DWR SGMO NEWS: GSP public comment period ending soon; Draft report on drought and water shortage vulnerability released; SVSim beta model released

From the Department of Water Resources Sustainable Groundwater Management Office

GSP Public Comment Period Ending Soon

Public comments on the first set of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) are due May 15, 2020. The next comment period closes June 3, 2020.

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) extended public comment periods for submitted GSPs by 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Comment periods vary based on when a plan was posted to the DWR website.

DWR encourages public review and comment on submitted plans which show how local water agencies plan to manage groundwater basins for long-term sustainability. Comments can be posted and viewed 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.


Draft Report on Drought and Water Shortage Vulnerability Released

DWR recently released the draft Small Water Suppliers and Rural Communities at Risk of Drought and Water Shortage Vulnerability and Recommendations and Guidance to Address the Planning Needs of these Communities report. The report provides information for GSAs to consider and incorporate into future updates to GSPs and will help inform management decisions as these plans are implemented.

DWR created a new online Water Shortage Risk tool that can be used to explore the relative risk assessment of small water suppliers and rural communities in groundwater basins.

The public comment period ends June 19, 2020. Two webinars will be scheduled to discuss the report recommendations and the Water Shortage Risk tool.

Comments can be submitted online or emailed to DroughtRisk@water.ca.gov.

More information is available on the Countywide Drought and Water Shortage Contingency Plans webpage.


SVSim Beta Model Released

DWR has released the beta version of the Sacramento Valley Groundwater-Surface Water Simulation Model (SVSim) that can be used during GSP development. Instructions for use are included in the Roadmap to Running SVSim document. A calibrated version of SVSim is expected in fall 2020.

For questions or more information, please email Linda Bond at Linda.Bond@water.ca.gov or Chris Bonds at Chris.Bonds@water.ca.gov.


View Video on Draft Water Budget Development Handbook Webinar

The April 21 webinar for the Handbook for Water Budget Development: With or Without Models is now available online. The webinar focuses on challenging water budget topics. The handbook presents existing information on various methods and data sources for developing water budgets and can help in the development of water budgets for any geographic area and time period.

The public comment period for the handbook was extended by 30 days because of the pandemic and closes May 7, 2020. Email comments to cwpcom@water.ca.gov, attention Abdul Khan.

For more information, view Frequently Asked Questions on the Water Budget Handbook or visit the Reports tab on the Data and Tools webpage.


REMINDER Public Meetings Can Be Held Remotely During Pandemic

Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-25-20 encourages elected officials to conduct public meetings by teleconference or other electronic venue during the pandemic. The order temporarily waives requirements in the Bagley-Keene Act and Brown Act as long as specific requirements are met. The order applies to groundwater sustainability agencies and others involved in the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.


REMINDER Written Translation Service Available

DWR’s written translation service is available to help with communication to non-English speaking constituents. Translation services for materials are available in Chinese, Hmong, Korean, Laotian, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

Visit the Written Translation tab on the Assistance and Engagement webpage for details.


REMINDER Submit Your GSP Initial Notification

Before starting a GSP, agencies are required to notify DWR in writing using the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System. The portal allows edits to be made to previously submitted Initial Notifications, including the ability to withdraw a submittal.

For more information, contact the regional coordinators in DWR’s four Regional Offices. For assistance with the system, email monica.reis@water.ca.gov.


Connect with Your Basin Point of Contact

DWR has designated basin points of contact to assist local agencies 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.

Video of water budget webinar now available

A video is available of last week’s webinar on the draft Handbook for Water Budget Development: With or Without Models. The DWR publication provides multiple methods for developing water budgets for any geographic area. The webinar covered ways to use various portions of the handbook. Public comments on the draft are being accepted through Thursday May 7.

DWR WEBINAR: Water Budget Handbook – An Interactive Public Webinar on Challenging Water Budget Topics

On February 7, the California Department of Water Resources released a draft Handbook for Water Budget Development: With or Without Models (Water Budget Handbook), a single-volume, technical reference that systematically presents existing information on various methods and data sources for developing water budgets. The Water Budget Handbook can help in the development of water budgets for any geographic area and time period, and uses modeling and non-modeling approaches. Public comment is now open on the draft document and closes on May 7, 2020. More information about the development of the handbook can be found in the Water Budget Handbook Story Map. A recording of the high-level overview webinar of the Water Budget handbook from March 12th is available for viewing.

Please join us for an interactive public webinar intended to help water budget developers make better use of the Water Budget Handbook. Please take this short survey on water budget development. DWR will the use the results of the survey to tailor the content for the interactive webinar. Please register for the webinar to participate.

The agenda will cover discussion and Q&A of resources and techniques available in the Water Budget Handbook relating to the components or aspects of water budget development that are identified as being the most challenging/important in the survey.

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.