East Kaweah has started outlining their policies and procedures he could not comment on the other two GSAs in the Kaweah Basin, but the belief is their policies and plans will be similar.
The full board will be voting in October for the suggested ETa limit of 2.15 acre-feet. Growers that use more than 2.15 acre-feet will be financially penalized. It has been suggested that the board will make this retroactive, meaning that it will begin October 1 (even though their meeting is in late October). This number will be reassessed every 5 years with the goal of 0.85 AF by 2035.
The following has also been proposed by the technical committee. If you have access to surface water then you can use up to 2.15 AF before you will be charged for water. If you do not have access to surface water you will have 0.85 AF of native water which is at a zero cost. The balance of irrigation water you use will vary based upon the tiered pricing between $275 and $750 per acre-feet, depending upon how much is used.
A water market is being developed at Tulare Irrigation District to allow growers to buy and sell water. There has not been policy on what the durability of this water is (how far you can “move” it).
Some of the money collected from EKGSA will be used to buy inexpensive land to reach the target of 25,000 acres of land that needs to be fallowed.
Irrigated acres that do not have access to surface water will be the most affected, land with low-value crops or dairyman that are double-cropping will suffer the most short term.
When I asked “If you could get in front of growers and tell them something to help them out with SGMA, what would it be?” It was said that growers need a better understanding of how much water they are using so they can make smarter decisions on planning how and what they farm.”
Next Board of Director’s Meeting: October 21, 3:00 PM