FACT SHEETS AVAILABLE

The State Water Board has a number of fact sheets available:

SGMA in the News

A round-up of media articles about groundwater and SGMA implementation from around the state

STATEWIDE

Time’s up on groundwater plans: one of the most important new California water laws in 50 years explained:  “Much of California’s water supply is a hidden asset: Deep below the surface, rocks, gravel and sand store water like a sponge, in an underground zone called an aquifer.  In dry years, this groundwater has been tapped to save farms, keep grass green and provide drinking water to millions of Californians. But over time, people have taken more water out than nature has put back in. Estimates vary, but according to the U.S. Geological Survey, California pumped 41 trillion gallons of water from the ground in about 100 years, through 2013. In some parts of the Central Valley, that means land has been dropping around a foot a year.  … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Time’s up on groundwater plans: one of the most important new California water laws in 50 years explained

Why California’s water crisis is everyone’s problem:  “The state of California is no stranger to calamity, as evidenced by the persistent droughts and devastating wildfires that have ravished the land in years past. Now, however, it is facing a crisis of another kind, and at this critical juncture the fate of the global agriculture industry hangs in the balance.  California comprises 14 percent of the U.S. economy, much of which is fueled by agriculture. The state’s agriculture industry produced $50 billion in output last year. California supplies approximately 50 percent of the country’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables across almonds, apricots, avocados and many more grown foods.  However, a law crafted in 2014 dubbed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), a product of the severe seven-year drought, stands to jeopardize ag production in the state, which has far reaching implications nationally and around the world. … ”  Read more from Global Ag Investing here: Why California’s water crisis is everyone’s problem

Small farmers wait for California’s groundwater hammer to fall:  “A black lab trots dutifully behind as Randy Fiorini proudly points out the drip irrigation lines running along the base of his walnut trees. The orchards sit on land first planted in 1907 when his grandfather established Fiorini Ranch a few miles outside of Delhi, California after relocating from Redondo Beach. A cement ditch carrying water from the Don Pedro Reservoir about 50 miles away runs alongside peach, almond, and walnut trees.  Back when the ranch was irrigated by flooding its fields, Fiorini would splash around with his childhood friend, Scott Severson, in the huge pools under the shade of the trees. Like Fiorini, Severson grew up to farm his family’s ranch nearby in Merced County.  Like most parts of the Central Valley, the Fiorini and Severson ranches in the Turlock Irrigation District used surface water when it was available, and pumped groundwater when it wasn’t. … ” Read more from the Bill Lane Center for the American West here: Small farmers wait for California’s groundwater hammer to fall

Dairy industry gives update on challenges it is facing:  “Dairymen and others in the industry are expected to descend on Sacramento to display their global accomplishments.  Funding in part by a grant from Farm Credit, than 600 farmers, policy makers, service providers and researchers are expected to attend the California Dairy Sustainability Summit during the March 25-26 Cal Expo.  California’s dairy industry is responsible for just under one-fifth of all the milk produced in the U.S., contributes $65 billion to the state’s economy and is responsible for 180,000 California jobs. And while the industry has made impressive gains in becoming more environmentally sustainable, it continually faces new requirements. … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun Gazette here:  Dairy industry gives update on challenges it is facing

California water restrictions to become more severe:  “Water woes in California’s major dairy shed are likely to get worse. The state will soon begin to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which could boost the cost of milk production while devaluing dairy farm assets for some producers, says Sarina Sharp, analyst with the Daily Dairy Report.   “Over the next two decades, the SGMA will dramatically alter groundwater use throughout the state, especially in the Central Valley, where water shortages are most severe,” Sharp says. California dairy producers will also likely see production costs rise as feed crops lose acreage to cash crops. … ”  Read more from Milk Business here: California water restrictions to become more severe

