The seven Kings Subbasin GSAs have reached agreement on an initial overdraft amount for the Kings Subbasin of 122,000 acre feet. The North Fork Kings GSA estimated amount of the 122,000 acre feet is 50,300 acre feet. The North Fork Kings GSA Board has already identified potential projects to begin correcting the target overdraft amount by the SGMA sustainability deadline of 2040.
There are two basic ways to achieve sustainability and eliminate overdraft: increase water supply or reduce water demand. The Board’s first priority is to increase water supply, but there are hurdles for this course of action within the North Fork Kings area including availability and frequency of additional water; all Kings River water is allocated through a water rights schedule; and the service area has physical constraints for recharge including soil types and a limited distribution system.
The map below (click map to enlarge) shows the general soil types in the North Fork Kings GSA. The green areas in the eastern portion of the GSA are sandier soils and more conducive for recharging the aquifer. The western portion has heavier clay soils that are more impermeable and consequently poor for recharge.
Although the eastern part of the service area has better soils for recharge, it lacks a distribution system. Therefore, infrastructure needs to be constructed to deliver water to any future recharge projects that may be built. The map below (click map to enlarge) represents significant surface water features in the North Fork Kings GSA.
North Fork Kings GSA preliminary project list contains nine groundwater recharge projects yielding an estimated annual average of approximately 20,000 acre feet per year. Additional projects will need to be identified to alleviate the overdraft amount. If water supply tactics are not sufficiently successful to eliminate the 50, 300 acre feet overdraft number then management actions to reduce water demand will need to be implemented.
At the January 10, 2018 Board meeting, the Directors of the North Fork Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency approved the Engineer’s Report to conduct a Proposition 218 Election and set a date of May 9 at 5:30 pm for the public hearing. The Board is requesting landowner approval to levy assessments to fund the activities required to comply with California’s new groundwater law. The necessary funding for the Agency will be reviewed annually by the Board and, depending on the funds projected to be needed for the year, may be approved up to the maximum $10.00 per acre assessment rate.
The proposed fee must be supported by landowners within the North Fork Kings GSA territory. If not, compliance with the new law will still happen but at a higher cost. The State will impose a fee structure on groundwater pumpers many times more costly than what is proposed by North Fork Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency. You can find the State’s 2018 adopted SGMA fees here.
To view the Engineer’s Report and learn more about the assessment and upcoming outreach events go to www.northforkkings.org/218election.
Due to the increased activity and interest related to developing a Groundwater Sustainability Plan, the Board has changed the frequency and location of the Board meetings. The Board will be meeting bimonthly on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 5:30 pm. The location has changed to the Riverdale Community Education Center Board Room, 3160 W. Mt. Whitney Ave., Riverdale, Ca 93656.
The meeting dates for 2018 are February 28, April 25, June 27, August 22, October 24, and December 26.
At their December 20 meeting, the North Fork Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) board approved the recommendation by their technical consultants, Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group, to consider a 5-year budget and an average cost per acre of $10 as factors for completing an Engineer’s Report, which is the first requirement for setting in motion the process for an assessment election. The election allows landowners within the North Fork Kings territory to vote on an assessment to fund the North Fork Kings GSA activities. The total assessable acreage in the North Fork Kings is approximately 164,000 acres.
At the Board’s October meeting, it was decided a 218 majority-approval election process would be used. This means more than 50 percent of the weighted ballots must vote in the affirmative. The election is land based and the costs for GSA startup and administration and preparation of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan as well as initial implementation will be shared equally by all acreage within the North Fork Kings GSA. It is anticipated that the assessment rate will be set by the Board at their January 10 Board meeting. The maximum that can be set is $10 per acre, but the Board could decide on a lower rate.
Some of the costs in the proposed 5-year budget include GSA administration (staffing, insurance, outreach, office expenses), professional services (engineering, legal, grant writing, 218 election), member agency reimbursement, an enterprise fund for project development and groundwater monitoring, and a 10 percent contingency fund.
If the North Fork Kings GSA is unable to fund its activities and comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the law allows the State to intervene. Intervention means a State version of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan that may be limited to only demand-side solutions, like restrictions on groundwater pumping. It also means the State will impose its very severe SGMA fee structure on groundwater pumpers that is considerably higher than the anticipated rate for the North Fork Kings GSA. You can find the State’s 2018 adopted SGMA fees here.
|Jan. 10, 2018||Board Meeting – approve Engineer’s Report and set assessment rate|
|Jan/Feb 2018||Conduct public outreach and education|
|March 2018||Prepare and mail ballots|
|May 2018||Tabulate received ballots and certify election|
At their September 6 meeting, the Board approved the recommendation by the Ad Hoc Steering Committee to contract with Provost & Pritchard Consultants for technical engineering consulting services. As part of the contract, the Board approved two task orders. Task Order 1 provides Provost & Pritchard with a budget not to exceed $20,000 for general project management tasks through the end of June 30, 2018. Task Order 2 provides Provost & Pritchard with a budget not to exceed $8,000 to prepare an assessment of funding strategy alternatives for GSP development and implementation and a recommendation to the Board.
In other actions by the Board, a funding mechanism for Fiscal 2018 budget expenditures was adopted. The total budget of $340,795 will divided among the fifteen member agencies based on each member agency’s acreage.
The North Fork Kings GSA Board has opened the application process for the Rural Committee Advisory Committee. The Rural Community Advisory Committee is identified in the North Fork Kings special act legislation. The purpose of the Committee is to represent the interests of rural communities. The Committee will assist the Board in providing input, information, and recommendations regarding the sustainable management of groundwater in the North Fork Kings GSA area.
The Committee will consist of no more than nine members and meet on a quarterly basis. Members will need to commit to serve a two-year term and may be reappointed. All members will be appointed by the Board from the applications received based on their willingness and appropriateness to represent the interests of rural communities.
To apply to serve on the Rural Community Advisory Committee, the Rural Community Advisory Committee Application must be completed and returned by September 15, 2017.
February 10, 2017
Contact: Cristel Tufenkjian, 559.906.2952
North Fork Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency Takes Lead in Groundwater Management for Riverdale Area
NorthForkKings.org is launched to support stakeholder involvement.
The newly formed North Fork Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) took action at their February 9 Board meeting to file paperwork with the State declaring the agency’s intent to be the exclusive groundwater sustainability agency for a portion of the Kings Subbasin. The GSA area covers approximately 168,000 acres in portions of Fresno and Kings counties near the community of Riverdale. The Board also launched the website, www.NorthForkKings.org, which includes information about meetings, notices and events and allows stakeholders to sign-up to receive e-mail updates on North Fork Kings GSA 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 North Fork Kings Area, local communities, water agencies and the County of Fresno came together in early 2015 to work on the formation of a GSA. Following over a year of agency meetings and outreach events to local stakeholders, the group chose to formalize under special act legislation, and on September 16, 2016, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 564 (Cannella) North Fork Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency Act. The new bill created the North Fork Kings GSA composed of County of Fresno, three communities, two irrigation districts, one reclamation district, and eight mutual water companies. The 15 agencies are categorized under seven divisions represented by a 7-member Board. The Act also requires the formation of a rural community advisory committee for the purposes of assisting the board to consider the interests of all beneficial uses and users of groundwater. For more information, please visit www.NorthForkKings.org.