What is the SGMA?
The California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was enacted by the California legislature in late 2014 and it went into effect on January 1, 2015. It provides for a legal framework to reasonably regulate production of groundwater in California for the first time in State history (surface water has been regulated since 1914). SGMA generally gives local agencies the authority necessary to physically manage groundwater in designated basins or subbasins throughout the State in a sustainable manner over a defined period of time (a 20-40 year horizon). It specifically provides for creation of governing Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to write and implement Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) to accomplish measurable goals and prevent unreasonable physical harm to the basin or the water resource. East Tule GSA has taken the steps necessary to serve as a GSA for several of those basins.
What is East Tule GSA?
Since late 2014, the public agencies in the Tule Sub-basin have been meeting to discuss the implementation of SGMA. In order to be in compliance with SGMA, all areas in a sub-basin must be covered by a GSA. If more than one GSA covers a sub-basin, a coordination agreement must be drafted and agreed upon by the GSAs.
Since 2015, the City Of Porterville, Porterville Irrigation District, Saucelito Irrigation District, Teapot Dome Water District, Vandalia Water District, Terra Bella Irrigation District, Kern-Tulare Water District, the County, and environmental groups like WildPlaces, Community Water Center, Sequoia Riverlands Trust, and Friends of Yaudanchi have been meeting to form the Eastern Tule GSA to cover each District, as well as, white area in the Tule Sub-basin (map). The Boards and Council of county, city and districts approved an MOU (Tulare County Agreement No. 27537) in early 2016 with the intent of forming the Eastern Tule GSA. Thereafter, these agencies approved a Joint Powers Agreement (Tulare County Agreement No. 27912) to officially form the agency on December 6, 2016.
Currently, on the second Thursday of every month, WildPlaces attends the ETGSA stakeholders’ meeting to learn about and help guide GSA actions that serve the environment, it’s wildlife and habitats, and the communities that are less represented in the talks.