The Groundwater Sustainability Plan will cover a number of topics including the description of groundwater conditions, water budget, sustainable management criteria, monitoring, and projects. McMullin Area GSA’s technical consultant, Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group, is currently working on drafting the groundwater conditions and hydrogeologic conceptual model chapters. The groundwater conditions chapter will include topics like groundwater elevation and depth, flows, variation in storage, and water quality to name a few. The hydrogeologic conceptual model chapter will provide a visual and narrative description of groundwater conditions in the McMullin Area.
At the August 2 McMullin Area GSA Board Meeting, the Board selected Ron Donlan from Ellison Schneider Harris & Donlan LLP out of Sacramento as General Counsel. Rob Donlan is a Partner in Ellison Schneider Harris & Donlan. Rob specializes in water and natural resources law, including all aspects of surface water and groundwater rights and management; state and federal Endangered Species Acts and fisheries laws; the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); water quality and wetlands regulation; and other areas of state and federal regulation involving use and management of water resources. Rob’s experience also includes public agency governance and administration, infrastructure and regulatory finance, desalination and recycled water use, and water supply for power and energy development.
To support the various administrative and technical functions of the McMullin Area GSA, several adhoc committees were formed with Board member appointments:
- Technical Advisory Committee – Board Members Don Cameron and Jerry Rai
- Financial Committee – Board Members Matt Abercrombie and Jeevan Singh
- Outreach Committee – Board Members Matt Abercrombie and Jeevan Singh
- Human Resources Committee – Board Members Jerry Rai and Jeevan Singh
In other business, the Board approved a contract to engage the firm Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group (P&P) through June 30, 2018 as the engineering firm to oversee, manage and coordinate the preparation of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). P&P proposed scope of work is segregated into several phases including data collection, compilation and review; GSP development; and administrative support. The total estimated fee for the services is $234,000 with $42,500 for the data collection, compilation and review phase, $153,000 for the GSP development phase, and $38,000 for the administration phase.
At their June 15, 2017 Board meeting, the McMullin Area GSA Board members, based on the recommendation of the ad hoc review committee, selected Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group as the engineering firm to oversee, manage and coordinate the preparation of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) for the McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA). Provost & Pritchard will be responsible for preparing a GSP that meets all the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and the GSP regulations along with coordinating the McMullin Area’s GSP with GSPs developed by adjacent GSAs.
The Board also approved a budget for fiscal year July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018. The budget total is $500,000 and includes expenses for the engineering consultant, legal costs, Kings Subbasin coordination, and administrative services including outreach. The cost share for the three member agencies is based on their percent of McMullin Area’s total service area of 120,635 acres. Raisin City Water District’s cost share is $214,350. Mid-Valley Water District’s is $56,700. County of Fresno’s cost share is $228,950.
Fresno County, Raisin City Water District and the Mid-Valley Water District took action at their April 5 Board meeting in Kerman to file paperwork with the State declaring the agency’s intent to be the exclusive groundwater sustainability agency (GSA) for a portion of the Kings Subbasin. The GSA area covers approximately 121,000 acres in western Fresno County.
The Board also approved at their April 5 meeting an outreach strategy to stakeholders that includes the launching of the website, www.McMullinArea.org. The website will provide updates on the McMullin Area GSA activities including information about meetings, committees, and outreach events. McMullin Area stakeholders will also be able to sign-up on the website to receive e-mail updates specific to McMullin Area activities.
In 2014, Governor Brown signed landmark legislation called the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) into law in response to declining groundwater conditions exacerbated by the historic drought. SGMA is comprehensive legislation that governs the management and use of groundwater in the State. Its intent is to provide for sustainable local management of groundwater basins while minimizing state intervention to only when necessary. SGMA mandates that critically overdrafted groundwater subbasins be managed by a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) by 2017, that the GSA create a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) by 2020, and that a subbasin be sustainable by 2040.
To comply with SGMA within the McMullin Area, water agencies and the County of Fresno came together to work on the formation of a GSA. After a number of agency meetings and outreach events to stakeholders, the group chose to formalize as a Joint Powers Authority that includes five board seats with representatives from each of the member agencies. Two seats are filled by Board members from the Raisin City Water District. One seat is filled by a Fresno County Supervisor and one seat by a Board Member from Mid-Valley Water District. The fifth seat is filled by a landowner within the white area who is appointed by Fresno County.