Perspectives on groundwater sustainability: Erik Ringelberg with the Freshwater Trust:  “The Freshwater Trust is most well-known for its work on protecting freshwater river ecosystems. In California, a significant amount of surface water bodies are regulated and diverted through dams and other surface water infrastructure. Surface water bodies also lose flow when the groundwater is depleted. So for our efforts in California, we see as an important role for the Trust to use our understanding of surface waters and apply that to protecting their associated groundwater systems. California is catching up on groundwater protection and we are taking the lessons we have learned from other Western states and applying them to groundwater in California. … ”  Read more from the We All Live Downstream blog here: Perspectives on groundwater sustainability

NAPA VALLEY/BAY AREA

New Napa County groundwater agency hears from critics at its first meeting:  “Local environmentalists want to make sure Napa County’s new groundwater oversight agency hears their voices, a step that agency members said they intend to take.  County supervisors formed the Napa Valley Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Agency on Dec. 17 with themselves as the governing board. Critics wanted an agency board with diverse interests, such as the groundwater users and the environment. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here: New Napa County groundwater agency hears from critics at its first meeting

Santa Clara: Valley Water working to ensure groundwater users are fairly charged for benefits received:  “In Santa Clara County, the largest supply of water is hidden beneath our feet.  Local groundwater basins can hold more water than all 10 of Valley Water’s reservoirs combined and serve as our primary reserve in times of drought. Groundwater provides about 40% of the water used in Santa Clara County, and nearly all the water used in South County.  Because the amount of groundwater pumped far exceeds what is naturally replenished by rainfall, Valley Water’s groundwater management activities are critical to maintaining healthy groundwater basins. ... ”  Read more from Valley Water News here: Santa Clara: Valley Water working to ensure groundwater users are fairly charged for benefits received

SACRAMENTO VALLEY

Yuba Water Agency adopts Groundwater Sustainability Plan:  “Yuba County’s groundwater subbasins have been sustainably managed for decades, and with 80 percent of Yuba’s residents relying on groundwater as their sole source, it’s critical that it remain sustainable for the long-term. With that in mind, Yuba Water Agency adopted an official groundwater sustainability plan, known as the Yuba Subbasins Water Management Plan.  The plan, developed in coordination with Cordua Irrigation District, the city of Marysville and many interested stakeholders, will guide the continued management and use of groundwater in Yuba County. … ”  Read more from Yuba Net here:  Yuba Water Agency adopts Groundwater Sustainability Plan

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

Tulare County: Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board approves GSP; Friant-Kern Canal among concerns:  “Now that the Groundwater Sustainability Plan has been approved, the real work begins so to speak.  The Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board approved the GSP at its meeting on Friday, laying out the goals for the agency to meet the state requirement to reduce groundwater usage to what’s considered a sustainable level by 2040.  The plan was due to be submitted to the state by January 31. The ETGSA covers virtually all of Southeastern Tulare County. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Tulare County: Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board approves GSP; Friant-Kern Canal among concerns

Kern’s final groundwater plan approved:  “After months of fireworks over lowball pumping numbers and concerns that some groundwater agencies wouldn’t get on board, Kern’s last groundwater sustainability plan was approved Wednesday with barely a murmur.  The Kern Groundwater Authority board of directors voted unanimously to adopt its final GSP with just two weeks to spare before the massive document is due to the state Department of Water Resources. ... ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: Kern’s final groundwater plan approved

EASTERN SIERRA

Owens Valley groundwater basin is officially “low”:  “The Owens Valley Groundwater Authority has been flailing in limbo as the California Department of Water Resources stood poised to publish the final priority rating for the state’s  groundwater basins, as required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  Then, in mid-December, the OVGA received word, the priority list had been finalized and the Owens basin was officially low. … ” Read more from the Sierra Wave here: Owens Valley groundwater basin is officially “low”

Inyo to take ‘no’ position on Indian Wells Valley plan to tap into LA Aqueduct:  “Inyo County Supervisors had a no-brainer at Tuesday’s Board meeting. The question: what position should the Board’s representative take on Indian Wells Valley’s option to tap into the Los Angeles Aqueduct to solve its critical overdraft problem? The decision was a unanimous “no.”  Listening to John Vallejo, deputy county counsel, describe the situation begged the question “what was Indian Wells thinking?” … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here: Inyo to take ‘no’ position on Indian Wells Valley plan to tap into LA Aqueduct

