September 21, 2018
Update on NDGSA Proposition 218 Fee Process

On July 27, 2018 the Northern Delta Groundwater Sustainability Agency (NDGSA) held a public hearing to solicit feedback about a proposal to levy property-based fees. The hearing had a good turnout, with several dozen stakeholders offering a variety of comments and questions.

This hearing marked the culmination of nearly a year of work to create a source of funding for local groundwater sustainability efforts. Following the conclusion of the public hearing, at its regular Board meeting, the NDGSA Board of Directors met to further discuss the funding options. After a robust discussion, the Board of Directors voted in favor of adopting a property-based fee of $2.77 per acre for the 2018 fiscal year, and directed staff to convey that decision to the Counties for collection purposes. Although the Board of Directors had the option of adopting fees up to $3.00 per acre for the next five years, the Board Members only made a decision for fiscal year 2018-2019.

This approach provides the Board with flexibility to adopt property-based fees in the future that are lower than the amount identified in the Cost of Service Report. If additional sources of funding, such as grants are secured, the Board of Directors has repeatedly emphasized its intention to only impose the minimum property-based fees that are necessary to fund required NDGSA activities. The NDGSA remains committed to serving the interests of the Delta communities, and ensuring that important local groundwater decisions remain in local hands. The recent financing decision provides the Agency with the resources necessary to carry out that commitment.


July 23, 2018
Update on NDGSA Proposition 218 Fee Process

Your local groundwater agency, the NDGSA, made up of representatives of local water management agencies, will consider adoption of an assessment to protect your groundwater, as required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) on July 27, 2018.

Over the past two and a half years, 17 local Delta agencies have come together to comply with SGMA in a way that works for the Delta’s residents. The NDGSA effort includes islands with similar ag land uses and similar groundwater characteristics. By grouping like areas together, the NDGSA streamlines SGMA compliance and minimizes the northern Delta’s obligations to address challenging overdraft and contamination conditions in the surrounding region.

Local representation on the NDGSA will make sure that member agencies get the best value and future benefit from collected fees. NDGSA will cooperate with the other larger efforts in the surrounding counties, but the NDGSA is able to meet local needs more efficiently. While the counties could be good groundwater planning neighbors, they do not have the capacity or the will to fight for unique Delta interests.

For those attempting to compare NDGSA’s estimated costs, it is important to remember that it is not just the fee a groundwater agency charges (all SGMA efforts will charge fees eventually, all of the local counties have explained this), but also the level of effort required to make sure a particular agency/island’s interest are protected. By having a locally led effort and sticking with neighbors with similar concerns and conditions, the planning and compliance process will be simplified. Part of the NDGSA fees will go toward the required collaboration with surrounding subbasins, so your member agencies will not need to hire their own representatives to attend those meetings. Each NDGSA member agency simply needs to send its representative(s) to the NDGSA meeting, which is planned to be twice per year.

SGMA is a complex set of laws, and most people don’t really understand why groundwater management is needed in the Delta. No one likes conflict over fees in their community, but reasonable people can disagree and the NDGSA local groundwater planning effort can still move forward. The state made the new groundwater requirements, not the NDGSA, and we are working together to protect future Delta interests by having local control over groundwater.

Please support the NDGSA groundwater planning effort, and let your neighbors know, too!