Montecito GSA: New Shingle, New Face

Montecito GSA: New Shingle, New Face title=
Nick Kunstek is the newly appointed Groundwater Specialist for the Montecito GSA
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Source: Montecito Water District

You may have seen the new sign hanging at 583 San Ysidro Road: Montecito Groundwater Basin GSA, but with masks being a required wardrobe item these days you probably haven’t seen the face that goes with it! Nick Kunstek is the newly appointed Groundwater Specialist for the Montecito GSA.  Kunstek earned a B.S. in Geophysical Engineering from Montana Technological University. Working as a Geoscientist for more than a decade, he has gained considerable experience in exploration geology, reservoir characterization, operational procedures, data management, and technical workflows. Kunstek is described as an enthusiastic, objective, and analytical professional who looks forward to delivering results with integrity in this challenging new role.

The Montecito Groundwater Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency (Montecito GSA) is moving forward with preparation of the State’s required Groundwater Sustainability Plan. Established in 2018, the Montecito GSA has approximately five years to create a long-term plan to guarantee resiliency of the Montecito Groundwater Basin and a sustainable supply of groundwater.  Chapters are currently being drafted for preliminary review from public Technical and Stakeholder Advisory Committees, Staff, and Directors.

The Montecito Groundwater Basin supplies water for numerous public and private wells. Groundwater is heavily relied on for local residential, commercial and agricultural use. Available data shows that area groundwater levels reached record lows during the region’s recent drought, which was the worst and longest in history. The Groundwater Sustainability Plan will determine ways to avoid undesirable results, such as seawater intrusion or depletion of groundwater supplies, that may occur without proper care and stewardship of the basin.

To fund this important work, Montecito GSA proactively applied for available State funding and was awarded more than $2 million in grants this spring. These dollars will go a long way towards implementing projects, amassing much-needed local data, and producing a plan. To fund supplemental costs and the local match required by the grant, the Montecito GSA Groundwater Sustainability Fee will appear on property tax bills beginning this fall.

The Montecito GSA Groundwater Sustainability fee applies only to parcels overlying the Montecito Groundwater Basin, is based on acreage, and is proportional to the size of the parcel. Partial acres are charged accordingly—If only a portion of a parcel overlies the groundwater basin, only that portion is used to calculate the fee. 
Public involvement is vital to the Montecito GSA. To learn more about the Montecito GSA and the importance of groundwater in this community, or to find resources such as the basin boundary map, detailed fee schedules, and information on how to get involved, please visit the web site:

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a-1603208031 Oct 20, 2020 08:33 AM
Montecito GSA: New Shingle, New Face

a-1603206966 Oct 20, 2020 08:16 AM
Montecito GSA: New Shingle, New Face

It is rather unclear how the ground water basin can be "managed" other than by restricting wells that draw water from it when rainfall, etc. is not replenishing the basin. If that is the plan, will it not require a significant change in long-established law as to the ability of property owners to use their wells?

SBLIFE Oct 19, 2020 01:00 PM
Montecito GSA: New Shingle, New Face

I know the "GSA" term came from the recently passed laws and regulations, but I cannot stop my brain from reading it as Gay Straight Alliance. I chuckle every time.

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