Indian Wells Valley groundwater plan approved:  “With the bang of a gavel, the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board of directors passed its groundwater sustainability plan following years of planning and heavy debate.  “We have a GSP,” said Kern County Supervisor Mick Gleason, the board chair. ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Indian Wells Valley groundwater plan approved

VENTURA COUNTY

Petrochem sold as a water war looms in the Ventura River Watershed:  “The Ventura River Watershed is a vast area stretching from the Ventura River mouth to the Upper Ojai Valley and back to the edges of the Sespe, with an arm reaching into Santa Barbara County. It encompasses all the land that gathers water from local mountain peaks, channeling it down into barrancas and drainages, combining into creek beds and eventually all coming together into the Ventura River to stream out to the Pacific Ocean. It includes not just water visible at the surface, but also the deep groundwater basins that fill water wells for thousands of property owners in the area. … Two stories are currently unfolding in the Ventura River Watershed, one regarding a polluted property that is changing hands, the other involving a legal case that could have ramifications for all water users and water rights for decades. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Reporter here: Petrochem sold as a water war looms in the Ventura River Watershed

SGMA in the News

 

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

Valley land has sunk from too much water pumping. Can Fresno County fix it? The Fresno County Board of Supervisors adopted a plan on Tuesday meant to maintain groundwater and keep users from pumping too much from underground basins.  The supervisors adopted plans for two areas connected to the Delta-Mendota subbasin. Officials throughout the San Joaquin Valley have been required by the state to adopt a plan by the end of the month. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Valley land has sunk from too much water pumping. Can Fresno County fix it? 

CENTRAL COAST

Pajaro Valley water project balances ag and saltwater intrusion:  “Facing the continued creep inland of seawater intrusion into irrigation supplies, the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency board has approved expansion of its water service area to include an additional 700 acres of coastal farmlands.  The agency’s board of directors unanimously agreed at Dec. 18 meeting to award a $3.2 million contract to build the new so-called F-Pipeline Project to San Luis Obispo-based Specialty Construction, Inc. After finalizing the project’s environmental impact study update last month, construction is expected to begin as early as late January on the seaward side of San Andreas Road. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Pajaro Valley water project balances ag and saltwater intrusion

Paso Robles approves groundwater sustainability plan:  “After almost two years of planning, public outreach and discussion, the City of Paso Robles approved the Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the Paso Robles Water Basin on Dec. 17. The GSP’s completion and approval is a vital step in keeping the power of water management in local hands and not controlled by the State of California.  The City of Paso Robles Groundwater Sustainability Board, comprised of the City Council, passed the GSP in a majority vote of 3-0 with Mayor Steve Martin and Councilmember Maria Garcia absent. … ”  Read more from The Paso Robles Press here: Paso Robles approves groundwater sustainability plan

As groundwater basins ‘rest,’ Santa Barbara looks to reservoirs for future water supplies:  “This winter has started out as a wet one, but even if the rain tapers off, Santa Barbara can meet the water demands of its customers through 2022 with existing supplies, according to city staff.  It’s been more than eight years since Lake Cachuma filled up and spilled, and groundwater basins all over Santa Barbara County are at historically low levels after being heavily pumped during the long drought.  Groundwater well pumps are off to help basins “rest,” and it will take an estimated five years for the basins to recover from the drought, water supply analyst Dakota Corey told the city’s Water Commission at Thursday’s meeting. ... ”  Read more from Noozhawk here: As groundwater basins ‘rest,’ Santa Barbara looks to reservoirs for future water supplies

