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Summit examines groundwater supply sustainability
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With the drought occupying nearly every mind throughout the state, the Stanislaus Water Summit drew in a number of representatives from local agencies, one of which was Turlock Irrigation District Board of Director Michael Frantz.

“The significance of what is happening to our groundwater supply is great enough and well worth the time to see and hear what the county is planning to do for our region,” commented Frantz. “As we enter into the fourth year of this drought, it is important to do whatever we can, whether we live in the country or in the city, or whether we farm or not. We all need to work together to protect our groundwater.”

According to Frantz, the underlying theme of the day-long summit was the need for local agencies and local landowners to partner together and work more collaboratively in order to ensure that the groundwater basin stays sustainable.

One way that both agencies and landowners will do this is through the implementation of a locally-based groundwater management plan. The Director notes the importance of such a plan, as more farmers are turning to groundwater as an alternative source of water.

“Each groundwater basin is required to collaborate and cooperate in order to establish a Groundwater Sustainability Agency and find ways, either through increasing injection or reducing extraction to the groundwater supply,” said Frantz. “The GSA would need to find ways in order to make sure each individual basin has a sustainable groundwater supply.”

The GSA Frantz is referring to is the result of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of Senate Bill 1168, which requires all groundwater basins and subbasins to be managed sustainably by local entities that follow the adopted groundwater management plan by 2017.

The law also authorizes the State Water Resources Control Board to manage groundwater under certain conditions, as well as establish statutory framework for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

 “I support the county’s concept of working more regionally, while looking for more cooperation between local agencies,” concluded Frantz. “We all live in the same community and it is in our best interest to set aside personal differences and work for what’s best for the greater community.”