Water in Kings County is derived from two main sources. The first source is groundwater that is pumped for irrigation and domestic uses, the second is surface water from various sources including the State Water Project and the Kings River.
2. How is water regulated in the State of California?
The State Water Resources Control Board oversees the administration of surface water rights in the state and the Regional Water Boards oversee water quality programs. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act was the first statewide groundwater regulation and was passed by the legislature in 2014 and provides the authority to form local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSA's) that will be responsible for bringing groundwater basins into sustainability by 2040.
3. What is the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act?
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act was a package of three separate bills that were signed by Governor Brown in September 2014. This legislation created a statewide mandate for all groundwater basins to reach sustainability by 2040. The legislation empowered local agencies to form Groundwater Sustainability Agencies to develop and implement Groundwater Sustainability Plans that will outline how the GSA’s intend to reach sustainability.
4. How many subbasins are in Kings County?
Kings County is in the Tulare Lake Hydrologic Region and overlies five different subbasins as defined by the Department of Water Resources in a report referred to as “Bulletin 118”.
The five subbasins Kings County overlies are:
- Westside Subbasin
- Kaweah Subbasin
- Kings Subbasin
- Pleasant Valley
- Tulare Lake Subbasin.
5. How many different GSA’s have been formed in Kings County?
- Westside Subbasin
- Kaweah Subbasin
Tulare Lake Subbasin
- El Rico GSA
- Mid Kings River GSA
If you would like to be able to search by address you can also use the Department of Water Resources GSA Map Viewer
6. Where are we with SGMA Compliance right now?
Because 4 out of the five subbasins have been designated as "critically overdrafted", they have an accelerated timeline to meet state mandated deadlines.The GSA’s in all of the subbasins were formed by the State mandated deadline of June 30, 2017. Last spring, the County was awarded a grant to begin work on a groundwater model that will be necessary to complete the Groundwater Sustainability Plan in the Tulare Lake subbasin. There are current efforts in the Tulare Lake subbasin to complete one GSP for the basin and in the other three basins, each GSA will be completing their own GSP.
The next deadline is to have GSP’s complete by January 31, 2020 and each subbasin has received grant funding from the Department of Water Resources to assist these efforts.
7. What are the consequences of not complying?
If the local GSA’s cannot manage groundwater without causing any of the six undesirable results identified in the statute, then the Department of Water Resources may determine that the GSP is inadequate and the State Water Resources Control Board will declare the basin probationary. The Board then has all of the authorities of a GSA while implementing an interim plan, including curtailing pumping and levying state fees that require no voter approval.
8. Have you received a Proposition 218 ballot you have questions about?
To secure funding for the Groundwater Sustainability Plans, many GSA's have decided to conduct a Proposition 218 election for an assessment. If you have any questions, please reach out via the contact information listed on the ballot. The Kings River Conservation District also has a calendar with the meeting dates and locations of most local GSA's which can be accessed by clicking this link.