McMullin Receives $214,000 Grant Funding

The McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) was part of a successful grant application that will bring $1.5 million into the Kings Subbasin for the development of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP). The McMullin Area GSA will receive $214,000 as their share of the grant award. The money will be used to offset some of the costs for the preparation of the McMullin Area GSP.

The grant was funded by Proposition 1 and awarded on a competitive basis. The full list of grant applications submitted is available on the Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant Program webpage.The Department of Water Resources announced its recommended awards for grants on February 6 for groundwater sustainability projects that directly benefit severely disadvantaged communities and for local agency development of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). DWR received 78 grant applications and is recommending that all receive awards, pending public comments and review of those comments.


Land Subsidence Reviewed for McMullin Area

Land subsidence is one of the six sustainability indicators that must be managed without causing undesirable results in a Groundwater Sustainability Plan. Technical Consultant Lynn Groundwater from Provost & Pritchard reviewed maps at the Ad Hoc Technical Committee meeting showing historic and current information on subsidence in the McMullin Area GSA territory.

Land subsidence occurs generally where the Corcoran Clay underlies the Valley, but recently land subsidence has been documented in some areas not underlain by the Corcoran clay.  The map below (click on map to enlarge) shows land subsidence from 1926 to 1970. This historical map shows subsidence as one foot in the middle of the McMullin territory and 4 feet in the upper left of McMullin’s boundary.

A more recent map from NASA shows the amount of land subsidence from May 2015 to May 2016 (click on map to enlarge). The green areas represent less subsidence. The yellow to orange areas are higher. The coloring within the McMullin Area indicates that subsidence varies across the territory. On the eastside of McMullin there has been minimal subsidence with it increasing as you go west. Overall there was less than 5 inches of subsidence from May 2015 to May 2016 in the McMullin Area GSA.

Ad Hoc Technical Advisory Committee Meeting Highlights

At the McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency’s Ad Hoc Technical Advisory Committee held on December 6, the participants heard a report from McMullin’s technical consultants, Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group (P&P). P&P provided an update on the development of the hydrogeologic conceptual model and the groundwater conditions and monitoring chapters of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP).

The GSP requires the identification of groundwater quality issues that may affect the supply and beneficial uses of groundwater, including a description and map of the location of known groundwater contamination sites and plumes. Water quality is one of the six undesirable results that must be addressed in the GSP. P&P staff members highlighted some of the groundwater quality issues that may be considered in the GSP, like the Raisin City oil fields.

Work is also being done on estimating the annual change in groundwater storage for the McMullin area over a 15-year period. The minimum threshold for reduction of groundwater storage shall be a total volume of groundwater that can be withdrawn from the basin without causing conditions that may lead to undesirable results.
Some of the elements being considered in the hydrogeologic conceptual model include understanding the structural trough of the Valley which governs the location of the sediments types. The McMullin Area service area is near the axis of the Valley on the eastside as shown in the visual below (click on map for larger image) that includes mostly San Joaquin River alluvial sediments and Dune Sands.

Using this information along with other factors, a picture of the McMullin Area’s groundwater conditions can start to emerge. One example is on the map below (click on image for larger view), where several elements are considered to determine the best locations for recharge. On this map, the dark green areas are the most desirable locations for recharge with the brown areas being the least desirable.

Technical Consultant Discusses Progress on Drafting Groundwater Sustainability Plan

The Board received a report on the progress of drafting three chapters for the McMullin Area’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan from their technical consultant, Provost & Pritchard. The Plan Area Chapter, which includes topics like a description of the geographic areas covered and other water and land use plans in the area, was submitted to McMullin Area’s Technical Advisory Committee for review.
The Groundwater Conditions Chapter is scheduled to be drafted by the end of November. This chapter will describe current and historical groundwater conditions in the McMullin Area including topics like groundwater elevation and depth, flows, storage variation, water quality and subsidence.
The Hydrogeologic Conceptual Model Chapter is scheduled to be drafted by the end of December. This chapter will characterize through a conceptual model the physical components and interaction of the surface water and groundwater systems in the area.

