DWR Launches New Web-Based Mapping Tool Showing Nearly 3,000 Groundwater Sustainability Projects

From the Department of Water Resources:

A new web-based tool developed by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) will allow the public to explore thousands of groundwater projects across California to get a better understanding of one of the state’s most critical water supply resources. The virtual mapping tool is part of the State’s ongoing commitment to develop new, innovative solutions to provide information and resources to address the effects of California’s changing climate and ongoing severe drought.

The California Groundwater Projects Tool is an interactive mapping tool that allows users to explore a database of nearly 3,000 projects initiated in California over the last decade to protect groundwater resources. The mapping tool features projects that were funded by DWR and external sources such as federal or local funding. The database will include information about project benefits and effectiveness in relation to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Users can also access more than 20 project case studies and get guidance on how to measure and track benefits of projects following construction.

Continue reading from the Department of Water Resources by clicking here.

DWR: Going with the Flow: How Aquifer Recharge Reduces Flood Risk

From the Department of Water Resources:

On a small scale, aquifers — subsurface natural basins — have benefitted from man-made recharge for decades. Now, a new Department of Water Resources (DWR) assessment shows how Flood Managed Aquifer Recharge, or Flood-MAR, can help reduce flood risk and boost groundwater supplies across large areas of land.

A climate change problem solver, Flood-MAR collects high flow flood waters from heavy precipitation or snow melt and conveys it downstream. There, the flood waters are spread across the land, creating wetland habitat or irrigating fields while also percolating to aquifers underground. The capturing of flood waters during times of peak flows lessens the risk of major flooding during heavy storms. Some of the water later makes its way back to waterways where it can also support ecosystems and riverine habitat. In partnership with the Merced Irrigation District, Sustainable Conservation, and others, DWR experts analyzed how this would work in the Merced River —a 145-mile-long tributary of the San Joaquin River. The Merced River, which flows from the Sierra Nevada to the San Joaquin Valley, could be much more vulnerable to heavy flooding as storms intensify.

Click here to read more from the Department of Water Resources.

Public Comment Period Opens for Additional Resubmitted Groundwater Sustainability Plans with ‘Incomplete’ Determinations

From the Department of Water Resources:

On January 28, 2022, the Department released eight Incomplete determinations on groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) developed by local agencies to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). These basins were given 180 days to address deficiencies and resubmit their revised GSPs to the Department for review.

The revised GSPs in response to the Incomplete determination have been resubmitted to the Department and are now posted on the DWR SGMA Portal. These plans are open to public comment for 60 days after the posted date. Below in the table are links to the submitted plans, counties they cover, and the public comment period end date. More information about how to comment on a GSP can be found in the public comment factsheet, available in English and Spanish. Please note that a SGMA Portal account is not required to submit a public comment.

 Basin Local ID (if applicable) Counties Covered Public Comment Period End Date
Eastern San Joaquin N/A Calaveras, San Joaquin, Stanislaus 9/30/2022
Merced N/A Mariposa, Merced, Stanislaus 9/30/2022
Chowchilla N/A Madera, Merced 9/30/2022
Kings (including Coordination Agreement) Kings_SouthKings_Adopted Fresno, Kings, Tulare 9/30/2022
Kings_NorthKings_Adopted 9/30/2022
Kings_NorthForkKings_Adopted 9/30/2022
Kings_McMullinArea_Adopted 9/30/2022
Kings_KingsRiverEast_Adopted 9/30/2022
Kings_James_Adopted 9/30/2022
Kings_CentralKings_Adopted 9/30/2022
Kaweah (including Coordination Agreement) Mid-Kaweah GSA Kings, Tulare 9/30/2022
Kaweah Subbasin – Greater Kaweah Subbasin 9/30/2022
East Kaweah 9/30/2022
Tulare Lake N/A Kern, Kings, Tulare 9/30/2022
Tule (including Coordination Agreement) Tule Subbasin Alpaugh GSP Kern, Tulare 9/30/2022
Pixley ID GSA 9/30/2022
LTRID GSA 9/30/2022
DEID GSA 9/30/2022
Basin 5-022.13 TCWA – Tule 9/30/2022
Basin 5-022.13 ETGSA GSP 9/30/2022
Kern County (including Coordination Agreement) KGA GSP Kern, San Luis Obispo 9/30/2022
Kern County Subbasin Olcese GSP 9/30/2022
Kern County Subbasin KRGSA GSP 9/30/2022
Henry Miller Water District GSA 9/30/2022
BVGSA 9/30/2022
  South of Kern   9/30/2022

 

Public Comment Period Opens for a Groundwater Sustainability Plan

A groundwater sustainability plan that has recently been submitted to the Department is now posted on the DWR SGMA Portal.

