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Laguna Irrigation District Basin 11 Improvement & Expansion Completed

The Laguna Irrigation District Basin 11 Improvement project consisted of the development of a groundwater recharge basin on a 52-acre site using Kings River floodwater as the primary water source.

This project increased conveyance capacity of the Liberty Canal, constructed a basin with exterior levees, a settling channel, a check structure and headworks to divert water, and installed flow meters and monitoring wells. The project was recently improved through excavation to increase water infiltration resulting in more water being recharged.

The Basin 11 Expansion Project was completed in 2019, adding 38 acres to the project.

Regulation for wells, groundwater usage

The North Fork Kings GSA Board adopted Rules and Regulations in December 2020 to sustainably manage groundwater within the GSA boundary. These regulations, which will be periodically updated, are necessary to implement solutions that will provide a groundwater supply buffer for landowners to use during drier years. The regulations cover topics such as registration of wells, installation of flowmeters, groundwater usage, fees, and storage of groundwater. You can review these rules on the Board Policies webpage.

Here is a brief overview of each of these:

Individual Recharge

A landowner may use existing facilities to store surface water underground within the North Fork Kings GSA boundary and can then put that water to their own beneficial use within the GSA boundaries. The GSA is currently developing the process for growers to participate in an individual recharge program.

Well Registration

Any new wells constructed after January 31, 2021 must be registered with the North Fork Kings GSA within 30 days of drilling completion. All new wells must also install a flowmeter at the time of construction. Metering wells will allow the North Fork Kings GSA to have reliable, accurate extraction data to more effectively track progress and achieve sustainability goals.

All existing wells owned by landowners who own sixty or more acres within the North Fork Kings GSA boundary need to be registered with the North Fork Kings GSA by July 1, 2022. All other wells must be registered by January 1, 2023.

Criteria for Using Meters

All new extraction wells, excluding de minimis users (a person who extracts 2 acre-feet per year or less of groundwater for domestic purposes) are required to be measured by flowmeters and all costs associated with the purchase, installation, operation and maintenance of flowmeters shall be borne by the owner or operation of each extraction facility. In the future, the North Fork Kings GSA may require flowmeters on all non-de minimis wells.

Groundwater Usage

Currently, the North Fork Kings GSA is utilizing satellite imagery, needs analysis, local precipitation and surface water accounting to determine pumping in the region. This technology along with meter information is necessary to develop an accurate water balance for the region. Technical groups are developing future groundwater allocations which are necessary to balance groundwater supplies.

Fees & Assessments

The North Fork Kings GSA is funded through land-based assessments that are included on County property tax bills. North Fork Kings GSA landowners voted to allow a maximum $10.00 per acre assessment in order to locally manage groundwater. In the future, groundwater pumping fees may be necessary to build recharge ponds to replenish groundwater in rainy years.

If the North Fork Kings GSA is unable to locally fund the implementation of SGMA and achieve groundwater sustainability, the State could step in and impose a fee structure on groundwater pumpers many times more costly than the North Fork Kings GSA. They, the State, will also regulate how much groundwater a landowner can pump.

Terra Linda Fruit Avenue Recharge Project Completed

The recently completed Terra Linda Fruit Avenue Recharge project is an 80-acre Landowner Project within the Liberty Mill Race Company service area of the North Fork Kings GSA. The project included construction of above ground levees and installation of headworks and structures for three lift pumps. A generator backup, to keep water flowing in the event of power outage, will soon be installed.

All surface waters for the project will be supplied by Liberty Mill Race Company in the form of its Pre-1914 water supply during flood events.

The North Fork Kings GSA will continue to implement innovative projects that will lead to a resilient supply of groundwater in the region while working to keep groundwater management local.

Board approves $10 per acre assessment

At the May 26 Board Meeting, the North Fork Kings GSA Board approved a maximum assessment of $10 per acre for Fiscal Year 2021-22. The fall county tax rolls will include the assessment. This means if a landowner owns 100 acres, the amount that will be due to the North Fork Kings GSA in Fiscal Year 2022 is $1,000. There are 163,653.7 assessable acres in the North Fork Kings GSA. Based on the assessable acres, this generates $1,636,537 of projected revenue for implementation.