EASTERN SIERRA

Los Angeles may store water under an Owens Valley lake drained to fill its faucets:  “Quick shifts in climate have prompted Los Angeles to consider an unlikely place to bank some of its Sierra Nevada snowmelt: beneath dry Owens Lake, which the city drained starting in 1913 to fill the L.A. Aqueduct and supply a thirsty metropolis.  The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has launched studies of ambitious plans to store water in the lake’s underground aquifer so that it could be pumped up in summer months and drought years to create pools of water to limit the dust sweeping across the vast lakebed’s salt flats. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Los Angeles may store water under an Owens Valley lake drained to fill its faucets

Ridgecrest: Zdeba, Kicinski provide GSP update at Dems lunch:  “The topic of water took center stage at the Democratic Club of the High Desert on Saturday as Indian Wells Valley Water District general manager Don Zdeba and board member Ron Kicinski provided some updates.  Zdeba touched on the status of the groundwater sustainability plan and the IWV Groundwater Authority. The GSP is a roadmap that will detail how the IWV basin needs to achieve a sustainable safe yield by 2040, as mandated by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  “Surface water has been regulated in California for nearly 100 years, but before SGMA came along, groundwater was not managed at all,” Zdeba said. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Ridgecrest: Zdeba, Kicinski provide GSP update at Dems lunch

 

SGMA in the news …

Groundwater: A firehose of paperwork is pointed at state water officials:  “The onslaught of paperwork will be mind boggling. Eye popping. Elephant choking. Pick your metaphor and it still won’t capture the situation.  When the calendar strikes Jan. 31, 2020, water agencies around the state will have sent hundreds of thousands of pages of technical data, plans and comments meant to shore up groundwater levels in our most overdrafted areas.  Officials at the state Department of Water Resources are expecting about 45 groundwater sustainability plans to be filed by the deadline. They’ll come from 19 water basins bunched mostly in the Central Valley that are considered critically overdrafted per the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Groundwater: A firehose of paperwork is pointed at state water officials

Trading water: Can water shares help save California’s aquifers? California is by far the United States’ most populous state, as well as its largest agricultural producer. Increasingly, it is also one of the country’s most parched places. But Edgar Terry, a fourth-generation farmer in Ventura County, just outside Los Angeles, thinks he has a key to reversing worsening water stress: establishing tradeable rights to shares of fast-depleting groundwater aquifers. … ” Read more from Reuters here: Trading water: Can water shares help save California’s aquifers?

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Sonoma County: Groundwater monitoring wells: a ‘picture’ of underground water connections for groundwater sustainability plans:  Ann DuBay writes, “During the months of October and November, up to  21 groundwater monitoring wells will be drilled near Sonoma County creeks   to provide new information to managers and the public on the link between groundwater and stream flows. Coordination and construction of the wells are a technical service provided by the   California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to Sonoma County’s three Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs).  Each well will be about 50 feet deep, and will be designed specifically for measuring water levels throughout the year. … ”  Read more from the Sonoma Gazette here: Sonoma County: Groundwater monitoring wells: a ‘picture’ of underground water connections for groundwater sustainability plans

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

San Joaquin County: Water in the bank: Coalition of agencies develops ‘historic’ sustainable groundwater plan:  “There’s progress to report in the momentous task of ensuring that San Joaquin County and surrounding communities have enough water to meet anticipated needs for the next 20 years.  Earlier this month, the Eastern San Joaquin Groundwater Authority — or ESJGWA, comprised of 16 area agencies including cities, counties and water districts — recommended that each of its member agencies adopt a mutually agreed upon Groundwater Sustainability Plan by Jan. 8. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: Water in the bank: Coalition of agencies develops ‘historic’ sustainable groundwater plan

Some farmers sell off fields ahead of groundwater law:  “Even with his eyes closed, Doug Martin can recognize the sound of every tractor on his Hanford ranch. There’s the big silver work horse, and the 40-year-old Oliver that can still run his backup generator, but the one he looks at with love is a tiny green thing from 1958. “The first time I plowed ground with it, I was seven years old,” he says, recalling how he mishandled the plow and feared he had ruined the fields. He hadn’t; his father simply re-plowed them. “This little tractor did a lot,” he says, laughing. … ”  Read more from KVPR here:  Some farmers sell off fields ahead of groundwater law

