DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program Offers $47.75 Million in Competitive Grants

From the Department of Water Resources:

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the final Guidelines and Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program.

The program provides financial assistance for sustainable groundwater planning and implementation projects through a competitive grant solicitation process. Entities that may apply for grants include Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) or partner agencies of GSAs.

The program is primarily funded by Proposition 68 from which $46.25 million is available for GSAs or GSA representatives to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). At least $1.5 million of additional Prop­osition 1 funds will augment Proposition 68 funding.

Grant applications can be submitted using DWR’s online submittal tool, GRanTS and will be accepted starting at 9 a.m. on September 9, 2019 until 1 p.m. on November 1, 2019.

For more information on document releases, new solicitations, upcoming workshops, and other grant-related announces, subscribe to the SGM Grant Program mailing list.

If you have any questions during the solicitation process, please contact the program at (916) 651-9613 or SGWP@water.ca.gov.

DWR update on Bulletin 74 — California Well Standards

From the Department of Water Resources:

Stakeholder engagement is a critical ingredient for the successful development and implementation of updated well standards. The Bulletin 74 team is committed to an outreach program that is proactive and interactive with information, ideas, and opportunities for two-way exchange. Following the June Kickoff Webinars, we’ve engaged with individuals and groups in a variety of settings and formats. Outreach efforts are ongoing, please reach out if you would like DWR to speak to your group about the well standards update.

Expert Panel

DWR will be forming an expert panel as a technical advisory group to provide input on focused and specific issues given the diverse needs of well standards. The expert panel will include experts in groundwater quality management and protection, well construction and destruction, permitting and environmental health issues, and administration and enforcement of well standards, among others. A primary task of the expert panel will be to review a preliminary draft standards content. The panel is still under development and more information will be provided as details are finalized.

Comments on Existing Standards

We’d like to thank those who have submitted comments on the existing well standards and there is still time to submit ideas. We continue to seek comments on Bulletin 74-81, Bulletin 74-90, and the 1999 GHEWs Draft. We encourage any and all suggestions to be submitted, so please share this request with anyone who may have an interest in well standards and/or groundwater quality protection. Comments can be submitted via the Comment Portal.

Accessibility Updates

DWR is committed to making our website equally accessible for all visitors. Our website is designed and maintained to comply with all applicable accessibility laws. We strive to maintain all information at applicable accessibility levels, but some content, including older documents, streaming video, and archived materials may not be fully accessible as of July 1, 2019. We are working diligently to make that content accessible. As such, some webpage content is being reorganized and updated and you may have noticed recent changes to the Well Standards webpage. If you have difficulty accessing any material on our website, please contact us and we will work to provide the information in an alternative format. Direct your request to accessibility@water.ca.gov or call (916) 653-6192.

Well Standards Update — Timeline

DWR SGMA NEWS: Draft basin prioritization for modified basins meeting video available; C2VSimFG BETA2 model released; Public comment period opens for SGM grant program; and more …

NEW Draft Basin Prioritization for Modified Basins Meeting Video Available

The recorded video of the Draft Basin Prioritization for Modified Basins Meeting held on May 13, 2019, and the PowerPoint presentation are now available online. The public comment period for 2019 Basin Prioritization Phase 2 remains open through May 30, 2019.

For questions, email sgmps@water.ca.gov.


NEW GSAs May Need to Update Posted Notifications

Many existing groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) need to modify posted notifications to align with new 2018 basin boundaries, reflect new basin names, or clarify groundwater management intent.

If your GSA has been affected by a basin boundary or basin name change you should update that information on the SGMA Portal. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) encourages GSAs to clearly define exclusive groundwater management boundaries on the SGMA Portal before adopting and submitting a groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) to certify that a basin has complete GSA coverage. A GSP Initial Notification may also need to be revised or re-submitted. To modify existing GSA information, an authorized user must log into the GSA Formation Notification System and follow the instructions on page 7 of this document.

DWR has updated its GSA Frequently Asked Questions and GSA Formation Notification Guidelines documents to help local agencies and GSAs make informed decisions when establishing or reorganizing basin-wide governance.

For more information, visit DWR’s Groundwater Management webpage.

For questions, please email sgmps@water.ca.gov.


