2022 Verification Project for Madera County GSAs

Client: Madera County GSAS

Funder: Madera County

Location: Madera County, CA

Date: 2022

In each subbasin within Madera County, the objective of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and implementation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) is to achieve groundwater (GW) sustainability by 2040. The Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) managed by Madera County are currently implementing GSPs for the “white areas” of the Chowchilla, Madera, and Delta-Mendota Subbasins, which are solely dependent on GW for irrigation of agricultural lands in most years. As described in the GSPs, an important component of GSP implementation and achieving sustainability is reducing consumptive use of GW (i.e. evapotranspiration of applied water, or ETAW), which may be accomplished through implementation and enforcement of a GW allocation.

In late 2020, the Madera County Board of Supervisors adopted a GW allocation approach based on quantification of ETAW, and the GSAs selected a remote-sensing product from IrriWatch that directly provides daily ETAW on a field-by-field basis for allocation tracking and enforcement. The 2021 and 2022 calendar years were used to configure, implement, and test the IrriWatch platform prior to the enforcement of allocations and penalties, currently scheduled to begin in 2023. The 2021 results and grower feedback led to a more extensive review of ETAW from IrriWatch in 2022 through the 2022 Verification Project, a collaborative effort undertaken by Madera County within the GSAs in partnership with local growers and led by Davids Engineering.

The objectives of the project were to increase grower engagement, education, and outreach; evaluate flowmeter installations and accuracy; develop and test procedures for collecting, quality controlling, and using totalizing flowmeter readings to quantify volumes of pumped and applied GW; evaluate input data and computations for remote sensing of ETAW by IrriWatch; develop and implement improvements to the processes for quantifying GW and ETAW volumes; and to compare and analyze GW (measured through field data collection) and ETAW (provided by IrriWatch). The project objectives were pursued and accomplished through close coordination with participating growers, extensive field data collection and aggregation of additional data sources, coordination with Madera County and IrriWatch staff, and data analysis and development of a final report.

Important conclusions and recommendations from the project included that grower engagement, education, and outreach are critical during GSP implementation; flowmeters are accurate if installed and maintained properly; review of ETAW data quality is critical; growers should be provided with options for quantification of ETAW for the groundwater allocation; and systematic verification efforts should continue into 2023 and beyond to further build understanding and support implementation of groundwater allocations. Many of the project recommendations are currently being implemented in Madera County, including providing growers with multiple options for quantification of ETAW and a continuation of the verification project in 2023.

All Projects

Tehama County Groundwater Sustainability Plan Implementation 

Colusa Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan Revisions

Madera Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan Revisions 

Chowchilla Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan Revisions

Moore Siphon Replacement Project

Dos Rios Ranch SB88 Compliance and Crop Planning Analysis

Hart Ranch On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Improvements

Orland Project Distribution System Modernization

Water Management Plan Compliance Mapping

Agricultural Development Feasibility Assessment

Analysis of Effects of Water Management on Evapotranspiration from Managed Wetlands

Garden Highway Mutual Water Company Water Control Projects

Richvale Irrigation District Phase I Infrastructure Modernization

Joint Water Districts Board SCADA

Sutter Mutual Water Company Modernization Support

Shasta Valley Groundwater Monitoring

Time Series Evapotranspiration and Applied Water Estimates from Remote Sensing

Customer Delivery Measurement Data Collection and Accounting (RemoteTracker Implementation)

SGMA Technical Support Services and Prop 1 Stressed Basin Grant Project

Efficiency Conservation Definite Plan and Conservation Program

Boundary Outflow Measurements

Oakdale Irrigation District Agricultural Water Management Plan

Yuba Water Agency Agricultural Water Managment Plan

Feather River Agricultural Water Management Plan (FRRAWMP)

Colusa Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan Development

Madera and Chowchilla Subbasins Groundwater Sustainability Plans

2022 Verification Project for Madera County GSAs

Little Shasta River Efficiency Study

Mill Creek Flow Measurement Improvements

Kettle Spring Improvement Project

Antelope Creek Fish Passage Improvement Project

Conservation Planning and Operations Decision Support