The plan is open to public comment for 75 days after the posted date. Below in the table is a link to the submitted plan, the county it covers, and the public comment period end date.

Information about how to comment on the plan can be found in a fact sheet in English and Spanish. Public comments are welcomed and encouraged. A SGMA Portal account is not necessary to submit comments.

 Basin Local ID (if applicable) County Covered Public Comment Period End Date
Riverside-Arlington N/A Riverside 10/15/2022
San Gabriel Valley N/A Los Angeles 10/15/2022

For questions or more information, email sgmps@water.ca.gov.

Public Comment Period Opens for Re-Submitted Groundwater Sustainability Plans with ‘Incomplete’ Determinations

From the Department of Water Resources:

On January 21, 2022, the Department released four Incomplete determinations on groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) developed by local agencies to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). These basins were given 180 days to address deficiencies and resubmit their revised GSPs to the Department for review.

The revised GSPs in response to the Incomplete determination have been re-submitted to the Department and are now posted on the DWR SGMA Portal. These plans are open to public comment for 60 days after the posted date. Below in the table are links to the submitted plans, counties they cover, and the public comment period end date.

The remaining revised GSPs must be submitted to the SGMA Portal by July 27, 2022 and will also be open to public comment for 60 days after the posted date.

Additional information related to this process is available in the GSP Reporting System – Incomplete Resubmission Process User Manual.

 Basin Local ID (if applicable) Counties Covered Public Comment Period End Date
Cuyama N/A Kern, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura 9/19/2022
Paso Robles Area N/A San Luis Obispo 9/19/2022
Delta-Mendota (including Coordination Agreement) Aliso WD GSA Fresno, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus 9/19/2022
DM_NorthCentral_Adopted 9/19/2022
DM_Grassland_Adopted 9/19/2022
DM_Farmers_Adopted 9/19/2022
DM_FresnoCounty_Adopted 9/19/2022
DM_SJREC_Adopted 9/19/2022
Westside N/A Fresno, Kings 9/19/2022

 

For questions or more information, email sgmps@water.ca.gov.

DWR: New Data Viewer Allows Public to See the Hidden Groundwater Basins Beneath our Feet and Helps Decision Makers Prepare for Drought Impacts

A helicopter demonstrates how this AEM subterranean survey is conducted to find where water is more likely to exist.. Photo by Andrew Innerarity/ DWR

From the Department of Water Resources:

With California in the third year of a severe drought and facing continued extreme weather swings, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has been developing and using new data and forecasting tools to better anticipate and manage available water supplies.

One new technology that DWR is implementing statewide is collecting airborne electromagnetic (AEM) data across California to better understand the groundwater aquifer structure and to support the state and local goal of sustainable groundwater management. The AEM method is an innovative helicopter-based technology that has been compared to taking an MRI of the subsurface, which helps DWR to better understand underground geology. The resulting underground images provide local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) with data to identify priority areas for recharging groundwater.

Click here to continue reading from the Department of Water Resources.

New Data Shows Subsidence Continued in Water Year 2021, But Pace Slower than Seen in Previous Droughts

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released new satellite-based data that show subsidence – or the sinking of the land surface due to excessive groundwater pumping – continues in the state. DWR has intensified statewide subsidence monitoring to help identify impacts and address them collaboratively with local groundwater agencies, counties and landowners.

The areas experiencing the most subsidence during Water Year 2021 (WY 2021) are in the San Joaquin Valley, with a maximum of 1.1 feet of subsidence observed in the region and the Sacramento Valley with a maximum of 0.7 feet in the region. Data show that in WY 2021 subsidence of greater than 0.5 feet per year expanded to more areas than observed in WY 2020. However, fewer areas experienced higher rates of subsidence than at the end of the last drought in 2016.

Click here to read more from DWR News.

