Fresno, California (January 21, 2022) – Today the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that the Westside Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (Westside GSP) submitted by Westlands Water District, acting as a Groundwater Sustainability Agency, has received an incomplete determination under the provisions of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The determination starts a 180-day window to address DWR’s comments. In response, Westlands Water District General Manager Tom Birmingham issued the following statement:
“Westlands has monitored groundwater conditions since the 1950s and has actively managed groundwater since the adoption of its Groundwater Management Plan in 1996. The Westside GSP, adopted pursuant to additional authorities provided by SGMA, includes numerous actions to ensure that groundwater levels stay at or above 2015 levels. The Westside GSP includes advanced monitoring, data, metering, and groundwater recharge programs to ensure that neither the groundwater basin nor the local communities that rely on it will be harmed by continued extractions of groundwater.”
“Westlands staff worked diligently to address potential deficiencies in the Westside GSP identified by DWR in its November 2021 preliminary determination letter, and we are disappointed that Westlands and DWR lacked sufficient time to adequately evaluate potential modifications to the Westside GSP in response to the November letter. Westlands appreciates the opportunity to further engage with DWR to clarify the strategies outlined in the Westside GSP, and we are confident that the issues raised by the January 21, 2022, determination will be resolved in the next six months. We look forward to continuing to work with DWR to update the Westside GSP in full compliance with SGMA.”
Through the implementation of the Westside GSP, groundwater use will be more effectively managed and undesirable results avoided, reaching the basin’s sustainability goal a decade before the 2040 deadline. This living document is to be updated every five years based on data collected during the implementation of the Westside GSP.
The Westside GSP was submitted to DWR on January 23, 2020, and Westlands began implementing the Plan. On November 18, 2021, Westlands received a preliminary determination letter outlining some of the potential deficiencies in the plan submitted. After receipt of the November letter, Westlands staff met frequently with DWR to begin the consultation process to resolve the identified issues. Following today’s determination, Westlands has until July 20, 2022, to resolve the identified issues in order to receive approval of the Westside GSP.