EASTERN SIERRA

Ridgecrest: Water district board discusses GA budget:  “Discussion over groundwater authority finances once again dominated discussion at the Indian Wells Valley Water District board of directors meeting Monday night.  Board member Ron Kicinski provided fellow directors with an update on the IWV Groundwater Authority and its upcoming public workshop Thursday night at Kerr McGee Center. During the update, he noted that finances for the young agency continue to be a concern. … ”  Read more from the Taft Midway Driller here: Ridgecrest: Water district board discusses GA budget

Ridgecrest:  Proposed pump fee raise delayed:  “A proposed pump fee increase to help bolster the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s budget in 2020 fell somewhat flat at the Nov. 21 board meeting.  The recommended fee hike would have elevated the rate from a monthly $30 per-acre foot pumped to $75/acre-foot, according to IWVGA acting general manager Don Zdeba. It would turn the tables on the IWVGA ending 2020 fiscal year with $465,000 in the red to ending in the positive by $209,000. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Proposed pump fee raise delayed

Ridgecrest: Groundwater Sustainability Plan workshop set for December 12:  “The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority will hold a public workshop regarding its draft groundwater sustainability plan on Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. at the Kerr McGee Center, 100 W. California Ave.  A summary of the GSP will be presented before accepting public comments. All interested persons are invited to attend workshop.  The draft GSP is available in its entirety online at www.IWVGA.org/gsp-chapters. The Public Workshop will be video recorded and posted online at “www.IWVGA.org” after the workshop. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Indpendent here: Groundwater Sustainability Plan workshop set for December 12

COACHELLA VALLEY

Golf course, CVWD cooperation key to keeping groundwater control local:  “Everyone knows the proverb about the man who falls off the Empire State Building and half way to the sidewalk below concludes, “so far, so good.” It’s the story we use to describe the most foolish of complacencies. The proverb is much too extreme to describe the Coachella Valley golf community’s relationship with water. Our complacency is not nearly as irrational, but it too is a complacency unsupported by fact or circumstance. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here: Golf course, CVWD cooperation key to keeping groundwater control local

Providing ‘Overdraft’ Protection for Groundwater in California’s Pajaro Valley

While California’s recent drought is officially over, more intense rainfall means more rain is running off, rather than soaking into the ground. But what if some of this water could be collected to help recharge thirsty aquifers and mitigate the effects of overdraft?

At Driscoll’s, we’ve long advocated for responsible and collaborative solutions to groundwater management, and seek to grow in harmony with our communities. Water is a shared resource, and we all must work together at the local level to ensure it’s being managed well to keep our communities, businesses and ecosystems healthy for generations.

That’s why, over the past few years, we’ve been working with UC Santa Cruz, the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency, and an independent grower on the Bokariza-Drobac stormwater infiltration system — an innovative groundwater-recharge project in the Pajaro Valley.

Click here to read more from Sustainable Brands.

Programs pursue groundwater quality goals

Pilot programs in two regions of the San Joaquin Valley will serve as templates for other areas developing plans to prevent fertilizer and irrigation runoff from entering groundwater supplies. The programs will also create plans to provide clean drinking water to disadvantaged communities.

The Turlock and Kings River groundwater subbasins are among six in the Central Valley designated as high priority due to nitrate levels that exceed 10 milligrams per liter. Affected stakeholders in the two subbasins are using grant funds from the State Water Resources Control Board for pilot programs to develop plans for compliance.

Wayne Zipser, a director of the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition, which works with irrigators in Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties, described the Turlock Subbasin Management Zone Pilot Program as “a proactive approach before this regulation even happens.”

Continue reading from Ag Alert by clicking here.