THIS JUST IN … DWR Releases Additional “Incomplete” Groundwater Sustainability Plan Assessments to Agencies, Initiating 180-day Timeline to Correct Deficiencies

From the Department of Water Resources:

Today, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released eight determinations on groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) developed by local agencies to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

DWR has found in its technical review that the GSPs in eight basins contain deficiencies that preclude approval and the plans are determined to be Incomplete. The eight basins include the Eastern San Joaquin Subbasin, Merced Subbasin, Chowchilla Subbasin, Kings Subbasin, Kaweah Subbasin, Tulare Lake Subbasin, Tule Subbasin, and Kern County Subbasin, primarily located in the San Joaquin Valley.

The basins with GSPs that are determined Incomplete have 180 days from today’s release of DWR’s determination to address deficiencies and resubmit their corrected GSPs to the Department for review.

The determinations can be found on the Department’s SGMA Portal. For more information related to these GSP Assessments, please find the Frequently Asked Questions: Incomplete Determinations & Next Steps on our website. For questions, please contact the Sustainable Groundwater Management Office by emailing sgmps@water.ca.gov.

 

THIS JUST IN … DWR Releases Additional Groundwater Sustainability Plan Assessments to Agencies

From the Department of Water Resources:

Today, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released two additional determinations on groundwater sustainability plans developed by local agencies to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

DWR has approved plans for the Los Posas Valley Basin in Ventura County and the Indian Wells Valley Basin, primarily located in northeast Kern County. These two plans are approved with recommended corrective actions that the groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) will need to address in their next plan update, due in January 2025. The GSAs for these basins will continue implementing their plans to achieve SGMA’s goal of groundwater sustainability within 20 years.

The determinations can be found on the Department’s SGMA Portal. For questions, please contact the Sustainable Groundwater Management Office by emailing sgmps@water.ca.gov.

DWR’S SGMO NEWSLETTER: AEM surveys, Draft Drinking Water Well Principles and Strategies Document, A week of webinars on SGMA efforts, and more …

From the Department of Water Resources Sustainable Groundwater Management Office:

NEW First Airborne Electromagnetic (AEM) Surveys Complete and Additional Surveys Scheduled

AEM data were successfully collected in the Salinas Valley, Paso Robles, and Cuyama Valley in early August. Data are expected to become publicly available in early 2022.    

Additional AEM surveys have been scheduled to begin this fall in three areas of the state. The three areas include:

  •  Northern Area: Scott River Valley, Shasta Valley, Butte Valley, Tulelake, Big Valley (Lassen and Modoc counties), and a portion of Fall River Valley. 
  • North-Central Area: Ukiah Valley, Big Valley (Lake County), Santa Rosa Plain, Petaluma Valley, and Sonoma Valley 
  • Southern San Joaquin Valley Area: White Wolf, Kern County, Tulare Lake, Tule, and Kaweah.

Visit the AEM Survey Schedule webpage for schedule updates.  For more information, visit the Statewide AEM Survey Project webpage or email AEM@water.ca.gov.


NEW State Seeks Public Comment on Draft Drinking Water Well Principles and Strategies Document

Governor Gavin Newsom signed the April 21, 2021 State of Emergency Proclamation after two dry years to prioritize the protection of public health, safety and the environment, and to prepare for and mitigate the effects of drought conditions. Executive Action Item 11 specifically identifies:

“To ensure the potential impacts of drought on communities are anticipated and proactively addressed, the Department of Water Resources, in coordination with the Water Board, shall develop groundwater management principles and strategies to monitor, analyze, and minimize impacts to drinking water wells.

As was announced on September 9, 2021, the Draft Groundwater Management and Drinking Water Well Principles and Strategies are available for public review during the 30-day public comment period. The Draft Principles and Strategies are also available in Spanish. Public comments are due no later than Thursday, October 7, 2021 by 5:00 PM PDT. You can submit a public comment by the deadline or ask us questions anytime by sending an email to sgmps@water.ca.gov. We look forward to hearing from you.

The state also held a public webinar to review the draft principles and strategies and accept formal public comments on September 23, 2021. Materials from previous public workshops and sessions, a schedule on the next steps, and more information for this effort are available on our Drinking Water Wells Principle website. If you have comments or questions, please email us at sgmps@water.ca.gov.


NEW A Week of Webinars on Statewide Groundwater Management Efforts

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is hosting a week of webinars on statewide groundwater management efforts. More information about each webinar is included in the flyer to the right.   

