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First Meeting of the Montecito Groundwater Basin GSA (Groundwater Sustainability Agency): Calling all Well Owners and Interested Parties for Future Participation

(Santa Barbara, California, April 30, 2019)

The Montecito Groundwater Basin GSA met Monday, April 29 for the first time. The GSA's function will be to prepare and implement a Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the Montecito Groundwater Basin pursuant to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). For many groundwater basins throughout California, including the Montecito Groundwater Basin, the State is requiring that agencies prepare plans for groundwater basins in order to establish area-specific sustainability goals achievable over approximately 20-years. For Montecito, the anticipated deadline for sustainability is 2042.

The State has defined "sustainability" as the absence of these undesirable results:

  • Lowering of groundwater levels
  • Loss of storage
  • Disconnection of surface and groundwater
  • Land subsidence
  • Degradation of water quality
  • Sea water intrusion

The plan will define a long-term approach, with measurable objectives and interim milestones, to prevent significant or unreasonable progression and / or occurrence of these undesirable results.

Involving the public is a vital component of the process, and Public Outreach/Community Engagement tops the list of the GSA's marching orders. People or institutions with private wells, customers of Montecito Water District, citizens interested in groundwater and the local environment—any and all of these constituents and others are encouraged to become involved as the GSA moves forward with preparing the plan for long-term health of the groundwater basin. Groundwater, commonly referred to as "well water," is a crucial part of the local water supply portfolio, particularly during drought and in the event of emergency. Important decisions with long-term impacts will be made—and public input is essential.

The formation of this agency has been underway for several years. Montecito Water District initiated the formation of the GSA following California's legislation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014, and outreach has included several noticed meetings to educate the public about the process and develop a preliminary list of stakeholders and interested parties. The Montecito Groundwater Basin GSA Board of Directors consists of the elected representatives of the Montecito Water District. At Monday's meeting these Directors were sworn in to service for the new agency, received an informational presentation from consulting agency Dudek, and conducted formalities such as adopting officers, bylaws, and a quarterly meeting schedule. Cori Hayman will serve as President, and Ken Coates as Vice President for the GSA's Board. The GSA's next meeting is slated for July 2019. For more information about the meeting, including the agenda and presentation slides, visit www.montecitowater.com/sgma where you can also sign up to receive email updates.

General Manager of the Montecito Water District Nick Turner leads the oath of office for Directors Ken Coates, Floyd Wicks, Cori Hayman, and Brian Goebel (left to right). Director Tobe Plough was absent. Seated in front is Adam Kanold, Engineering Manager for Montecito Water District.
General Manager of the Montecito Water District Nick Turner leads the oath of office for Directors Ken Coates, Floyd Wicks, Cori Hayman, and Brian Goebel (left to right). Director Tobe Plough was absent. Seated in front is Adam Kanold, Engineering Manager for Montecito Water District.

Montecito Water District's mission is to provide an adequate and reliable supply of high quality water to the residents of Montecito and Summerland, at the most reasonable cost. In carrying out this mission, the District places particular emphasis on providing outstanding customer service, conducting its operations in an environmentally sensitive manner, and working cooperatively with other agencies. For additional information visit www.montecitowater.com, like Montecito Water District on Facebook, and follow on twitter @MontecitoWater.