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Groundwater in MAGSA: Annual Report Update

The McMullin Area GSA (MAGSA) together with the six other GSAs in the Kings Subbasin submitted the second Annual Report to the CA Department of Water Resources (DWR) by the April 1, 2021 deadline.  MAGSA took every opportunity in Water Year 2020 (Sept 2019 – Oct 2020) to begin work on projects that will lead to a sustainable groundwater supply for its landowners and for the region, leveraging grant funds to begin implementing key projects in its Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). Although the report indicates dryer conditions put a strain on groundwater supplies across the Kings Subbasin, the ongoing efforts of MAGSA and the collective work of the Kings Subbasin GSAs will ultimately lead to long-term sustainability.

The Annual Report provides an overview of groundwater conditions in the region including groundwater extraction, surface water supply used for groundwater recharge, total water use, change in groundwater storage, and a description of progress made toward implementing the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) since the last Annual Report.

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to submit annual reports to the Department of Water Resources (DWR) on April 1 of every year.

Here are highlights from the Kings Subbasin’s 2020 Water Year:

Water years 2017-2019 were overall wetter than average but were preceded by an extremely dry period.  Overall, the last five years result in near average conditions, but they include an extreme dry and an extreme wet year.

Water use for Water Year 2020 consisted of 1,353,000 acre-feet of groundwater and 958,000 of surface water. Total water use for Water Year 2020 (WY 2020) equaled 2,311,000 acre-feet, with 2,011,000 acre-feet of the total used for agricultural purposes and 300,000 for urban use.

GSAs have identified different data gaps within their GSPs that they intend to fill and are still reviewing their monitoring networks.  During this water year, the GSAs have spent significant effort to gather construction information on wells through video equipment. As construction information is gathered, updates will be made through the SGMA monitoring network portal.  Work will continue into the 2021 water year to gather the remaining construction information for wells in the water level monitoring network. MAGSA’s Groundwater Monitoring Project and metering incentive program are important projects that will help to achieve this goal in the region.

Click HERE to read full Annual Report.

The Kings Subbasin saw improvements in groundwater storage in the 2019 water year, but 2020’s reduction  illustrates the importance of continuing to coordinate with the Kings Subbasin GSAs and engage with MAGSA landowners  to implement innovative projects that will lead to a sustainable and resilient, groundwater supply  for the region.

One such project is the MAGSA Groundwater Monitoring Project funded by a $75,000 Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART Small Scale Grant.  Under this grant, MAGSA has teamed with the McCrometer Company to install totalizing flowmeters, pressure transducers and remote telemetry units on each of the twenty-three representative indicator monitoring wells located within the MAGSA boundary. These wells are part of the basin-wide indicator monitoring network. The data collected from these wells will be remotely communicated, downloaded into a data management system, and allow for accurate and efficient logging of required SGMA reporting information. 

In addition to monitoring groundwater, MAGSA is working to recharge groundwater levels in the region. MAGSA’s  On-Farm Recharge (OFR) project is the first-of-its-kind in the nation. Leveraging $22 million in grant funds, the project involves constructing infrastructure to capture storm and flood waters and then conveying the water to farmland. The project will also build partnerships with farmers and landowners to capture surface water for groundwater recharge on those farmlands. This project, in partnership with the work carried out through Raisin City Water District’s 2018 Natural resources Conservation Services- Regional Conservation Partnership Program (NRCS-RCPP) award, will significantly offset groundwater overdraft for the entire Kings Subbasin.

Another important project that will further groundwater sustainability in the region is the Aquaterra Water Bank project. Preliminary work on a water bank project in MAGSA began in 2020 and will continue into 2021. Located between the Kings and San Joaquin rivers, MAGSA provides an ideal location for the Aquaterra Water Bank project. Water from multiple major water systems will be delivered via new and existing channels and pump stations for recharge and storage within the Aquaterra Water Bank. In drier years, MAGSA will work with project participants to schedule extraction and return water based on participants’ share of extraction capacity and available operational exchange and delivery capability. This project will improve sustainability of local groundwater supply to help the subbasin achieve its sustainability goals while increasing resiliency and flexibility for water suppliers across the State.

Finally, MAGSA is developing a metering incentive program to incentivize early placement of flow meters, pressure transducers, and remote telemetry to comply with the metering policy and accomplish reliable extraction data at the earliest possible time. To express interest in MAGSA’s meter incentive program click HERE!

We are on the road to sustainability, and we need the contribution of our incredible landowners and stakeholders to continue reaching our goals. To receive regular updates on these projects and groundwater conditions in the region, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our E-Updates. Click HERE learn more about how you can get involved with MAGSA this year!

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