  • 2022 Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) Submittal Workshop, Monday, October 18, 2021 from 10AM to 12:30PM, Click Here to Register
  • 2022 Alternative 5-year Update Submittal Workshop, Tuesday, October 19, 2021 from 10AM to 12:00PM, Click Here to Register
  • Resources for Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Implementation, Wednesday, October 20, 2021 from 10AM to 11:30AM, Click Here to Register
  • Accessing Groundwater Data and Tools, Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 10AM to 12:00PM, Click Here to Register

 For questions about these webinar events, please contact us at: sgmps@water.ca.gov.


REMINDER Submit or Update Your Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP) Initial Notification

The 2022 deadline for GSPs is nearing; if your GSP development has undergone some changes since your Initial Notification submission, please make sure visit the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System and ensure that initial notification is up-to-date . When logged in, the portal allows edits to be made to previously submitted Initial Notifications, including the ability to withdraw a submittal.  

If you have not submitted an Initial Notification, remember that before starting a GSP, agencies are required to notify DWR in writing using the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System.

For more information, contact the regional coordinators in DWR’s four Region Offices. For assistance with the system, email Monica.Reis@water.ca.gov.


REMINDER June 2021 GSP Assessments Release and Live Q&A Webinar Materials

DWR evaluates GSPs to determine if they comply with the SGMA, substantially comply with the GSP Regulations, and whether implementation of the GSP is likely to achieve the sustainability goal for the basin. DWR evaluates GSPs within two years of their submittal and issues a written assessment. See the GSP Evaluation fact sheet for more information on GSP assessment outcomes.

DWR released its first assessments of GSPs developed by local agencies to meet the requirements of SGMA on June 3, 2021. DWR has completed its assessment and approved plans for the Santa Cruz Mid-County Basin in Santa Cruz County and 180/400 Foot Aquifer Subbasin in Monterey County. The groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) for these critically over-drafted basins will continue implementing their plans to achieve SGMA’s goal of groundwater sustainability within 20 years.

DWR hosted a live question and answer webinar on June 24, 2021. Materials from this public workshop and more information about GSPs and GSP Evaluation are available on our Groundwater Sustainability Plans website. If you have comments or questions, please email us at sgmps@water.ca.gov.


REMINDER Household Water Supply Shortage Reporting System Website Updates

 Individuals served by domestic wells who are experiencing a water supply shortage are encouraged to report it to DWR’s online Household Water Supply Shortage Reporting System. This information will help inform state and local agencies on water shortage impacts to households served by wells, and will help identify the need for local, state, or federal assistance.

To report a water supply shortage, go to the MyDryWell webpage, and click the “Submit Report” button. The form is also available in Spanish by clicking “Enviar Reporte.” The site has been updated with additional Helpful Resources for Homeowners, which can be found at the conclusion of submitting a report or by clicking the “Resources” button on the homepage.

For more information, email sgmps@water.ca.gov.


REMINDER Draft California’s Groundwater – Update 2020: Webinar Video and Presentation Slides Now Online

DWR held a public webinar meeting to present an overview of the recently released draft California’s Groundwater – Update 2020 (Bulletin-118) on March 30, 2021, and the video of the meeting is now available online in English and with Spanish subtitles.

 Presentation slides are also available in English and Spanish.

The final version of California’s Groundwater is expected to be released in fall 2021.

For more information, visit the updated California’s Groundwater webpage or email CalGW@water.ca.gov.


REMINDER DWR Releases Update to Fine-Grid California Central Valley Groundwater-Surface Water Simulation Model

DWR has released an update to the Fine-Grid California Central Valley Groundwater-Surface Water Simulation (C2VSimFG) Model, which can be used by GSAs developing water budgets for their GSPs. 

C2VSimFG Version 1.01 utilizes the latest version of the Integrated Water Flow Model software and corrects minor errors in the model files. These updates do not significantly affect the overall model calibration; however, resulting changes to simulated groundwater levels may vary by basin.

For questions or more information, email sgmps@water.ca.gov.


REMINDER Multi-Language Groundwater Educational Videos Now Available

New SGMA groundwater educational videos in various languages are now available. All materials are available for public use and may be shared and added to websites.

“Groundwater: California’s Vital Resource” video: English, Spanish, Punjabi, and Hmong

“DWR’s Assistance Role in Groundwater Management” video: English and Spanish


REMINDER CASGEM to Monitoring Network Module Transition Frequently Asked Questions Available

 The CASGEM to Monitoring Network Module Transition Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document covers questions related to the Groundwater Monitoring Law, the California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring (CASGEM) Program, a GSP’s required monitoring, the SGMA Portal’s Monitoring Network Module (MNM), and a basin’s or subbasin’s transition from the CASGEM Online System to the SGMA Portal’s Monitoring Network Module .

