Why did the South Fork Kings GSA develop a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP)?
The Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) is a requirement of the 2014 California law, Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The State law requires all high- and medium-priority basin GSAs (Groundwater Sustainability Agencies) develop and implement a GSP. Basins designated as medium- or high-priority and critically overdrafted were required to complete a GSP by January 31, 2020. SGMA defines a basin as critically overdrafted “when continuation of present water management practices would probably result in significant adverse overdraft-related environmental, social, or economic impacts.” The GSP is a roadmap for how a basin will avoid the adverse effects of overdraft and achieve balanced levels of groundwater to reach sustainability.
The South Fork Kings GSA (MAGSA) is located within a designated high-priority, critically overdrafted basin. South Fork Kings GSA coordinated with the four other Tulare Lake Subbasin GSAs to develop and submit a GSP to the State before the January 31, 2020 deadline.
You can download the final GSP here.
What is a Groundwater Sustainability Plan?
A Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) is a roadmap for how a basin will avoid the adverse effects of groundwater overdraft and achieve balanced levels of groundwater to reach sustainability.
The Tulare Lake Subbasin GSP includes a physical description of the groundwater management area including groundwater conditions, groundwater management criteria, a monitoring program, and projects and measurable objectives to become sustainable within 20 years. It is the goal of the South Fork Kings GSA Board to allow flexibility in supply and demand-side solutions to achieve sustainability.
While the State’s requirements for a GSP’s content are the same for all GSAs, and the South Fork Kings GSA joined four additional GSA’s to submit a single GSP, its specific issues and solutions included in the Plan are very specific to the unique challenges within the groundwater management area that it serves.
View GSP FAQs here.
Who is involved in implementing the Groundwater Sustainability Plan?
Groundwater Sustainability Agency
The State has granted local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) powers to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in groundwater subbasins. In most cases, multiple GSAs exist within a subbasin – the State measures sustainability success at the subbasin level rather than individual GSA level.
Although GSAs may choose to develop individual GSPs, they must cooperate under a formal Coordination Agreement to bring the subbasin to sustainable groundwater levels by 2040. GSAs may instead decide to coordinate to submit one single GSP covering the entire subbasin.
The South Fork Kings GSA is one of five GSAs in the Tulare Lake Subbasin. The GSAs developed and submitted one single GSP to the State, and will continue to cooperate to ensure sustainability is met by 2040.
CA Department of Water Resources
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is the regulating and assisting agency under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Their role is to review and approve Groundwater Sustainability Plans and track progress of local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) implementing their Plans. They also assist GSAs by providing data, tools, and technical support services.
South Fork Kings GSA highly values public input and participation. Engagement in South Fork Kigns GSA’s activities is necessary for the consideration of local stakeholders’ interests and preferences. The South Fork Kings GSA will continue to provide opportunities for the public to engage in the GSP implementation process.
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State Water Resources Control Board
The State Water Resources Control Board (State Board or SWRCB) is the enforcement agency under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Their role is to enforce SGMA mandates are met at the local level by Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs). If GSAs fail to meet SGMA’s mandates, the State Board will intervene to implement the law. If a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) is found by CA DWR to be inadequate, the subbasin will be deemed “probationary”. If a GSA fails to correct the issues under probation, the State Board will intervene requiring any groundwater extractors to file an extraction report with the State Board. The State Board may require the use of meters to measure extractions. The associated fees of State Intervention are much higher than fees that may be collected by the local GSA, and would not include beneficial local projects or incentives for sustainability.