Things have started to heat up in Merced County. We are hopeful for a successful season; however, it is challenging as ever due to lack of a decent surface water supply. Even if we had a full water supply throughout the county, you would also face continual challenges to ag burning, COVID regulations, etc. Not to mention all the other issues involving water.
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), adopted by Governor Brown late in his final term, is now seeing moving from the Department of Water Resources (DWR). They have released their first assessment of four Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP). Two of these have been approved while the other two have been deemed as failing to meet criteria. The Santa Cruz Mid-County Basin and the 180/400 Foot Aquifer Subbasin of Salinas Valley have satisfied the DWR’s plans while the Paso Robles Area Subbasin and the Cuyama Valley Basin have been issued “consultation initiation letters.” According to a brief rundown of DWR’s findings by Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP, the “GSPs were deemed incomplete for deficiencies in their definitions of sustainable management criteria (SMC), including minimum thresholds and undesirable results…” At the time of writing this column, it is still unknown when the GSPs for our area will be reviewed.
In addition to the unknowns of what water will ultimately look like in the future, we carry the complications of finding ourselves in another drought. We hope that we can capture some rain this winter, however if we experience what we did a few years ago, we are sure to be in a bumpy ride yet again. I was able to make it to Lake McClure this past weekend and it is not at the capacity it was this time last year.
As for our office, you may have heard from Denelle or Alexxis as they work on East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition compliance. I know paperwork and reporting of your practices is not part of the allure of farming, but it is something that we have to ensure these days. Our team within our office and those in the other Farm Bureaus of Stanislaus and Madera counties have done a great job with the tasks that have been laid out in front of them. If you have yet to reply to a call or email from them, please do. We are only trying to ensure your documents are filed correctly.
Happy to also announce that we are back on the training circuit. I write this a day in advance of our workshop with Fluetsch and Busby Insurance and Nationwide. If you could not make those, please check out our flyer for our workshops slated for Tuesday, June 22 and Wednesday, June 23. We understand that the dates may be hard to attend due to the crops in our county, however it has been the earliest that we have been able to hold events of this sort. Look for more in the coming months.
Until then, stay safe and sane. Fingers crossed; we are almost to the finish line!