Should Farmers Meter Their Wells Now for SGMA?
June 29, 2020
Prepping for SGMA Regulations
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor
With the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is closing in on growers throughout California, there are many questions. One big one: should growers go ahead and put a meter on their pumps?
Helping the farming industry comply with SGMA, is Chris Johnson owner of Aegis Groundwater Consulting located in Fresno. He recommends that growers put flow meters on their wells. But he does understand the hesitation.
It's pretty straightforward. Instrument your wells, and monitor them, including water levels, flow rates, electrical use. It's good for growers to be able to manage wells as assets
Johnson thinks growers are afraid to put flow meters on their wells. They believe it may provide a mechanism where someone can measure, record, and evaluate how much water they're using, that's going to go against them. “And the reality of it is that somebody might very well do that, but they're better off knowing that going in. They're better off understanding and being able to manage and represent for themselves upfront.
And while the local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies have created the Groundwater Sustainability Plans, Johnson noted that the GSPs are the deliverable that the groundwater sustainability agencies are tasked with.
"But we need to understand that the lack of data that we have to work with and be able to make decisions. And as a consequence, what so many different GSAs are forced to do is to either accept existing data at face value, or they have to interpret what the data might be in the absence of actual functional information,” noted Johnson. And so, it may very well misrepresent what the basin as a whole has to go through, and regulators may put restrictions on farmers and growers based on that. That's where having your data helps you defend and protect yourself.