A bill that would create a groundwater management agency for the Kings River basin in Fresno and Tulare counties has been approved by the Legislature and awaits signing by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The bill was introduced by state Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford. Co-sponsors were state Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, and Assemblymen Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, and Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield.
“The ongoing drought has created unprecedented drops in our Valley’s water table and this is a proactive step in ensuring that future generations will have reliable groundwater,” Mathis said.
Under Senate Bill 37, the Kings River East Groundwater Sustainability Agency would be created and would be overseen by a seven-member board. The agency’s charge would be to develop a plan that ensures the groundwater basin that gets replenished by the Kings River would not be overdrafted.
The agency’s boundaries will consist of the area now covered by the Alta Irrigation District, the city of Reedley and a portion of the Kings River Water District. The city of Sanger is left out of the agency’s boundaries.
Six board members would be chosen from the Alta district; the counties of Fresno and Tulare; and various cities and special districts within the agency’s boundaries. A seventh member would be chosen by the board to represent agriculture.
If Brown signs the bill, the agency would become the 16th such entity in California commissioned to manage a specific groundwater basin.