MID Board Unable to Take Action Due to Madera County’s Failure to Implement the GSP
After extensive consideration and deliberation, the Madera Irrigation District (MID or District) Board of Directors at its March 21, 2023 Board Meeting declined to take an action on the Revised Joint Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP or Plan). No motion was made for approval of the Revised GSP and no vote was taken.
Madera Irrigation District has long voiced concerns over the Joint Groundwater Sustainability Plan that was approved in 2020, and, in particular, the implementation of (and failure to implement) that Plan by the Madera County Groundwater Sustainability Agency. While MID and its landowners have been investing millions of dollars in tangible projects that both reduce demand and enhance recharge over recent years, some other GSAs have not adhered to their commitments in the Plan and the implementation schedule. These delays and actions or inactions by some other GSAs, primarily Madera County GSA—the largest GSA, with the largest groundwater deficit—have significant real-world effects on the Madera Subbasin’s groundwater aquifer including the lowering of groundwater tables, water quality impacts, and domestic well concerns. The MID Board of Directors strongly felt the Revised GSP did not address these concerns.
MID has expressed these views in numerous forums and various platforms over the years, with unfortunately no resolution to date. From dialogue with the GSAs to formally filing a lawsuit against Madera County in Superior Court regarding the implementation of the 2020 Joint Groundwater Sustainability Plan, MID continues to strive to ensure implementation of projects and programs occur as agreed to in the GSP and on a schedule that will actually result in sustainable groundwater for Madera.
On March 21, 2023, MID’s Board of Directors did vote to approve the Coordination Agreement for the Madera Subbasin, as MID fully supports coordination efforts that will lead to groundwater sustainability. MID also approved the Domestic Well Memorandum of Understanding, a document that outlines an agreement to develop and fund a domestic well program for the Madera Subbasin. To date, New Stone Water District (NSWD), Gravelly Ford Water District (GFWD), and Root Creek Water District (RCWD) have not approved the Domestic Well Memorandum of Understanding.
“Madera Irrigation District is committed to its landowners, the Madera Subbasin, and sustainability. MID is also committed to meeting its obligations under the GSP and is disappointed in the lack of meaningful action by other GSAs, and specifically the Madera County GSA. Unfortunately, the Revised GSP failed to address these very impactful changes and factors” stated Thomas Greci, General Manager. “As demonstrated through its actions, MID is committed to reducing the adverse consequences of groundwater overdraft. However, MID cannot approve a plan that does not provide the accountability necessary to ensure other GSAs, including the Madera County GSA, likewise meet their obligations.”