Tulare Lake Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Agencies.

By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice 

During a special board meeting on May 29, the Kings County Water District voted to withdraw from the Mid-Kings River Groundwater Sustainability Agency and the joint powers authority it operates under. The motion to withdraw was made by KCWD president Barry McCutcheon — who also serves as the MKR GSA president — and seconded by KCWD director Ernest Taylor. The motion passed without opposition.  

After the Tulare Lake Subbasin was placed on probation in April, the Mid-Kings River GSA was scrutinized for not approving a revised draft groundwater plan that the five GSAs within the Tulare Subbasin planned to bring before the State Water Board at the probationary hearing.  

On May 20, the Kings County Farm Bureau sent a letter to McCutcheon, demanding his and the entire Board of Director’s resignations along with the General Manager Dennis Mills. The letter explained that three KCWD directors hold seats on the MKR GSA and Mills serves as the General Manager for both agencies, which have “failed the landowners in their service area.” 

“The most critical breakdown was the failure to submit a Groundwater Sustainability Plan to the Department of Water Resources, which resulted in the State Water Resources Control Board placing the Tulare Lake Subbasin on probation,” the letter stated.  

The MKR GSA is a joint powers authority comprised of the Kings County Water District, the City of Hanford, and the County of Kings. With the KCWD’s withdrawal, the JPA is left to the city and county as well as the responsibility to reach compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  

In a Facebook post, the Kings County Farm Bureau expressed its disagreement with the KCWD’s withdrawal from the GSA. 

“This action leaves the future of the sub-basin unknown,” Kings County Farm Bureau said. “KCFB hopes that the County of Kings and the City of Hanford will renegotiate a JPA quickly and get the GSA and sub-basin back on track.” 

A formal notice will be issued to the joint powers authority, starting the 60-day notice to the County of Kings and the City of Hanford, initiating KCWD’s withdrawal from the Mid-Kings River GSA. 

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