Water Year 2024 Groundwater Allocations
At a special board meeting on September 26, 2023, the Greater Kaweah GSA Board members approved the Water Year 2024 (WY 2024) Native Sustainable Yield Allocation along with Tier 1 and 2 Penalty Allocations for the Greater Kaweah Agricultural Management Area, an area which includes irrigated and non-irrigated ag land.
The approved groundwater allocations set a limit on groundwater pumping for WY 2024 (October 1, 2023– September 30, 2024) and are as follows (units are in evapotranspiration i.e., net usage):
- Native Sustainable Yield Allocation is 0.62 acre-feet/acre
- Tier 1 Penalty Allocation is 0.56 acre-feet/acre
- Tier 2 Penalty Allocation is 0.69 acre-feet/acre
The combined total for Native Sustainable Yield, Tier 1 and Tier 2 is 1.87 acre-feet/acre.
Groundwater Allocation Timeline
Groundwater Allocation Public Comment & Review Process
Please note: The Greater Kaweah GSA initially used the term Pumping Cap in outreach materials to describe what is now referred to as the Groundwater Allocation in the final Rules & Regulations. Any materials created and distributed after the August 15th adoption of the final Rules & Regulations will use the term Groundwater Allocation instead of Pumping Cap.
The Greater Kaweah GSA leadership is committed to open and transparent communications. Landowner involvement in workshops, webinars, committee and board meetings, Q&A sessions, and extended public comment and review periods played an important role in the development of the Greater Kaweah GSA Groundwater Allocation.
The first draft of the Rules and Regulations outlining a proposed groundwater allocation was posted on the Greater Kaweah GSA website on December 15, 2021.
The Greater Kaweah GSA Board conducted three initial public events to provide landowners an opportunity to learn about the proposed groundwater allocation policy and ask questions. These events were promoted through email updates, mailers, postcards, and website postings. Webinar recordings and presentation slides are available at the bottom of this webpage.
The Greater Kaweah GSA also invited the public to submit comments on the original Rules and Regulations document which included a draft groundwater allocation proposal. The public review and comment deadline was initially scheduled to end on April 26, 2022, but the Greater Kaweah GSA extended the deadline through May 12, 2022 to give landowners ample time to provide comments. After reviewing all public comments and revising the Rules and Regulations based on public comments received to that point, the Greater Kaweah GSA recirculated a revised Rules and Regulations document and extending the public review and comment period for the second time through August 5, 2022.
A final Rules & Regulations document was adopted by the Board on August 15, 2022 and posted to the website here on this page. The Groundwater Allocation as outlined in the Rules & Regulations will go into effect in the Greater Kaweah GSA on October 1, 2022.
Groundwater Allocation will Change Your Groundwater Management Strategy
Greater Kaweah GSA Groundwater Allocation
The Greater Kaweah GSA adopted final Rules & Regulations outlining a groundwater allocation program beginning on October 1, 2022.
The Greater Kaweah GSA’s First Final Rules and Regulations document outlines a draft groundwater allocation proposal.
The groundwater allocation program will change the way landowners manage the use of their groundwater supply by allocating an amount of groundwater that can be used over a period of time. The Greater Kaweah GSA Board’s goal was to develop a program that provides for equality and flexibility of all landowners in the Greater Kaweah GSA service area.
Graphic: DRAFT Groundwater Pumping Cap Proposal. All Gross Acreage Groundwater Users in GKGSA (Total pumping cap and Temporary Tier volumes not yet defined)
Why a Groundwater Allocation is Needed
Due to an oversubscribed dependence on groundwater in the Kaweah Subbasin, long-term analysis shows groundwater levels declining over the past 20 years and earlier. For the years 1997 to 2017, the region has experienced average groundwater declines in the range of 100 feet. The Kaweah Subbasin is currently estimated to have an annual average overdraft of approximately 80,000 acre-feet per year (an acre foot of water equals about 326,000 gallons of enough water to cover a football field 1-foot deep).
Due to the last two severely dry years, groundwater pumping has persisted and much more has been pumped from the aquifer than was replaced. This increased pumping has created a larger shortfall in groundwater levels than anticipated in the Greater Kaweah’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan adopted in January 2020. Although the Plan calls for a gradual reduction of the overdraft, pumping over the last two years requires more immediate actions to be taken through demand-side management if the short and long-term goals as submitted to the State are to be met. Compliance with SGMA is not optional and is best accomplished without State intervention.
Landowner Tool: Using the Kaweah Water Dashboard to Support Groundwater Allocation Implementation
The Greater Kaweah GSA has partnered with the East and Mid-Kaweah GSAs to develop the Kaweah Water Dashboard, a tool that empowers landowners to strategically respond to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
Water Dashboard Overview
Landowners who create an account on the Water Dashboard will be able to visualize and understand their evapotranspiration (ET) data at the field level in the context of their farming operations and groundwater pumping. This is the same data the Greater Kaweah GSA will use to track new groundwater allocations going into effect beginning October 1, 2022. The Water Dashboard will also allow landowners to identify and report back any issues with the data and information the Greater Kaweah GSA is using (i.e., a parcel boundary change, a discrepancy in assessed acreage, incorrect crop information) to ensure transparent and accurate groundwater allocation accounting.
Land IQ ET and Groundwater Use Measurement
The Kaweah Subbasin has contracted with Land IQ to collect monthly evapotranspiration (ET) data at the field level. This data will inform the Greater Kaweah GSAs implementation of new pumping caps. Land IQ’s ET is a data-driven model developed for detailed, field-scale water use estimation. Water use estimation is calculated as ET, or the amount of water consumed by the plant through evaporation and transpiration. Using ET tells us the amount of water consumed by the crop, rather than just the total water applied.
Landowners and growers can view this monthly ET data for their fields using the Kaweah Water Dashboard, scheduled for release in July 2022. Landowners can request early access and create an account in mid-June by signing up here.
Learn more about Land IQ
Kaweah Subbasin Land IQ Webinar, March 17, 2022
Webinar & Workshop Resources
WEBINAR RECORDING & SLIDES
The Greater Kaweah GSA has hosted three informational Groundwater Allocation Webinars. Access the webinar recordings below.
May 4 Webinar:
December Webinar Recording and Slides:
WORKSHOP RECORDING & SLIDES
Two informational Groundwater Allocation Workshops were hosted at the Tulare International Agri-Center. View event materials below:
October 12, 2022 Workshop
A workshop was hosted on October 12, 2022 providing information on the Greater Kaweah GSA groundwater allocation program and the Kaweah Water Dashboard. These presentations were followed by a time of Q&A and support for landowners seeking help in setting up their Water Dashboard accounts. The presentation slides from this workshop can be accessed below.
Januar 5, 2022 Workshop
A workshop was hosted on January 5, 2022 at 1:30 PM in person at the Tulare International Agri-Center and livestreamed online via Zoom. The presentation slides and workshop recording can be accessed below.
English Workshop Video Recording:
Spanish Workshop Video Recording:
Implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is a State law that requires groundwater subbasins to achieve sustainability goals by 2040 through management and balance of groundwater supplies. SGMA has severe consequences to landowners if its requirements are not met, including more costly state intervention. Local management is needed to more equitably source this valuable resource for our local community for years to come. SGMA affects ALL users of groundwater.
Compliance with SGMA is not optional and is best accomplished locally. The Greater Kaweah GSA Board is dedicated to navigating SGMA together as a local community.
To identify if your property lies within the Greater Kaweah GSA, use the County of Tulare GSA Map Viewer Tool. Some errors in the tool have occurred, so please contact GSA staff if you see any issues.