Learn about drilling a new well, well registration, financial incentives, permitting, and meters and telemetry as a landowner in the McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA). This guide breaks down well requirements, recommendations, and frequently asked questions.
Background on MAGSA’s Well Policies
On October 6, 2021, the MAGSA Board adopted the Groundwater Well Metering, Measurement, Monitoring and Construction Policy, which provided criteria for meters. Amendments to this policy, including the now-active moratorium on well construction of deep wells, were adopted July 7, 2022. Read the Rules and Regulations HERE.
Meters and Telemetry
Meters are effective tools to measure groundwater production and water use. Telemetry seamlessly and efficiently communicates the information to the central data collection and processing point. The tools used together provide fast and accurate measurements and help inform landowners’ decisions about future water use.
Yes. Meters are required to be outfitted by January 31, 2025 on wells designed to produce more than 2 acre feet of water annually located within MAGSA’s boundaries. This requirement is outlined in MAGSA’s Implementing Rules and Regulations adopted on October 6, 2021, and amended on July 7, 2022. Find all MAGSA policies at www.mcmullinarea.org/policies.
Meters and telemetry provide insight into MAGSA’s groundwater supply. These tools will generate individualized groundwater production data, which will be reported by landowners on a regularly scheduled basis. This technical insight positions MAGSA to successfully achieve groundwater sustainability. Data reporting and management are critical elements in the Groundwater Sustainability Plan. Accurate data is vital to effective, sustainable management decisions and provides the best defense to unsubstantiated claims of overdraft.
By understanding water use with these pieces of equipment, MAGSA can establish groundwater sustainability goals and landowners can collectively maximize water efficiency and protect this valuable resource within MAGSA’s boundary.
Yes. As stated in section 2021.04c of MAGSA’s Implementing Rules and Regulations, all reporting of your well’s groundwater production data must be reported to MAGSA on a monthly basis, through a method to be determined by the MAGSA Board of Directors (telemetry preferred).
Information provided by meters and telemetry is stored with a private data management company, keeping information secure and private to the greatest extent possible by law. MAGSA takes seriously the privacy concerns of the landowners it serves and is going to great lengths to protect your personal and well information. Gathering data helps execute the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) and is a step toward protecting and defending MAGSA’s groundwater supply.
Purchasing Meters & Telemetry (Financial incentives & Grants)
According to MAGSA’s Implementing Rules and Regulations, section 2021.03(a) for meter specifications, each meter must:
- Be either flange or saddle type
- Be an electromagnetic flow meter and microprocessor based signal converter capable of communicating with remote telemetry
- Contain a flow sensor based on Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction
- Be accurate within plus or minus two percent of actual flow
- Report actual flow rate and contain an aggregate flow totalizer to capture production volume, with flow reported in cubic feet per second and total pumping reported in acre-feet
- Be appropriately sized for the production rate and discharge piping of the well
- Have a measurement range that matches the expected range of production rates from the well on which it is installed
MAGSA encourages landowners to invest in remote telemetry alongside the required meters. Absent remote telemetry, reporting must be accounted for manually, and is subject to higher time and energy costs and human error in manual reporting.
Yes. MAGSA has secured grant funding to mitigate the cost of meters and telemetry for growers. MAGSA has also compiled a recommended meter, telemetry, and monitoring package available to landowner wells located within the MAGSA service area at a discounted rate.
Yes! On April 21, 2023, 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 for 925 groundwater wells, along with at least a year early adopters may receive as many as three years) of reduced rate monitoring services . This will benefit MAGSA landowners who registered their wells with the agency.
Landowners who registered their well(s) by March 1, 2022, will be prioritized to receive well metering (well and telemetry purchase) financial incentives and rebates, but it is not too late to register your well and become eligible for financial incentives. Find more information about registering your well below.
MAGSA is working with the Bureau of Reclamation to confirm the distribution process of the grant funding in coming months. Stay tuned for more further details on the incentive program. This webpage will be updated with the latest information on access to funding as soon as it’s available.
Although we encourage installation of this vital equipment sooner rather than later, we also encourage you to watch the website closely to assure that you qualify for the purchase(s) for the aforementioned rebates and incentives!
Drilling a New Well
Simply stated, all new wells (agricultural and domestic) in MAGSA should be a minimum of 300 feet deep but no deeper than the elevation of the Corcoran Clay layer underlying MAGSA beneath the drilled parcel.
