What is a GSP?
The Groundwater Sustainability Plan (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 GSP is a requirement of the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The State law requires all high- and medium-priority basin GSAs (Groundwater Sustainability Agencies) to develop and implement a GSP. Basins designated as medium or high-priority and critically overdrafted are 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.”
Why is the South Fork Kings GSA developing a GSP?
The South Fork Kings GSA (SFKGSA) lies within the Tulare Lake Subbasin, designated under SGMA as a high-priority critically overdrafted basin. As such, the SFKGSA will work with neighboring GSAs within the subbasin to develop a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) by the State mandated deadline of January 31, 2020. The GSP is the roadmap to sustainability, and will include projects and management actions that will be implemented to ensure sustainability is met by the State mandated deadline of 2040. The SFKGSA will work with neighboring GSAs in the Tulare Lake Subbasin to submit a single GSP for the Tulare Lake Subbasin.
What is included in a GSP?
South Fork Kings GSA’s GSP will include a physical description of the groundwater management area including groundwater conditions, a water budget, 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 to develop programs and management actions that allow flexibility in supply and demand-side solutions to achieve sustainability.
Although the Tulare Lake Subbasin will work to submit a single GSP utilizing coordinated input from all GSAs, the South Fork Kings GSA’s proposed issues and solutions will be very specific to the unique challenges within the groundwater management area that it serves.
For more detail on the required components of the GSP, click to view the CA DWR Plan Outline: click here
The State has granted local GSAs powers to implement the law. Success of GSP implementation and sustainability is measured at the subbasin-level rather than individual GSA-level (given multiple GSAs exist within a subbasin). The law states a GSP may be:
1) a single GSP developed and implemented by on GSA covering the entire subbasin,
2) a single GSP developed and implemented by multiple GSAs covering the entire subbasin, or
3) multiple GSPs implemented by multiple GSAs within the subbasin under a coordination agreement between those GSAs (Section 10727).
The South Fork Kings GSA is one of six GSAs within the Tulare Lake Subbasin. The GSAs have agreed to develop and implement a single GSP for the entire subbasin.
The South Fork Kings GSA highly values public input throughout the GSP process. Participation and engagement is necessary for the consideration of local stakeholders interests and preferences. The GSA will continually provide opportunity for the public to engage in the planning process. Check our GSP calendar for upcoming events, and if you haven’t already, click here to sign up for our Interested Persons email list.
The CA Department of Water Resources role in the GSP process is to provide data, tools, and support services to local GSAs tasked with implementing SGMA. They are not the enforcement entity, but are the regulating and assisting agency.
Visit their website here: water.ca.gov
The CA State Water Resources Control Board is the SGMA enforcement agency. If GSAs fail to meet mandates stipulated in SGMA, the Board will intervene to implement the law. If the GSP is found by DWR and the SWRCB to be inadequate after the January 31 2020 deadline, the subbasin will be deemed “probationary” and the State Board will step in. State Intervention will require any groundwater extractors to file an extraction report with the State Water Board, and the Board may require the use of meters to measure extractions. The associated fees of State Intervention are much higher than fees collected by the local GSA, and would not include beneficial local projects.
Click here for an SWRCB outline of State Intervention: click here