The East Tule Groundwater Sustainability Water Agency is racing the clock when it comes to meeting the state’s requirements by next year but the message is this:

Those who use groundwater will have to prepare for the possibility of pumping 10 percent less than they have in the past, beginning as soon as next year.

That was the message at a joint meeting of the agency’s stakeholders and executive board held on Thursday. While it’s still unknown how much less those who use groundwater will actually have to pump from the ground, an analysis presented on Thursday showed it’s likely less groundwater can be used as soon as next year.

The agency, which essentially covers Southeastern Tulare County, must submit a Groundwater Sustainability Plan to the state by January 31, 2020.

The Ground Sustainability Plan is now available for public review and will remain available until December 16. A public hearing on the plan will be held on the plan at 2 p.m. December 16 at Porterville City Hall.

There will also be at least two workshops on the groundwater analysis and plan with the first coming up on Sunday, October 20 from 3 to 4 p.m. At Ducor Elementary School. Another will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. November 13 at the Porterville College Conference Room Student Center.

Based on the analysis presented on Thursday, Southeastern Tulare County would have to reduced its groundwater use by 10 percent a year over the next 10 years, beginning in 2020 and 30 percent a year from 2031 to 2040. That would allow the area to have what would be considered groundwater sustainability by 2040.

The analysis stated the average use of groundwater in the agency’s area, which covers virtually all of Southeastern Tulare County is 340,000 acre feet a year. Average precipitation based on the criteria of the analysis for the area covered by the agency is 138,361 feet.

Other water that comes from such sources as rivers and mountains provides another 14,479 feet annually. 

Another source is 110,000 acre feet of surface water which comes from such sources as the Friant-Kern Canal. That still leaves 77,160 acre feet of groundwater needed that’s not provided for.

So to become groundwater sustainable by 2040, Southeastern Tulare County would have to reduced its groundwater usage by 10 percent — 7,705 acre feet — from 2020 to 2030 and 30 percent — 30,824 acre feet from 2031 to 2040.

It’s hoped the amount of surface water that can be delivered will be increased, which would increase the amount of groundwater that can be pumped.

The Groundwater Sustainability Plan can be reviewed by visiting easterntulegsa.com  and clicking on the GSP tab located at the top of the page. A form for public comment is available at the bottom.

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