With the adoption of the North Fork Kings GSA’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan in January 2020, the budget focuses on implementation projects and programs that will achieve groundwater sustainability.

Everything you need to know about Water Year 2020: Kings Subbasin Annual Report update

The North Fork Kings GSA (NFKGSA), 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.  Dryer conditions in water year 2020 (Sept 2019 – Oct 2020) strained groundwater supplies across the Kings Subbasin, evidence that cooperation among groundwater users and strategic surface supply management will be critical to achieving sustainability by 2040.

The Annual Report includes an overview of groundwater conditions in the region including groundwater extraction, surface water supply available 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.

Click HERE to read full Annual Report.

The Kings Subbasin saw improvements in groundwater storage in the 2019, but dryer conditions in 2020 led to the reduction observed in this year’s Annual Report. In light of the Annual Report, the North Fork Kings GSA is taking the opportunity to develop and execute the best strategy to achieve sustainability and secure water supply for its landowners and stakeholders. Projects efforts to date that will help provide a groundwater supply buffer for landowners to use during the dryer years include:

Development of a Groundwater Banking Policy that outlines parameters for landowner groundwater banking projects within the jurisdiction of the North Fork Kings GSA. The policy’s objectives include improving groundwater conditions, increasing water supplies, assisting in meeting Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) objectives, providing flexibility to landowners, and ensuring no negative impacts to overlying owners.

Installation of a multi-completion monitor well through the Department of Water Resources Technical Support Services program. This well will increase data capacity and monitor sustainability progress to ensure NFKGSA is achieving its mitigation targets.

Completion of the Basin 11 Improvement and Expansion Project. The project consisted of the development of a groundwater recharge basin on a 52-acre site using Kings River floodwater as the primary water source. This basin improved conveyance capacity of the Liberty Canal by constructing a turnout and check structure, flow meters, a basin with exterior levees, a settling pond, an outlet to Murphy Slough, and monitoring wells.

Completion of the Terra Linda Recharge project. The project consists of a percolation basin located south of the Mendota Pool and adjacent to the Fresno Slough. This project decreased groundwater salinity levels to benefit domestic wells and the City of Mendota.

Progress on the Laton North Recharge Project. The purpose of this project is to utilize excess surface water for groundwater recharge by diverting water from Cole Slough, a distributary of the Kings River, into a groundwater recharge basin during wet years. The proposed project will involve the construction of a groundwater recharge basin and maintenance of an existing inlet structure to accommodate an additional 36″ mainline pipe. The project would utilize gravitational flows and would not require electricity or permanent on-site personnel to operate. All surface waters for the project will be supplied by Laguna Irrigation District in the form of its Pre-1914 water supply during flood events.

NFKGSA will continue to implement innovative projects that will lead to a sustainable, resilient, and steadfast supply of groundwater for the region. To receive updates on these projects and more, groundwater conditions, and other ways to get involved with the work NFKGSA is doing, sign up for our E-Updates and visit our website at northforkkings.org.

Groundwater Use Survey mailed to landowners will help maximize available groundwater supply

Join North Fork Kings GSA landowners who have already submitted their survey. Submit yours by April 30, 2021.

The North Fork Kings GSA is a conducting a Groundwater Use Survey to better understand land and water use across the service area to maximize available groundwater supply under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). By filling out the survey, landowners have already begun to participate in achieving a sustainable groundwater supply that is strong through cycles of drought.

The survey was mailed to all North Fork Kings GSA landowners, excluding those on a public water system, the first week of April with an April 30th due date. Participants are encouraged to fill out the survey which assesses concerns regarding groundwater supply and SGMA, willingness to share groundwater and well information, and includes a section on land use and irrigation.

Information collected will give landowners a fair and equitable opportunity to use available groundwater supply by giving the North Fork Kings GSA a clearer picture of groundwater demand across the agency.

Landowners have flexibility to return the mailed survey in the provided postage paid return envelope or can download and fill out the digital online survey at www.northforkkings.org/survey. Depending on landowners’ number of APNs, the digital survey offers an easy user experience by auto-populating APN fields based on survey code.

