- Estimated Costs. What will it cost to implement the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP)?
- Funding Sources & Fee Program. How will the local agencies pay for these costs? Is there a fee? How much might I be charged?
- Resources and Reports. Who do I contact if I have questions? Where can I find more detailed information?
The Cosumnes Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs), like other GSAs and areas throughout the state, need to manage groundwater sustainably by implementing a groundwater management program, meeting new state requirements. The seven local agencies GSAs are working hard to put in place a program that is as effective and as efficient as possible. This will accomplish several goals. It will ensure there is ample groundwater to keep the region economically strong and protect our environment. It will keep costs as low as possible. And it will keep local control of groundwater.
Based on the work done so far, the seven local agencies project it will cost about $400,000 in the first year to get the program up and running across the entire subbasin. Those costs cover a range of program activities, from monitoring and managing groundwater data required by the state to addressing data gaps, leading public outreach efforts, handling general administrative tasks, preparing and filing required reports to the state, and handling other obligations such as legal reviews and audits. These costs are expected to increase somewhat as the program evolves, and the GSAs will look for ways to be more efficient and seek grant funding, while still meeting state requirements.
As the program moves forward, there will be a second set of costs tied to actually putting in place the kinds of projects and management actions that will help ensure the subbasin is able to rely on its groundwater for years to come. These actions are still being refined but are likely to include paying for things like groundwater banking, aquifer recharge, and voluntary fallowing. The exact costs of these actions are still being investigated, but the GSAs currently estimate annual project costs of between $600,000 and $700,000.
These costs are not trivial, but the GSAs are working hard to keep them as low as possible. For one, the projected program costs are lower than the average being spent across other subbasins (Average: $1.11 million [average based on the 14 subbasins that submitted a single GSP per subbasin in 2020]). Additionally, the program costs are much lower than if the state has to step in to manage the subbasin.
Estimated Budget Costs
View breakdown of estimated program expenses (covers administrative and project/management actions cost estimate).
Projects and Management Actions
Click on image above to learn more about anticipated projects that will help achieve long-term groundwater sustainability goals.
So how will the subbasin pay for this program?
For one thing, the seven locals GSAs will be working aggressively to bring in grants and partners to cover a portion of the costs. These GSAs have already succeeded in bringing in $1.75 million in grants and contributions from others over the past five years to cover the costs of developing the groundwater sustainability plan. We are committed to continuing these efforts and are already in conversation with potential partners. That said, a significant portion of the costs will still need to be generated locally.
Year 1 Fee Program
To cover costs in the first year, five of the seven agencies are proposing a fee of $10 for each irrigated acre in the subbasin (excluding City of Galt and Amador County). A groundwater-based fee was chosen by the implementing agencies as it offers a strong linkage to those benefiting from the use of the groundwater. Because most wells are not metered (metered wells are generally those participating in a voluntary metering program), irrigated acreage is a surrogate for water being pumped; metering allows the actual amount of water pumped to be known. There are no plans to meter wells. A total of $487,500 is expected to be generated through this irrigated acreage fee in Year 1.
The two other GSAs – City of Galt and Amador County GSA – have agreed to make set contributions in Year 1 ($15,000 for City of Galt GSA and $5,000 for Amador County GSA based on actual water pumped since their wells are metered). These contributions are in lieu of an irrigated acreage fee, but are intended to be comparable and ensure equitable contributions from all groundwater users across the subbasin.
Click HERE for the detailed Groundwater Fee Study Report that lays out projected costs and proposed fee methodology and structure.
Note: The GSAs are aware these maps/list have errors and are actively working to correct them. Contact your GSA if you believe your parcel is inaccurately characterized – View GSA Contacts
Year 2 and Beyond
Beyond the first year, the GSAs are considering a combination of both groundwater user fees and a potential per-parcel type of fee to cover both program and project and management action costs. The specifics of a fee program for Year 2 and beyond are still under discussion and will be developed collaboratively by the seven GSAs and then discussed in a series of public workshops.
Stay Tuned and Stay Involved! – Subscribe to receive emailed notifications of upcoming workshops and other Cosumnes Subbasin GSP updates
Understand How the Year 1 Groundwater User Fee May Affect You
Year 1 Fee Calculator
Do you own irrigated acres in the Cosumnes Subbasin? Use this calculator tool to estimate the fee that will be charged to your parcels for Year 1 expenses.
You will need to know how many irrigated acres are on the parcels you own in the Cosumnes.
Enter your address to confirm if you are in the Cosumnes Subbasin – Visit Interactive Map
Your parcel number is the APN. Visit Assessor’s Parcel Maps.
You will need your street address or fourteen-digit parcel number in order to bring up your map. You can locate your parcel number on your valuation notice, tax bill, deed, or by calling the Sacramento County Tax Assessor’s office at (916) 875-0700.
Irrigated acres are based on Department of Water Resources Land IQ data – Learn more about Land IQ
The GSAs are using the best available data to identify irrigated acreage in the subbasin, but they are also aware that the data (drawn from state sources) have errors. Each GSA will be putting in place a straight-forward process for impacted parcel owners to appeal any mistaken fees.
If you think you are being charged in error, contact your GSA to learn how to file an appeal – View GSAs Contact Information
Multiple Funding Sources Being Pursued
Contributions, Grants, and Fees
As noted earlier, the GSAs are actively identifying a range of funding sources, in addition to fees paid by local landowners and groundwater users, to help defray the cost of implementing state sustainable groundwater management requirements.
For one thing, the local agencies will continue pursuing state grants to support implementation. This may include grants to cover such costs as:
- Drilling new monitoring wells (to track progress towards meeting locally defined groundwater management targets)
- Outreach and community engagement
- Facilitation support services
- Coordination amongst GSAs
- Recharge pilot projects
- Additional geophysical studies
- Additional stream gauges
Additionally, the GSAs are exploring potential partnerships with water agencies and others outside of the subbasin who may be interested in working collaboratively with the Cosumnes Subbasin on recharge, groundwater banking, and other projects. Such a collaboration would generate revenue that could help offset costs to local landowners and groundwater users, while still protecting our essential groundwater resource.
The GSAs will be exploring these and other options in the months ahead.
Hopefully the information provided above has answered your questions regarding the subbasin’s fee program and funding. This section compiles the various resources mentioned above; and for those wanting more detail on the program, additional resources are also provided in this section.
Contact and Connect
This provides a link to each of the seven GSAs responsible for jointly implementing the sustainable groundwater management program in the subbasin. Click here if you want to know more about the role these GSAs play or have questions about how a groundwater user fee might impact you.
There are several methods for staying involved and providing input during the implementation of the Cosumnes Subbasin GSP