DWR’S SGMO NEWS: DWR operations continue; SGMA data viewer updated with subsidence information; GSP public comment period extended; Update on annual report submittals; and more …

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

DWR Operations Continue

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is focused on ensuring continued operations while modifying the way we work in the face of the coronavirus to maintain critical functions and protect our staff. DWR staff supporting the Sustainable Groundwater Management Program continue to work and are available to answer questions and provide assistance via email, phone, and web-based meetings.

Fall 2019 Statewide Groundwater Level Change Maps Available

Groundwater level change maps for fall 2019 are available on the DWR website. These maps present a summary of groundwater level trends with multi-year comparisons.

SGMA Data Viewer Updated with Subsidence Information

New subsidence information covering the period of June 2018 to September 2019 has been added to the SGMA Data Viewer under land subsidence. This information can help groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs), water managers and the public implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

For more information and 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.

Public Comment Opens for Draft Upper and Lower San Luis Rey Basin Prioritization

DWR today announced draft Basin Prioritization results for the Upper and Lower San Luis Rey Basins in San Diego County. The prioritization was conducted in response to Senate Bill 779, effective January 1, 2020, which changed the Bulletin 118 basin boundaries of these two groundwater basins. DWR is required to reassess basin prioritization any time Bulletin 118 basin boundaries change.

The Department will hold a 15-day public comment period on the draft Basin Prioritization for these two basins. Email comments to sgmps@water.ca.gov by April 8, 2020.

For more information, visit the SGMA Basin Prioritization webpage or California Natural Resources Agency’s Open Data.

REMINDER: GSP Public Comment Period Extended

Due to ongoing health and safety concerns, DWR is extending its original GSP public comment periods by 30 days. The new deadlines are May 15, 2020, and June 3, 2020.

DWR encourages public comment on recently submitted plans that show how local water agencies plan to manage groundwater basins for long-term sustainability. Comments can be posted online on the DWR SGMA Portal and a SGMA Portal account is not necessary.

Information about how to comment on a plan can be found in fact sheets in English and Spanish.

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

Update on Annual Report Submittals

Due to ongoing health and safety concerns, DWR will accept annual reports for the prior water year after the April 1, 2020 deadline from basins with adopted GSPs, approved and pending alternatives to GSPs, and adjudicated areas. The reports can be viewed by the public once they are submitted on the SGMA Portal. The reports provide information on groundwater conditions and management activities for the prior water year.

GSP Annual Reports

Downloadable templates for basin-wide data are available on the GSP Reporting System webpage and must be submitted with the annual report. For questions or more information, email GSPSubmittal@water.ca.gov.

Additional resources are also available:

Alternative to GSP Annual Reports

Alternative Annual Reports will be submitted the same as previous years using the Alternative Reporting System. For questions or more information, email GSPSubmittal@water.ca.gov.

Adjudicated Area Annual Reports

Adjudicated area annual reports will be submitted the same as previous years using the Adjudicated Basins Annual Reporting System. For questions or more information, email Timothy.Ross@water.ca.gov.

Connect with Your Basin Point of Contact

DWR has designated Basin Points of Contact to assist local agencies and GSAs as they develop and implement their plans and to assist with applications for Technical Support Services and Facilitation Support Services.

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

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

SGMA Implementation: GSP Annual Report Module Now Available on SGMA Portal

From the Department of Water Resources:

The Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) Annual Report module is available on the Department of Water Resources’ SGMA Portal. Groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) with adopted GSPs can upload their annual reports, which are due April 1, 2020. Downloadable templates for basinwide data are available on the GSP Reporting System webpage and must be submitted with the GSP Annual Report. Additional resources are also available:

Annual reports, which can be viewed by the public once they are submitted, provide information on groundwater conditions and implementation of the GSP for the prior water year. For questions or more information, please email GSPSubmittal@water.ca.gov.

Draft Handbook for Water Budget Development Released; Webinar scheduled

DWR has released a draft single-volume Handbook for Water Budget Development: With or Without Models, which presents existing information on various methods and data sources for developing water budgets. The Water Budget Handbook can help inform the development of water budgets for any geographic area and time period, using modeling and non-modeling approaches.

The Department of Water Resources will hold a public webinar to provide an overview of the Water Budget Handbook.   The link will be posted to this page when available.  No pre-registration required.

For more information, check out the Frequently Asked Questions on the Water Budget Handbook.

The comment period is now open on the draft document and closes on April 7, 2020. Email comments to cwpcom@water.ca.gov, attention Abdul Khan.

For information on the Water Budget Handbook visit the Reports tab on the Data and Tools webpage.

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.