SGMA in the news …

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

State tells Napa County to form agency to monitor Napa Valley groundwater:  “California has told Napa County to form a local groundwater agency to ensure the underground reservoir that nurtures world-famous wine country is being kept in good shape.  The county submitted more than 1,000 pages of documents to try to avoid that outcome. It argued that the groundwater basin is already being managed sustainably and is nowhere near to being sucked dry.  But the state Department of Water Resources earlier this month reaffirmed a tentative verdict announced in July by rejecting a county appeal. … ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here: State tells Napa County to form agency to monitor Napa Valley groundwater

BAY AREA

Zone 7 applies for $500,000 grant from state:  “In order to better plan for safeguarding and preserving the Livermore-Amador Valley water supply, Zone 7 Water Agency is turning to the state and applying for a $500,000 grant that would help achieve their goals.  Zone 7 is the sole Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) for the Livermore Valley Groundwater Basin, which it has overseen for more than 45 years. … ”  Read more from the Livermore Independent here: Zone 7 applies for $500,000 grant from state

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

Water in the bank: Coalition of agencies develops ‘historic’ sustainable groundwater plan:  “There’s progress to report in the momentous task of ensuring that San Joaquin County and surrounding communities have enough water to meet anticipated needs for the next 20 years.  Earlier this month, the Eastern San Joaquin Groundwater Authority — or ESJGWA, comprised of 16 area agencies including cities, counties and water districts — recommended that each of its member agencies adopt a mutually agreed upon Groundwater Sustainability Plan by Jan. 8. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: Water in the bank: Coalition of agencies develops ‘historic’ sustainable groundwater plan

Greater Kaweah GSA to partner on easing climate change impacts:  “As California’s groundwater aquifers continue to deplete at what experts consider to be an alarming rate, the state passed a comprehensive groundwater management law in 2014 that is changing how this precious resource is used for the next 20 years and beyond.  Under the law, the state established groundwater sustainability agencies, which are tasked with drafting extensive plans on managing groundwater for their designated water basins. The Greater Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA), which is one of three for the Kaweah subbasin, covers most of the subbasin throughout Tulare and Kings counties. … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Greater Kaweah GSA to partner on easing climate change impacts

Locals gear up for fight to keep Kings River water away from Kern district:  “Just as they did more than two generations ago, Kern County farmers are looking to another Central Valley river to the north to refill their groundwater shortfall.  But this time around, natives in the Kings River watershed are “sharpening their knives” to fight off what they say is a desperate water grab.  The sprawling Semitropic Water Storage District, in the northwest corner of Kern County, has filed an application with the State Water Resources Control Board claiming the Kings River Water Association has forfeited two of its floodwater licenses by not using that water. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Locals gear up for fight to keep Kings River water away from Kern district

Video: Kern County In Depth: Ground water regulations:  “The state legislature in 2014 passed the groundwater sustainability management act, a sweeping and unprecedented attempt to halt the widespread depletion of groundwater basins up and down the state.  The implementation of SGMA, as it’s called, will make California the last state in the western U.S. to regulate access to and use of our groundwater supplies.  Since 2014, newly formed groundwater sustainability agencies, or GSA’s have been hammering out the details of how they will comply with this state law…an extremely complicated and contentious endeavour. … ”  Read more from KGET here: Video: Kern County In Depth: Ground water regulations

Water in Tehachapi: A precious commodity in the past and in our future:  “Historically, water is often valued more than gold, runs short of supply, and is even more needed now than in Tehachapi’s past.  Let’s take a look at the water situation in the greater Tehachapi area from the days of old to the present. … ”  Read more from the Tehachapi News here:  Water in Tehachapi: A precious commodity in the past and in our future

CENTRAL COAST

Finished Paso basin sustainability plan awaits final approval:  “Sidestepping continued grumbles from the agricultural industry, the Paso Robles Basin Cooperative Committee recommended final approval of a finished groundwater sustainability plan on Nov. 20, a move that precipitates its submission to the California Department of Water Resources.  The 20-year groundwater plan, required by state law, aims to bring the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin back into balance. … ”  Read more from New Times SLO here: Finished Paso basin sustainability plan awaits final approval

