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North Fork Kings GSA Updates

North Fork Kings GSA to perform a canal capacity study

North Fork Kings GSA is performing a canal capacity study during the 2023-24 fiscal year to identify where potential improvements can be made to the canal and conveyance systems within the agency. The study will allow surface water units within the North Fork GSA to deliver as much available Kings River water as possible for irrigation and recharge to help comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

The study will gather information to estimate the existing canal capacity and constraints of existing conveyance systems through site visits and discussions with existing operations staff. Following the study, a second phase consisting of a more detailed survey of needed improvements and preliminary design of the highest priority systems may be conducted to help estimate the costs of the improvements and determine participation between North Fork Kings GSA and the applicable surface water unit.

By performing this study, North Fork Kings GSA aims to increase the capacity of the systems to bring more surface water in to offset groundwater pumping and conduct groundwater recharge.

The canal capacity study will be shared with irrigation districts and the mutual water companies within the North Fork Kings so they can quickly identify where to invest in improvements.

North Fork Kings GSA establishes Grower Advisory Committee

The North Fork Kings GSA has formed a Grower Advisory Committee comprised of local growers. The Grower Advisory Committee was formed to provide input and guidance on policies and programs that the North Fork Kings GSA is implementing, including the development of groundwater allocations, the launch of a well registration portal, and more.

The committee consists of nine local growers and is led by Chair Dan Errotabere and Vice Chair Adam Mendes. Most committee members have demonstrated active involvement in the North Fork Kings GSA or other relevant boards and organizations. When selecting members, geographic representation and acreage were taken into consideration, ensuring a diverse and inclusive representation within the committee.

The first Grower Advisory Committee meeting took place in March, with the early meetings focused on testing and providing feedback on an early version of the new well registration tool that will launch this fall.

“Having the ability to serve on one of the many North Fork Kings GSA committees provides the opportunity to participate and offer input to meet mandated objectives,” said committee member Matt Efird.

“Only by working collectively with fellow stakeholders and the Board, as well as the other GSAs within the subbasin, will we be able to move forward in a progressive and positive manner and develop successful solutions.”

The committee will continue to meet monthly and provide ongoing feedback from a grower’s perspective.

General Manager Justin Mendes envisions the committee to be the primary sounding board for future policies and plans, and to help with outreach by acting as ambassadors between the agency and growers within North Fork Kings GSA.

The Grower Advisory Committee is one of several committees of the North Forks Kings GSA, including the Technical, Rural Communities Advisory, Policy, and Financial committees that provide input and guidance to the Board as they work towards sustainability.

New tool for growers to understand their water use and register wells is launching this year

A new online tool to help growers and residents understand their water use and register wells will launch this fall. Currently in development by the North Fork Kings GSA’s consultant MLJ Environmental, the tool is being designed for users to easily view their historic water use data and register their wells.

The North Fork Kings GSA previously provided field-level water use data from Land IQ, reported as evapotranspiration, or ET, to stakeholders using static map images (www.northforkkings.org/maps). But the new tool will improve the usefulness of this information by allowing users to view the data for their own fields in a personalized and interactive way. Viewing the data will become increasingly important for growers who will benefit from routinely tracking water use once a groundwater allocation is implemented.

The tool is also designed to provide a streamlined method for well registration to help fill data gaps and manage groundwater sustainably. The North Fork Kings GSA recognizes it cannot effectively manage groundwater without partnering with its landowners to understand more about the infrastructure impacting supply. Registering wells with the agency is a simple way landowners can provide information for successful local groundwater management, ultimately keeping the State from stepping in to control the process.

Besides technical need, the tool creates a platform for streamlined communications between the North Fork Kings GSA and its stakeholders. For domestic well users, this could mean receiving notice and resources before their well goes dry during a drought. The tool will house information like well location and the user’s contact information so the North Fork Kings GSA can identify at-risk wells and notify households ahead of time.

Feedback from future users has been at the core of the tool’s development. Early development versions were tested by North Fork Kings GSA Grower Advisory Committee members how used their real-world experience to provide feedback. Their input was repeatedly implemented to improve the tool’s features and usability.

For those who want to learn more about the tool and receive assistance with onboarding, a series of outreach events will follow the tool’s launch to assist growers and residents with creating and using their accounts. Stay up to date on development and launch by signing up for emails from the North Fork Kings GSA at https://northforkkings.org/.

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