Woodlake votes to allow portions of Wutchumna and Sentinel Butte into Greater Kaweah GSA

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By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN

WOODLAKE – The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) signed into law in Sept. of 2014 has flooded cities, counties, farmers and water providers with quandaries. Over the last three years few of those questions have been ironed out, including what to do with water companies that have properties all over the place.

SGMA forced the creation of a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) for sub-basins. The Kaweah Sub-basin currently has three GSAs and water companies run throughout them leaving a hurdle for water providers. Wutchumna Water Company and Sentinel Butte are a part of the East Kaweah GSA but have properties in Woodlake, which are a part of the Greater Kaweah GSA creating a small but noticeable hurdle.

Wutchumna owns Bravo Lake which is in Woodlake while Sentinel Butte owns an area of property where some of their pumps are located.

On Monday, Aug. 14 the City Council voted to allow Wutchumna Water Company and Sentinel Butte into the Greater Kaweah. But the companies are not necessarily a part of the Greater Kaweah now, just the properties that are within the Woodlake city limits. This could make for a complicated situation over the next three years when the East Kaweah GSA, Greater Kaweah GSA and Mid Kaweah GSA have to determine what constitutes sustainability within the sub-basin.

“We’re going to have to be extra careful when including them in the process…In a sense it does change things because you’re adding another layer to a new governing board,” said Woodlake community development director Jason Waters.

The contract between the City and the two water companies states that there will be coordinated management between the Greater Kaweah and their properties in Woodlake. But it also notes that in the future, if the Greater Kaweah’s sustainability measures of the properties are more onerous than the East Kaweah either party can call for an immediate conference in regards to governing that area.

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