For additional information or questions concerning any topics covered in the FAQ, please contact:


REMINDER Monitoring Network Module Updated to Accept Sustainable Management Criteria Data

The SGMA Portal’s Monitoring Network Module, the online reporting system for monitoring site data, has been updated to accept sustainable management criteria data for the chronic lowering of groundwater levels sustainability indicator. This data includes minimum thresholds, measurable objectives, and interim milestones. Following the update, GSAs must load the sustainable management criteria data before importing any new groundwater level readings to representative monitoring wells in the Monitoring Network Module.

For more information, view the Sustainable Management Criteria Data Submittal User Guide.

For questions or assistance, email GSPSubmittal@water.ca.gov.


REMINDER Written Translation Services 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. Applicants can submit up to 5,000 words per basin/subbasin.

For details, visit the Written Translation tab on the Assistance and Engagement 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 GSAs and others involved in the implementation of SGMA. 

In response to the sustainable groundwater management community’s interest in guidance, resources, and examples on how to conduct public meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic, DWR developed Tips and Tactics for Online Meetings.


REMINDER Groundwater Exchange Shares Information and Resources

 Maven’s Notebook’s Groundwater Exchange is a central, collaborative, and publicly accessible online resource center connecting water managers, water users, and community members with tools and resources to support the development and implementation of GSPs. ​While not a DWR website, DWR representatives have been on the Exchange’s Advisory Board since its inception as it supports the sharing of information and resources for SGMA implementation.


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.

DWR Releases First Assessments of Initial Groundwater Sustainability Plans

From the Department of Water Resources:
 
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today released its first assessments of groundwater sustainability plans developed by local agencies to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
 
DWR has completed its assessment and approved plans for the Santa Cruz Mid-County Basin in Santa Cruz County and 180/400 Foot Aquifer Subbasin in Monterey County. The groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) for these critically over-drafted basins will continue implementing their plans to achieve SGMA’s goal of groundwater sustainability within 20 years.
 
DWR has notified GSAs for the Cuyama Valley Basin and Paso Robles Subbasin that their plans lack specific details and are not yet approved. DWR is requesting a consultation meeting with the GSAs to discuss actions necessary to improve the plans. DWR is committed to working with local agencies and providing technical and financial support to help them bring their basins into balanced levels of pumping and recharge.
 
“Local management, including development of solutions for the long-term reliability of groundwater, is the cornerstone of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “DWR’s evaluation and assessment of groundwater sustainability plans is an important step in the long process of bringing our critical groundwater basins into sustainability, helping to ensure Californians have a reliable water source during drought years and for generations to come.”
 
DWR is releasing plan assessments as they are completed, rather than waiting to release the assessments at the end of the two-year review period in January 2022, to provide early feedback and guidance that can inform other GSAs as they develop their plans.
 
SGMA initiated a new era of local groundwater management. For the first time in California’s water history, local agencies and groundwater users are required to form GSAs and develop and implement plans to guide how they will achieve groundwater basin sustainability goals over the next 20 years. SGMA lays out a process designed for continuous improvement – gathering information to fill data gaps, updating plans, and promoting science-based adaptation. Plans will be updated as new information becomes available and as conditions change in groundwater basins. DWR will review annual reports and also assess each plan every five years to determine if the GSAs are on track to meet their basin’s goal.
 
Despite the long-term timeline, SGMA requires near-term actions that will help the state manage water resources during dry and drought years. For example, GSAs have been required to submit annual progress reports since 2020 with the most up-to-date monitoring and plan implementation information for their groundwater basins, including groundwater levels and use. This data can be accessed on the SGMA Portal. By tracking conditions and implementation performance, the state and local agencies can better manage water resources during average and wet years to ensure groundwater will be available as a buffer during dry years.
 
In addition to and aligned with plan evaluation, DWR continues to support GSAs by providing planning, technical and financial assistance. Recently, DWR announced $26 million in grant funding for project investments to improve water supply security, water quality and the reliability of groundwater. These efforts align with the Administration’s budget proposal for significant additional funding for projects to improve groundwater conditions and advance safe drinking water efforts for groundwater-dependent communities.
 
For more information about DWR’s available assistance, watch this video and visit the assistance and engagement webpage.
 
Additional information, including a video message from DWR on the assessments, is available at this website.