Lechowicz & Tseng Municipal Consultants completed a groundwater fee study for the Kings River East Groundwater Sustainability Agency (KRE GSA). The intent of the fee study was to recover costs of GSA development, administration, groundwater monitoring, and reporting. Legal counsel reviewed available funding mechanisms and recommended Proposition 26 water service fees. L&T developed cost of service rates and charges that are proportional to the groundwater pumping of each participating agency and, by extension, impacted landowners. In the future, the GSA intends to transition to Proposition 218 fees to recover long-term operating costs.
As a first step in the study, our project team identified GSA member agencies that do not pump groundwater but are responsible for administration activities. These agencies will be charged nominal fees. As a second step, we estimated groundwater pumping for the landowners based on landuse, crop type, effective precipitation, and surface water deliveries. GSA expenses related to monitoring and reporting will be recovered by a $/acre foot pumping fee.
L&T also assisted the KRE GSA will the public approval process. Ms. Lechowicz presented draft findings to the GSA’s Technical Committee and Board of Directors. Our approach was to emphasize the need for SGMA compliance and the value of sustainable groundwater supply.