Groundwater Sustainability Plan

SGMA requires groundwater basins designated as high- or medium-priority to develop groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) by 2020 or 2022 and reach sustainability by 2040 or 2042, respectively.

In January 2020, the Cawelo Groundwater Sustainability Agency (CGSA) submitted to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) a GSP as a Management Area Plan (MAP) in the Kern Groundwater Authority (KGA) GSP.  At that time, the Kern Subbasin (Subbasin) submitted a total of five (5) GSPs and Coordination Agreement (Kern Subbasin GSP) to DWR to cover the entire Subbasin as per SGMA Regulations.

In January 2022 DWR provided the review of the Kern Subbasin GSP notifying the Kern Subbasin that DWR determined the Kern Subbasin GSP was incomplete and deficient in three (3) areas (Incomplete Determination).

The CGSA adopted an amended GSP in July 2022 (2022 GSP) in an attempt to meet the requirements of SGMA and address the deficiencies noted in the DWR Incomplete Determination.  The CGSA 2022 GSP was included as a MAP in the amended KGA GSP.  The Subbasin submitted a total of six (6) GSPs and a Coordination Agreement (2022 Kern Subbasin GSP) in July 2022 to cover the entire Subbasin as per SGMA Regulations.

In March 2023 DWR designated the 2022 Kern Subbasin GSP as ‘inadequate’ (DWR determination).  As a result, the Subbasin is subject to the state intervention process as provided for in the SGMA Regulations.  The first formal step of the state intervention process would be a State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) public hearing to consider designating the Subbasin as ‘probationary’ based on any specific deficiencies in the GSP that remain unresolved at the time of the hearing.

In response to the DWR determination, and in an attempt to avoid “probation”, the 20 Subbasin GSAs worked collaboratively to develop amendments to the 2022 Kern Subbasin GSP and accompanying Coordination Agreement.  This effort resulted in the Draft 2024 Amended Subbasin GSP.  The Draft 2024 Amended Subbasin GSP has been developed to meet the SGMA regulatory requirements, respond to the three (3) deficiencies identified by DWR, address comments provided by State Board staff during technical review meetings, and increase coordination among the Subbasin GSAs, other local agencies, and stakeholders.  The Draft Kern Subbasin GSP is a collection of fourteen (14) GSAs, which collectively manage the majority of the Subbasin (67.6 percent).  The CGSA is included in the draft Kern Subbasin GSP.  In May 2024, the CGSA Board authorized the submittal of the Draft 2024 Amended Subbasin GSP to State Board staff for review and feedback as well as public review and comment.  The Draft Kern Subbasin GSP is provided below.

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