MEETING NOTES: North Kern Water Storage District board members hope a new groundwater plan will be reviewed by state regulators

November 22, 2023
Sonia Lemus, freelance for SJV Water
by Sonia Lemus, freelance for SJV Water
CVP: Central Valley Project. CVC: Cross Valley Canal. KCWA SWP: Kern County Water Agency, State Water Project.
Sonia Lemus, freelance for SJV Water
Sonia Lemus, freelance for SJV Water

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* “Meeting Notes” is a new feature focused on Kern County water districts, paid for by a grant from the James B. McClatchy Foundation. Please consider supporting SJV Water so we can continue this important coverage.

Meeting: North Kern Water Storage District board of directors.

Date: Nov. 8, 2023

Agenda and board packet: CLICK HERE

Main Topic: North Central Kern Groundwater Sustainability Plan

North Kern Water Storage District is part of the North Central Kern (NCK) Groundwater Sustainability Agency, along with 22 other entities. The NCK GSA is looking to send a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The NCK has been discussing whether to submit one or multiple plans to the SWRCB. 

The single plan has an estimated total budget of $1,234,676. With an added contingency, the estimated cost is $1.3 million. The $1.3 million will be split among the 22 participating entities with North Kern’s share about $60,000.

North Kern directors are hoping the NCK submits one plan because there is concern that the SWRCB may not actually review a new submitted GSP if all 22 entities submit plans individually. 

Currently, NCK is drafting an email to ask SWRCB to review the submitted GSP plan before an anticipated hearing regarding an inadequate finding of the Kern subbasin’s previously submitted groundwater plans. NCK is hoping that by submitting just one plan there is a better possibility the SWRCB will actually review it.

There are two entities within NCK pushing to submit individual plans: Semitropic Water Storage District and Henry Miller Water District. 

This is because the SWRCB stated during its review of the Tulare Lake subbasin plan covering Kings County, that if a single groundwater plan fails  –  all the basin members fail. 

Meaning that all 22 NCK entities would be sent into probation and would need to then report to the SWRCB individually.

One board member expressed his frustration with the situation stating that he didn’t have faith in the plan. He thinks the GSP will fail and lead to probation. 

Despite his belief, the board member asked if it was possible to submit the GSP and exclude Semitropic and Henry Miller, since they are pushing for individual plans. It was answered that there is a possibility to do that with a subgroup of the NCK members. 

The board member giving the report expressed that they are confident they can have a GSP plan that gets approved by the SWRCB. 

The presenting board member requested the motion be approved, so they can at least work on the GSP with the shared chapters of the plan with NCK.

Action: The board approved the motion for the Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan outline, Technical Working Group (TWG) Scope of Work (SOW) and Budget, and Cost Sharing Agreement as substantially presented providing for potential non-substantial changes or revisions.

How to attend: North Kern meets at 7 a.m. on the 3rd Tuesday of each month. You can join via teleconference calling (877) 567‐8582 using the Phone Conference ID: 944 706 059#

Sonia Lemus, freelance for SJV Water

SJV Water is an independent, nonprofit news site dedicated to covering water in the San Joaquin Valley. Get inside access to SJV Water by becoming a member.


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