NEW C2VSimFG BETA2 Released

The Beta 2.0 version of the Fine Grid California Central Valley Groundwater-Surface Water Simulation Model (C2VSimFG BETA2) is now available to assist GSAs during the development and implementation of GSPs. C2VSimFG BETA2 is a computer program that simulates water movement through the linked land surface, groundwater, and surface water flow systems in California’s Central Valley using the DWR-developed software, Integrated Water Flow Model Version 2015 (IWFM-2015). The new version is an update to the model released in May 2018. DWR spent the last year actively updating the newest model to incorporate additional data, feedback, and understanding of the complex hydrology, hydrogeology, and operations in California’s Central Valley. The C2VSimFG BETA2 includes updates to inflows, diversions, evapotranspiration, precipitation, land use, root zone parameters, urban per capita water use, and select aquifer parameters.


NEW Public Comment Period Opens for SGM Grant Program

DWR opened the 45-day public comment period for the Draft Proposition 68 2019 Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program Guidelines and the Planning – Round 3 Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) to make approximately $47 million available for competitive grants.

The public comment period began on May 3, 2019, and will close at 5 p.m., on June 17, 2019. DWR will release the final guidelines and solicit proposals following the review of public comments.

For more information on this solicitation and to view the full program schedule, click here. Email comments to SGWP@water.ca.gov.


NEW DWR Updates SGMA Data Viewer with Subsidence Information

DWR has updated the Sustainable Groundwater Management Program’s SGMA Data Viewer to include updated subsidence information to help GSAs, water managers and others implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

DWR is providing these standardized, statewide datasets to assist GSAs in the creation and ongoing development and implementation of GSPs. The new information is available on the SGMA Data Viewer mapping application under the land subsidence heading. It includes historical subsidence information from 1949 to 2005, and updated satellite based remote sensing InSAR subsidence data from January 2015 to June 2018. InSAR is a technique for mapping ground deformation using radar images of the Earth’s surface that are collected from orbiting satellites.

DWR has also created an online tutorial on how to use the SGMA Data Viewer and view the new information. For additional SGMA related data and tools, visit DWR’s Groundwater Data and Tools webpage and the California Natural Resources Open Data Platform.

For questions, email sgmps.water.ca.gov.


REMINDER Take a Survey to Help Plan the Next GSA Forum

DWR hosted a GSA Forum in March 2019 which brought together water planners and stakeholders from across the state to share experiences and strategies as they implement the SGMA. Based on the level of interest and comments received from attendees, the forum was a beneficial venue for building networks and sharing strategies associated with SGMA implementation. DWR plans to host additional GSA Forums to further communication among SGMA water managers and stakeholders. Please complete the survey so we can use your input to help plan and improve the next GSA Forum.


REMINDER: IRWM Implementation Grants Proposal Solicitation Package Available

DWR released the final Guidelines and Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) for the Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Implementation Grant Program, which provides funding for projects that help meet the long-term water needs of the state and incorporate integrated regional strategies. Approximately $222.3 million in Proposition 1 grant funding is available for IRWM implementation projects, with $23.6 million designated for projects that provide support to Disadvantaged Communities. GSAs and SGMA stakeholders interested in IRWM Implementation funding should coordinate with their respective IRWM Region.


REMINDER DWR’s Guidance Documents Can Help with SGMA Communication and Engagement

SGMA requires GSAs to consider all beneficial uses and users when preparing GSPs. DWR has documents that provide clarification, guidance, and examples to help GSAs develop the essential communication and engagement elements of a GSP. These useful publications can be found on the Assistance and Engagement Webpage.

Guidance documents include: Stakeholder Communication and Engagement, Engagement with Tribal Governments, Stakeholder Engagement Requirements by Phase, and Communication and Engagement Plan Outline.


REMINDER Submit Your GSP Initial Notification

Before initiating development of a GSP, GSAs are required to notify DWR in writing. GSAs must submit all applicable GSP initial notification information to DWR using the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System. The SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System also allows edits to be made to a previously submitted Initial Notification, including the ability to withdraw a submittal.

For more information, please see Frequently Asked Questions on GSP Initial Notification Requirements or contact the Regional Coordinators in DWR’s four Regional Offices.

For assistance with the system, please email monica.reis@water.ca.gov.


Connect with Your Basin Point of Contact

DWR has designated Basin Points of Contact to assist local agencies and GSAs as GSPs are developed and implemented and to assist with applications for Technical Support Services and Facilitation Support Services.

For regional inquiries, please contact sgmp_rc@water.ca.gov.

For general inquiries, please contact sgmps@water.ca.gov.

OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT: Public Comment Period Opens for Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program

From the Department of Water Resources:

The California Department of Water Resources announced the opening of the 45-day public comment period for the Draft Proposition 68 2019 Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program Guidelines and the Planning – Round 3 Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP).

The public comment period began on May 3, 2019 and will close at 5 p.m. on June 17, 2019. Following the review of public comments, DWR will release the final guidelines and solicit proposals.

For more information on this solicitation and to view the full program schedule, visit the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program web page.

Comments can be submitted for the 2019 Draft PSP and Draft Guidelines by one of the following methods:

  1. Electronic Mail Transmitted comments should be sent to SGWP@water.ca.gov. Electronic files should be Microsoft Word compatible or PDF. PDF is preferred.
  2. Hard Copy via U.S. MailCalifornia Department of Water Resources
    Division of Integrated Regional Water Management
    Financial Assistance Branch
    Post Office Box 942836
    Sacramento, CA 94236
    Attention: Kelley List
  3. Hard Copy via Hand Delivery901 P Street
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Attention: Kelley List
  4. Public Meetings

A minimum of three public meetings will be held June 3 through June 11. The dates, times, and locations will be posted soon on the following website.

We also encourage you to subscribe to the SGM Grant Program’s mailing list for new solicitations, document releases, upcoming workshops, and other IRWM grant-related announcements.

If you have any questions during the public comment period, please contact us at (916) 651-9613 or at SGWP@water.ca.gov.

DWR Offers Technical and Support Services to Help GSAs Implement SGMA

From the Department of Water Resources:

The Department of Water Resources provides assistance to groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) to help in the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

The GSA Forum is an example of DWR’s assistance role. DWR hosted the event to provide a platform for GSA members and stakeholders to exchange ideas, establish professional networks and foster successful engagement.

DWR’s assistance role includes:
Technical Services
  • DWR offers statewide data and tool apps on its website for critically important SGMA-related data like groundwater levels, well completion reports and climate change information. This information makes it easy for local agencies to find information needed to develop their GSPs.
  • DWR provides technical assistance by developing statewide datasets, conducting groundwater analyses, and by publishing a variety of SGMA best management practices documents, guidance documents, and technical reports.
Financial
  • With the Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant Program, DWR provided grant funds to local agencies to help develop sustainable groundwater plans and projects.
  • DWR awarded $85.8 million of Proposition 1 funds in 2018, with $16.2 million specifically awarded to fund projects serving Severely Disadvantaged Communities.
  • Proposition 68 extends this planning grant program with $50 million for a round that will begin in Spring 2019.
  • Proposition 68 will also fund $100 million for the Sustainable Groundwater Implementation Grant Program, set for early 2020.  These grants will be awarded to projects and programs that assist local agencies with implementing their GSPs.
Planning
  • GSAs may apply to have professional facilitators help with: Meetings, identifying and engaging interested parties, and public outreach. DWR Regional Office staff are also available to help.

Click here to learn more about DWR’s support services.

Video for DWR Groundwater Sustainability Agency Forum Now Available

The video recording of the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) Forum is now available on the department’s website.

DWR hosted the Forum on March 21, 2019, as part of its assistance role in the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

The Forum brought representatives from GSAs and stakeholders from across the state together to highlight their efforts, facilitate the exchange of ideas, establish professional networks, and foster successful stakeholder engagement.

Click below to view the following:

For questions, email sgmps@water.ca.gov.

THIS JUST IN … DWR Finalizes Groundwater Basin Boundary Modifications under SGMA

From the Department of Water Resources:

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced final decisions for groundwater basin boundary modifications requested by local agencies as part of the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Draft results were released in November 2018 and finalized after a public comment period, a public meeting, and a public presentation to the California Water Commission. The final basin boundaries incorporate comments received during this period and resulted in the revision of three of the original draft decisions.

“SGMA is a central feature of the sustainable water future of California and the department is working with locals to successfully implement this landmark legislation,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “These final decisions on basin boundaries move local water agencies forward as they work to bring their basins into balance.”

Under SGMA, basin boundaries define the geographical area included in each groundwater basin. Once basin boundaries are finalized, the basins are then prioritized to determine which will be required to develop groundwater sustainability plans.

Of the 517 groundwater basins and subbasins in California, local agencies submitted 43 requests for basin modifications for either scientific or jurisdictional reasons. Scientific modifications are based on geologic or hydrologic conditions, while jurisdictional modifications change boundaries to promote sustainable groundwater management.

