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Well data helps identify groundwater sustainability needs

The North Kings GSA staff completed their review of all well permits submitted throughout 2022. Under  Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-7-22, GSAs are required to review well permit applications for new well activity as a response to the extreme drought conditions across the state.

The North Kings GSA data set keeps record of specific details of these well permit applications so the GSA is better positioned to manage demand on the aquifer. The North Kings GSA received 483 well permit requests in 2022. Of that total, 428 were “new well” permits— a category which includes deepening wells, replacement wells, or new well construction. To better analyze these well permits and understand the demands on the aquifer, the GSA has developed a well activity data set to identify which wells are ag-related or domestic.

Having good data keeps North Kings GSA in local control over its groundwater supply. Without knowing where wells are located, what depths they are drilled and perforated to, and other construction information, the North Kings GSA cannot effectively assess the impacts of groundwater level declines on well owners. After seeking more information, the North Kings GSA found that a majority of the new well permits filed were for replacement purposes and not to support new demand on the aquifer.

This developing data provides the foundation for the agency in preparation for a potential shallow well mitigation program. The data of well permits, further broken down into types of well construction, also provides insight to the demand on the aquifer. Understanding this well activity within the North Kings GSA will provide clarity as the agency considers implementing a shallow well mitigation program in the future.

Increasing certainty on the details of wells in the North Kings GSA helps keep control of groundwater sustainability in local hands. Having good, reliable data is the best reflection of progress toward sustainability.

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