OWENS VALLEY/EASTERN SIERRA

Paiute traditions inform water management practices in once-lush Owens Valley:  “About 250 miles north of Los Angeles, there is a long valley known to the Big Pine and Bishop Northern Paiute people of the Owens Valley — the Nüümü (Paiute) and Newe (Shoshone) — as Payahüünadü, “The Land of Flowing Water.”  For at least 15,000 years, these Northern Paiute tribes have tended their homeland, more recently also known as the Owens Valley. The beloved region of green, well-tended gardens and wetlands, nestled between mountain ranges to the east and west, along California’s eastern edge, was nurtured by extensive and sophisticated irrigation ditches the Northern Paiute built and maintained to channel water from the seasonal, and wildly fluctuating snowmelt flowing down from the nearby Sierra Mountain Range. … ”  Read more from KCET here: Paiute traditions inform water management practices in once-lush Owens Valley

Lawsuit aims to save desert ag: Draft groundwater sustainability plan would end large-scale agriculture in Indian Wells Valley:  “Water managers trying to bring groundwater into balance in the severely overdrafted Indian Wells Valley basin near Ridgecrest laid out a draft plan last month that would essentially mean the end of large-scale agriculture in that desert region.  “We are giving options to (ag) pumpers so they understand they have a limited future here and can make the best decisions for their businesses,” said Kern County Supervisor Mick Gleason, who represents the area and sits on the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: Lawsuit aims to save desert ag: Draft groundwater sustainability plan would end large-scale agriculture in Indian Wells Valley

Ridgecrest: Spelling out post-GSP water fee types:  “With the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority moving at increasing speed to wrap up the development of a groundwater sustainability plan by Jan. 31, the question posed is: how will one pay for administration costs and projects the plan proposes.  Ridgecrest City Attorney Keith Lemieux, who is part of the IWVGA’s legal team, provided an overview on mechanisms that would ensure revenue streams over in the coming decades. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Ridgecrest: Spelling out post-GSP water fee types

Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Water District board discusses GSP impact:  “The Indian Wells Valley Water District board discussed its own place in the IWV Groundwater Authority and how its groundwater sustainability would impact them after its implementation.  Board member Ron Kicinski noted that with the release of the entire draft GSP to the IWVGA’s advisory committees and to the public in general, questions will be coming.  The water district is one of five voting member agencies on the IWVGA, with the others being Kern County, the City of Ridgecrest, Inyo and San Bernardino counties. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Indian Wells Valley Water District board discusses GSP impact

Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority report: positive 2020 budget requires increased pump fee:  “Budget discussions will be the top item for the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority as it tackles its 2020 finances at its board meeting on Thursday. The open session starts at 11 a.m. in the Ridgecrest City Hall council chambers, 100 W. California Ave.  According to a staff report, the budget IWVGA initially faced a negative balance of $515,718 by the end of 2020, in part due to underperforming pump fee revenues and the required projected expenses for running the groundwater authority. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority report: positive 2020 budget requires increased pump fee

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Santa Clarita: Water heads name advisers to groundwater agency:  “It wasn’t easy for water officials tasked with hammering out a plan to manage the Santa Clarita Valley’s groundwater to find seven people to serve as the agency’s advisory group, but on Monday, they approved a list of double the number they sought.  Members of the Santa Clarita Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency met Monday afternoon for special meeting, in part, to define which volunteers would serve as groundwater advisers. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Clarita Valley Signal here: Santa Clarita: Water heads name advisers to groundwater agency

SGMA news from around the state

Sonoma County drills wells to study groundwater sustainability:  “The shallow wells Sonoma County’s water agency is drilling near 11 waterways have nothing to do with delivering water to 600,000 residents of Sonoma and Marin counties.  Instead, the 21 wells will serve as measuring sticks to determine whether pumping groundwater in the county’s three basins — the Santa Rosa Plain, Petaluma Valley and Sonoma Valley — is curbing the flow in creeks inhabited by federally protected fish and other species. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Sonoma County drills wells to study groundwater sustainability

