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

SGMA IMPLEMENTATION UPDATE: New Climate Change Data Tools Available

From the Department of Water Resources, Sustainable Groundwater Management Office:

Three, new climate change tools are now available on the California Natural Resources Agency Open Data Platform to assist local agencies with groundwater planning. The tools are:

  1. ArcGIS tool designed to work with USGS MODFLOW models.
  2. ArcGIS tool designed to work with Department of Water Resources IWFM models.
  3. Second Order Correction tool, designed to help correct for shifts in monthly timing and annual volume of streamflow in watersheds where the Variable Infiltration Capacity Model is used.

To view existing climate change resources plus the new desktop tools, click here.

For more information, contact Tyler Hatch at Tyler.Hatch@water.ca.gov.

DWR SUSTAINABLE GROUNDWATER MGT UPDATE: Draft basin boundary modifications and updated FAQ available, Update on basin prioritization and alternatives; SGMA Governance Survey, and more …

From the Department of Water Resources, Sustainable Groundwater Management Office:

NEW Draft Basin Boundary Modifications Released

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released the Draft Basin Boundary Modifications. The modifications are a result of requests from local agencies to modify basins based upon scientific or jurisdictional reasons. To view Draft Basin Boundary Modifications results, click here.

Public Comment

A public comment period on Draft Basin Boundary Modifications is open now through January 4, 2019. All public comments received throughout the process will be reviewed and evaluated before Final Basin Boundary Modifications results are announced in February 2019. To submit public comments, click here.

Public Meetings

Public comments on Draft Basin Boundary Modifications can also be provided at the following public meetings.

Draft Basin Boundary Modifications Public Meeting
Tuesday, December 11, 2018, at 1 p.m.
California Natural Resources Agency
First Floor Auditorium
1416 9th St., Sacramento.
The meeting will be webcast live at 1:20 p.m. To view the live webcast, click here.
Please RSVP for the meeting here.

California Water Commission Meeting
Wednesday, January 16, 2019, at 9:30 a.m.
California Natural Resources Agency
First Floor Auditorium
1416 9th St., Sacramento
For questions, email sgmps@water.ca.gov.


NEW Frequently Asked Questions Updated

Basin Boundary Modifications Frequently Asked Questions have been updated.


NEW Basin Prioritization Update

Final Basin Prioritization for basins not affected by Basin Boundary Modifications is expected in early January 2019. Draft Basin Prioritization for modified basins is expected in February 2019, with final Basin Prioritization in May 2019. The 2018 SGMA Basin Prioritization Timeline has been updated to reflect this.


NEW Alternatives Update

SGMO continues to prioritize review of Alternatives to Groundwater Sustainability Plans and recognizes the importance of this work to the submitting agencies. DWR expects to release assessments for each of the submitted Alternatives during the first quarter of 2019. If you have any questions or comments, please email Craig Altare at Craig.Altare@water.ca.gov.


NEW UC Davis SGMA Governance Survey

UC Davis Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior is conducting a voluntary survey, as a part of a research project, to understand local views and participation in the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) development process. UC Davis Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior has provided unique survey links to GSP coordinators. Please contact your GSP coordinator for the survey link if you are interested in participating. If you have any questions regarding the survey, please contact surveys@ucdavis.edu.


REMINDER: Submit Your GSP Initial Notification

Groundwater sustainability agencies (GSA) are required to notify DWR, in writing, prior to initiating development of a GSP. 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.

Also, remember, “If the geographic area to be covered by the plan includes a public water system regulated by the Public Utilities Commission, the groundwater sustainability agency shall provide the written statement to the commission.” See Water Code § 10727.8.

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.

To determine your basin point of contact, please see the following links that provide maps and contact information:

For more on DWR’s Assistance and Engagement Programs, click here.

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

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


DWR SGMP News: Water quality survey, Basin Boundary Modifications, GSP Initial Notifications

From the Department of Water Resources, Sustainable Groundwater Management Program:

NEW Take Our Water Quality Survey

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) invites you to participate in a survey on water quality as it relates to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) regulations. The survey will provide DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Program (SGMP) with feedback on water quality concerns. The survey results will inform DWR’s continued assistance and guidance to Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) as they prepare and implement GSPs. The survey will be available until October 10, 2018, and can be accessed here .

If you have questions or comments, please email sgmps@water.ca.gov .

NEW Frequently Asked Questions Updated

The 2018 SGMA Basin Prioritization Frequently Asked Questions have been updated.

REMINDER Basin Boundary Modifications Submission Period Ends September 28, 2018

The submission period for Basin Boundary Modifications ends at 11:59 p.m., this Friday, September 28, 2018. All information to support basin boundary modifications must be submitted on the Basin Boundary Modifications Request System .

For more information, contact Dane Mathis at dane.mathis@water.ca.gov or (559) 230-3354.

REMINDER Basin Boundary Modifications Public Comment Period Ends Oct. 31

Public comment on Basin Boundary Modifications ends on Wednesday, October 31, 2018. Comments must be submitted using the SGMA Portal – Basin Boundary Modification Request System .

For questions or more information, contact Dane Mathis at dane.mathis@water.ca.gov or (559) 230-3354.

REMINDER Submit Your GSP Initial Notification

GSAs are required to notify DWR, in writing, prior to initiating development of a GSP. GSAs must submit all applicable GSP initial notification information to DWR using the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System . Once an Initial Notification has been submitted, if changes need to be made, the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System allows edits to be made from the GSA’s login account, including the ability to withdraw a submittal.

Also, remember, “If the geographic area to be covered by the plan includes a public water system regulated by the Public Utilities Commission, the groundwater sustainability agency shall provide the written statement to the commission.” See Water Code § 10727.8.

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. To determine your basin point of contact, please see the following links that provide maps and contact information:

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

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

SURVEY: SGMA and water quality issues

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is seeking input via a survey on water quality as it relates to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and the Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP) Regulations. The purpose of this survey is for DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Program (SGMP) to obtain feedback on water quality concerns, which will inform DWR’s continued assistance and guidance to Groundwater Sustainability Agencies as they prepare and implement GSPs with support from interested parties.

The survey will be available until October 10, 2018, and can be accessed here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SGMPwaterquality.

Your participation in this water quality survey is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions or comments, please email SGMP@water.ca.gov.

SUSTAINABLE GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT PRGM NEWS: New climate change resources, Update on alternative plans review, Basin Boundary Modifications deadline reminder, and more …

In the latest newsletter from the Department of Water Resources Sustainable Groundwater Management Program:

  • NEW: Climate Change Data and Guidance Resource Guide Released
  • UPDATE: Alternative Plans Review
  • REMINDER: Basin Boundary Modifications Submission Period Ends September 28
  • VIEW: Basin Prioritization Comments Are Online
  • Connect with Your Basin Point-of-Contact

Read the newsletter at Maven’s Notebook here: SUSTAINABLE GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT PRGM NEWS: New climate change resources, Update on alternative plans review, Basin Boundary Modifications deadline reminder, and more …