Board Receives Update on Groundwater Sustainability Plan

The Groundwater Sustainability Plan will cover a number of topics including the description of groundwater conditions, water budget, sustainable management criteria, monitoring, and projects. McMullin Area GSA’s technical consultant, Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group, is currently working on drafting the groundwater conditions and hydrogeologic conceptual model chapters. The groundwater conditions chapter will include topics like groundwater elevation and depth, flows, variation in storage, and water quality to name a few. The hydrogeologic conceptual model chapter will provide a visual and narrative description of groundwater conditions in the McMullin Area.

MAGSA Board Selects Attorney, Forms Adhoc Committees

At the August 2 McMullin Area GSA Board Meeting, the Board selected Ron Donlan from Ellison Schneider Harris & Donlan LLP out of Sacramento as General Counsel. Rob Donlan is a Partner in Ellison Schneider Harris & Donlan. Rob specializes in water and natural resources law, including all aspects of surface water and groundwater rights and management; state and federal Endangered Species Acts and fisheries laws; the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); water quality and wetlands regulation; and other areas of state and federal regulation involving use and management of water resources. Rob’s experience also includes public agency governance and administration, infrastructure and regulatory finance, desalination and recycled water use, and water supply for power and energy development.

To support the various administrative and technical functions of the McMullin Area GSA, several adhoc committees were formed with Board member appointments:

  • Technical Advisory Committee – Board Members Don Cameron and Jerry Rai
  • Financial Committee – Board Members Matt Abercrombie and Jeevan Singh
  • Outreach Committee – Board Members Matt Abercrombie and Jeevan Singh
  • Human Resources Committee – Board Members Jerry Rai and Jeevan Singh

In other business, the Board approved a contract to engage the firm Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group (P&P) through June 30, 2018 as the engineering firm to oversee, manage and coordinate the preparation of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). P&P proposed scope of work is segregated into several phases including data collection, compilation and review; GSP development; and administrative support. The total estimated fee for the services is $234,000 with $42,500 for the data collection, compilation and review phase, $153,000 for the GSP development phase, and $38,000 for the administration phase.

MAGSA Board Selects Engineering Firm, Approves Budget

At their June 15, 2017 Board meeting,  the McMullin Area GSA Board members, based on the recommendation of the ad hoc review committee, selected Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group as the engineering firm to oversee, manage and coordinate the preparation of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) for the McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA). Provost & Pritchard will be responsible for preparing a GSP that meets all the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and the GSP regulations along with coordinating the McMullin Area’s GSP with GSPs developed by adjacent GSAs.

The Board  also approved a budget for fiscal year July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018. The budget total is $500,000 and includes expenses for the engineering consultant, legal costs, Kings Subbasin coordination, and administrative services including outreach. The cost share for the three member agencies is based on their percent of McMullin Area’s total service area of 120,635 acres.  Raisin City Water District’s cost share is $214,350. Mid-Valley Water District’s is $56,700. County of Fresno’s cost share is $228,950.

Fresno County Agencies will File with State as the McMullin Area GSA, Website is Launched

Fresno County, Raisin City Water District and the Mid-Valley Water District took action at their April 5 Board meeting in Kerman to file paperwork with the State declaring the agency’s intent to be the exclusive groundwater sustainability agency (GSA) for a portion of the Kings Subbasin. The GSA area covers approximately 121,000 acres in western Fresno County.

The Board also approved at their April 5 meeting an outreach strategy to stakeholders that includes the launching of the website, The website will provide updates on the McMullin Area GSA activities including information about meetings, committees, and outreach events. McMullin Area stakeholders will also be able to sign-up on the website to receive e-mail updates specific to McMullin Area activities.

In 2014, Governor Brown signed landmark legislation called the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) into law in response to declining groundwater conditions exacerbated by the historic drought. SGMA is comprehensive legislation that governs the management and use of groundwater in the State.  Its intent is to provide for sustainable local management of groundwater basins while minimizing state intervention to only when necessary. SGMA mandates that critically overdrafted groundwater subbasins be managed by a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) by 2017, that the GSA create a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) by 2020, and that a subbasin be sustainable by 2040.

To comply with SGMA within the McMullin Area, water agencies and the County of Fresno came together to work on the formation of a GSA. After a number of agency meetings and outreach events to stakeholders, the group chose to formalize as a Joint Powers Authority that includes five board seats with representatives from each of the member agencies. Two seats are filled by Board members from the Raisin City Water District. One seat is filled by a Fresno County Supervisor and one seat by a Board Member from Mid-Valley Water District. The fifth seat is filled by a landowner within the white area who is appointed by Fresno County.

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