DWR staff reviewed all information provided with the requests and approved modifications that met the requirements of the Basin Boundary Regulations. In the draft decision, DWR approved 33, denied seven, and partially approved three modification requests. In the final decision, 35 requests were approved, four were denied, and four were partially approved. Partially approved means some portions of the modification requests were adequately supported by the information provided and were approved, while other portions were not and were denied.

Supporting documents available for review include a modified basins map and decision summary.

SGMA IMPLEMENTATION: DWR Updates 2018 Draft Basin Boundary Modifications Based on Public Comments

From the Department of Water Resources:

The Department of Water Resources Sustainable Groundwater Management Office today released updates to the 2018 Draft Basin Boundary Modifications decisions. Based on clarifying comments received during the public comment period, three draft decisions were revised for Shasta Valley, Paso Robles Area, and Kern County basins.

For additional information, please refer to the Basin Boundary Modifications webpage.

The 2018 Draft Basin Boundary Modifications decisions, including these updates, will be presented to the California Water Commission on Wednesday, January 16, 2019.

DWR Finalizes Basin Prioritizations under SGMA

From the Department of Water Resources:

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) [last Friday] announced final basin prioritization for the majority of groundwater basins in the state as required under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Today’s announcement finalizes the prioritization for 458 basins, identifying 56 basins that are required to create groundwater sustainability plans under SGMA. For most basins, the results are a confirmation of prioritizations established in 2015. Fifty-nine basins remain under review with final prioritization expected in late spring.

“Prioritizing groundwater basins is a critical step along the path of ensuring sustainable groundwater supplies for future generations of Californians,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Groundwater management is a big, complicated endeavor for California, which is why DWR is investing heavily to provide local planning entities with technical assistance to be successful.”

SGMA requires local agencies throughout the state to sustainably manage groundwater basins. Basins identified as high- or medium-priority are required to adopt groundwater sustainability plans beginning in 2020. DWR is required to reassess groundwater basin prioritizations any time it updates basin boundaries. This prioritization for 458 basins incorporates the basin boundary modifications finalized in 2016. Prioritization is based on factors such as population, irrigated acreage, and the number of wells in the basin. Changes in prioritization generally reflect changed conditions or new information about existing conditions.

Today’s prioritization reflects updates based on new requirements under SGMA, including adverse impacts to habitat and streamflow, adjudicated areas, critically over drafted basins and groundwater related transfers.

Twenty-one basins were changed to ‘very low’ because they are covered by adjudicated areas with existing governance and oversight in place. Adjudicated areas are not required to prepare groundwater sustainability plans and are instead required to submit annual reports to DWR on their groundwater management and monitoring.

Draft prioritizations were announced in May 2018. These finalizations come after a 94-day public comment period and four public meetings that resulted in 500 individual comments and related datasets leading to some revisions in basin prioritization.

FLOOD MAR LISTENING SESSION: Flood-MAR Agricultural Community Listening Session in Merced on January 14

From the Department of Water Resources:

On January 14th, please join us at a Flood-MAR Agricultural Community Listening Session to share your insights into potential barriers and challenges to implementing voluntary Flood-MAR projects in the Central Valley.

Event Description

In the fall of 2017, the State Board of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), with support from the Department of Water Resources (DWR), convened a public forum on Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR). Participants identified a number of barriers and challenges to implementing Flood-MAR projects, such as permitting challenges and insufficient data and tools for identifying recharge potential and impacts to crops.

A key component in expanding Managed Aquifer Recharge is the willing participation of land owners. As potential implementers and beneficiaries, understanding the experiences, concerns, and questions of landowners within the agricultural and rural communities is critical to informing State and local agency planning and assistance, such as through DWR’s Flood-MAR program.  This “Listening Session” will be an opportunity for farmers and landowners to:

  • Share personal experiences or concerns about Flood-MAR implementation
  • Engage with and learn from farmers who have participated in pilot Flood-MAR projects
  • Advise on what incentives might encourage you to implement a Flood MAR project on your land
  • Learn about how State agencies are supporting the expansion of MAR

Date and Time: January 14, 2018 12:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: University of California Cooperative Extension
2145 Wardrobe Ave, Merced, CA  95341-6445

Please RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/flood-mar-ag-community-listening-session-tickets-52324219148

And please participate in our Landowner Experiences survey that will inform our conversation on January 14thhttps://csusaccce.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cHEzFu0uxLRpdrf