the way for a vibrant future through their commitment to collaborative and innovative solutions.”

“Our landowners are paving the way for a vibrant future through their commitment to collaborative and innovative solutions.”

Matt Hurley, MAGSA General Manager

This year, MAGSA’s priorities are to 1) better understand groundwater conditions in the GSA through collection of accurate data, and 2) increase groundwater supply through recharge projects and education on innovative techniques to conserve and store water. To equip landowners with more specific and accurate groundwater information, MAGSA has implemented a successful well registration program and is gearing up to roll out a well metering program. MAGSA is also committed to increasing groundwater supply in the region through the McMullin On-Farm Flood Capture Expansion Project and Aquaterra Water Bank while providing educational resources teaching landowners how to implement practices like On-Farm Recharge themselves.

Through accurate data, recharge projects, education, and collaboration with MAGSA landowners and regional partners, we will secure a sustainable groundwater supply for generations to come.


For media inquiries, contact Matt Hurley at:

Groundwater Awareness Week: Helpful Resources

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