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Subbasin Coordination

After Three Years of Drought, 2023 Annual Report Reveals Record Recharge Numbers

2023 was a record water year for the Kings Subbasin! Annual Report data reflects the positive impact of the wet year on the basin’s groundwater levels after three consecutive years of drought, while also indicating there is more work to be done in pursuit of long-term sustainability.

With more surface water available, groundwater use decreased by 54% compared to the average use in the previous three water years. Groundwater storage increased by 1.28 million acre-feet, partially thanks to the recharge projects throughout the Kings Subbasin.

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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.

Kings Subbasin Builds for Drought Resilience at Record Pace

15 basins representing 600 acres of prime groundwater recharge land with a singular goal of groundwater sustainability

Click here to view the StoryMap outlining project details, locations, and more, and to view the highlight video.

In the short span of two years, the Kings Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Agencies have invested in 600 acres of prime groundwater recharge land. This land represents 15 dedicated basins that are constructed or in development.

Local water managers have taken the long view as they invest in infrastructure now with the goal to bring sustainability to the groundwater supply shared by all within the Kings Subbasin region.

The additional water infrastructure is anticipated to provide over 15,000 acre-feet of recharge per year on average, directly benefitting groundwater levels for communities and ag lands in the area. An acre foot equals 325,900 gallons, or enough water to cover a football field to a depth of one foot.

Since the Kings Subbasin submitted seven Groundwater Sustainability Plan Plans (GSP) in January 2020, there has been a driven effort to successfully build groundwater recharge capacity to support Kings Subbasin sustainability goals.

Full details of the Subbasin’s efforts are outlined in a StoryMap and video here.

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