MAGSA strongly recommends no new wells be constructed less than 300 feet deep to avoid impacts due to declining groundwater levels. The recommended depth is below the minimum threshold for wells outlined in MAGSA’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan. The minimum threshold is the lowest allowable groundwater depth before MAGSA reaches an undesirable result. Under SGMA, MAGSA must work to maintain groundwater levels above these minimums.
A moratorium was also passed by the MAGSA Board as an amendment to MAGSA’s Implementing Rules and Regulations for Groundwater Well Metering, Measurement, Monitoring and Construction Policy on July 7, 2022, temporarily prohibiting the construction of “Deep Wells,” wells that pierce the Corcoran Clay layer underlying MAGSA. Drilling wells deeper than the Corcoran Clay has been directly associated with chronic subsidence in the Central Valley.
“Deep Wells” are wells understood by MAGSA to extend below the depth of the Corcoran Clay layer at the specified location.
The Moratorium on Deep Wells completed with perforations below the Corcoran Clay is intended to help reduce the rate of land subsidence in the MAGSA region. Land subsidence is the gradual sinking of the ground surface, mostly caused by the compaction of clays from the chronic over-pumping of groundwater. In MAGSA, the compaction of clays would be primarily from pumping groundwater from below the Corcoran Clay. The moratorium will help MAGSA meet groundwater sustainability goals relative to subsidence.
MAGSA will not approve any new or replacement well application proposing to construct a well in MAGSA to a depth understood by MAGSA to pierce the Corcoran Clay. This Moratorium commenced July 7, 2022, and will continue thereafter until sufficient data, in MAGSA’s sole discretion, is available to adequately assess said concerns.
Yes. Existing wells below the Corcoran Clay can still be used. However, no new wells are permitted beneath the Corcoran Clay. MAGSA recommends using these existing wells with caution.
Anyone who has a new or existing well(s) — agricultural or domestic — pumping more than 2 acre feet annually was required to register the well(s) with MAGSA by January 1, 2022 as outlined in section 2021.01 of MAGSA’s Implementing Rules and Regulations. If you have a well that produces less than 2-acre feet annually, it is not required to register the well, but it is highly recommended.
MAGSA is a local public agency working to position you and neighboring landowners to achieve groundwater sustainability together. Well registration is the initial action needed in preparation to meet well metering requirements also included in the Implementing Rules and Regulations. These new requirements are directly aligned with MAGSA’s goal to equip the local area with more specific and accurate groundwater information.
This information helps the area defend against over estimations of water use and ultimately keeps groundwater management in local hands. Data is a key component in MAGSA’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP), and MAGSA is going to great lengths by storing data with a third-party entity to ensure greatest protection possible by law on behalf of MAGSA’s community members, landowners, and growers.
You must register your well (that is designed to produce more than 2 acre-feet of water annually) within 30 days of drilling the well. Registration for existing wells was required by January 1, 2022. If you have not yet registered your well, please do so as soon as possible! Having adequate well registration data equips MAGSA to fulfill its sustainability goals under SGMA.
You can submit your well registration via online form, print form, by email, or mail. If you/your company owns multiple wells, the online form is the fastest option as it allows for entering up to 25 different wells per form. If you choose to use the print form, you must complete one form per well.
ONLINE: Fill out the online form at mcmullinarea.org/wellregistration. This is the fastest method, especially for landowners registering multiple wells.
PRINT: Download, print, and fill out the paper form at mcmullinarea.org/wellregistration for each well you/your company owns. If you/your company owns multiple wells, please make copies of the form and fill one out for each well. Submit print form(s) by:
- Mailing or hand delivering to the MAGSA office at 275 S. Madera Ave., Suite 301, Kerman, CA 93630.
- Scanning and emailing the form to email@example.com
- The following items are needed for the well registration process:
- Landowner’s name and contact information
- Assessor’s parcel number
- Well geo-location
- Date of construction or reasonable estimate
- Copy of well completion report, if applicable
- Overall depth of well
If you still have questions about your new or existing well, please call contact MAGSA at 559-515-3339 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reference MAGSA’s mcmullinarea.org/policies page for additional information.
New Well Permits
Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-7-22 on March 28, 2022 in response to drought and water shortages. The executive order requires that no well permits may be approved by Fresno County until first approved by MAGSA. Well permits are first submitted to Fresno County, then forwarded to MAGSA to sign off for approval. MAGSA is committed to reviewing permit applications and signing them off as quickly as possible to avoid delays for our landowners.
No. Domestic well permits do not require GSA approval.
No. Landowners are responsible for going through the well registration process.