Survey results will be presented in aggregate at the conclusion of the survey, and individual responses will not be associated with personal landowner information. Landowners who submit the survey are entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

Spanish surveys are available upon request. Contact the North Fork Kings GSA at (559) 242-6118 or survey@northforkkings.org.

New Policies Adopted: Rules & Regulations and Groundwater Banking Policy

After committee review and a 30 day public comment period, the North Fork Kings GSA board adopted the following policies at their December 16 meeting:

The Rules and Regulations are established by the Board of the North Fork Kings GSA to provide for the sustainable management of groundwater within the North Fork Kings GSA boundaries. The document covers groundwater monitoring, groundwater accounting/data management system, fees, and surface water recharge in the underground.

The Groundwater Banking Policy outlines parameters for landowner groundwater banking projects within the jurisdiction of the North Fork Kings GSA. The policy’s objectives include improving groundwater conditions, increasing water supplies, assisting in meeting Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) objectives, providing flexibility to landowners, and ensuring no negative impacts to overlying owners.

The final versions of both documents are available on HERE.

Stakeholders invited to review and comment on Rules and Regulations, Groundwater Banking Policy drafts

Draft Rules and Regulations and a draft Groundwater Banking Policy are available for public review.

The 30-day public review and comment period for the drafts will conclude December 2, 2020. All comments can be submitted via email to comments@northforkkings.org.

The Rules and Regulations are established by the Board of the North Fork Kings GSA to provide for the sustainable management of groundwater within the North Fork Kings GSA boundaries, and covers groundwater monitoring, groundwater accounting/data management system, fees, and surface water recharge in the underground.

The draft Groundwater Banking Policy outlines parameters for landowner groundwater banking projects within the jurisdiction of the North Fork Kings GSA. The policy’s objectives include improving groundwater conditions, increasing water supplies, assisting in meeting Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) objectives, providing flexibility to landowners, and ensuring no negative impacts to overlying owners.

The North Fork Kings GSA is working to adopt board policies to guide efforts toward sustainability in the years to come. Stakeholders are encouraged to review and provide comments on draft board policies as they become available. Visit the board policy webpage to review the draft Rules and Regulations and draft Groundwater Banking Policy.

Board Reappoints Rural Community Advisory Committee Members

At the September 23 Board Meeting, the North Fork Kings GSA Board reappointed five members to the Rural Community Advisory Committee (RCAC). The purpose of the RCAC is to represent the interests of rural communities. The RCAC members will assist the Board in providing input, information, and recommendations regarding the sustainable management of groundwater in the North Fork Kings GSA area.

The following RCAC members were reappointed to the committee: Jim Petty from the community of Riverdale; Amanda Monaco from Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability; Angel Hernandez from the community of Lanare; Andrew Zonneveld from Zonneveld Dairies; and Isabel Solorio from the community of Lanare.

The committee members serve at the pleasure of the board and shall include, but not be limited to, representatives of domestic well owners, municipal well operators, local land use planning agencies, residents served by a public water system that serves 200 or more connections, residents served by a small community water system, residents served by a public water system that serves fewer than 200 connections, and environmental justice organizations or community benefit organizations with demonstrated experience working with disadvantaged communities and with expertise in drinking water, groundwater, or land use.

In addition to the reappointments, the Board also took action to approve the development of a community outreach flyer to encourage residents in the communities of Laton, Riverdale and Lanare to become more involved in the NFKGSA meetings and activities.

Rural Community Advisory Committee Applications Available

The NFKGSA Board is requesting applications for those who would like to serve on the Rural Community Advisory Committee (RCAC). 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 members shall serve at the pleasure of the Board and shall include, but not be limited to, representatives of domestic well owners, municipal well operators, local land use planning agencies, residents served by a public water system that serves 200 or more connections, residents served by a small community water system, residents served by a public water system that serves fewer than 200 connections, and environmental justice organizations or community benefit organizations with demonstrated experience working with disadvantaged communities and with expertise in drinking water, groundwater, or land use.

For more information go to NFKGSA Rural Community Advisory Committee webpage.

 

 

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