Supervisors submit letter supporting Sierra Valley groundwater grant:  “Members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors ratified a letter in support of the Sierra Valley Groundwater Management District application for grant funding Tuesday, Nov. 5.  The letter is for a Sustainable Groundwater Management (SGM) Grant, Round 3 SGM planning.  “Plumas County strongly supports the Sierra Valley Groundwater Management District application for Round 3 program funding as this funding is critical to achieving sustainable groundwater management in the Sierra Valley Groundwater Basin,” said supervisor and Board Chairperson Kevin Goss in the letter. … ” Read more from Plumas County News here: Supervisors submit letter supporting Sierra Valley groundwater grant

Fresno County: A new era in groundwater management begins:  “A new era in the sustainable management of groundwater in a portion of Fresno County for the next 20 years and beyond was initiated by the McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA) Board of Directors with the unanimous adoption of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) at their November 6 meeting. ... ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: Fresno County: A new era in groundwater management begins

Paso Robles area farmers share opinions on water management districts:Farmers Dana Merrill and Jerry Reaugh talk about the need for water management in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin basin, which suffers from overdraft. They worry that if extreme restrictions are imposed it will impact the local economy.”  Watch the video from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Paso Robles area farmers share opinions on water management districts

SLO County supervisors fire back at state ag board:  “A confrontational morning session of the Nov. 5 San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting ended in the narrow approval of a written retort to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture, which recently criticized SLO for its handling of water policy over the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.  The supervisors’ 3-2 vote delivered the four-page response letter, in which Chief Administrative Officer Wade Horton wrote that the county “adamantly disagrees” with the state ag board’s complaint that commercial agriculture was insufficiently involved in the development of a groundwater sustainability plan. ... ”  Read more from News Times SLO here: SLO County supervisors fire back at state ag board

Kern farmland values begin to stabilize as investors absorb groundwater restrictions:  “A new report shows market conditions in local agriculture are generally stabilizing — though not improving much — as investors in Kern County farmland take in the bad news about upcoming restrictions on groundwater pumping and, to a lesser degree, lower commodity prices and a continuing labor shortage.  Thursday’s update from Bakersfield’s Alliance Ag Services Inc. points to big year-over-year drops in the value of properties with minimal surface-water supplies, and more modest decreases in areas with more reliable access to irrigation. ... ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here:  Kern farmland values begin to stabilize as investors absorb groundwater restrictions

Kern County: Underground water impacting farmland property value:  “Kern County is seeing a drop in agricultural property value.  The water crisis plaguing the state is also affecting the value of farms here in Kern County.  Michael Ming, Lead Appraiser for Alliance Ag Services, said groundwater sustainability efforts have proven to be a big challenge. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Kern County: Underground water impacting farmland property value

Palmdale Water District agrees to take on monitoring costs:  “Continuing an ongoing, joint effort to monitor groundwater levels and quality in the Antelope Valley, the Palmdale Water District on Oct. 28, agreed to fund its portion of the costs for the next year.  A group of several Valley water agencies annually contract with the U.S. Geological Survey to perform the monitoring duties, using a series of established wells from various points in order to create a picture of the water levels beneath the ground and the overall water quality. … ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here: Palmdale Water District agrees to take on monitoring costs

SGMA Update: List of San Joaquin Valley GSAs and GSPs

“SGMA uses Department of Water Resources Bulletin 118 to define basins and sub basins and assign them numbers. The San Joaquin Valley Basin is number 5-22.

Within it are sub basins with their numbers following a decimal. Each sub basin one Groundwater Sustainability Agency or several, but DWR will only recognize one representative GSA per sub basin.

Each GSA must develop a Groundwater Sustainability Plan on its own or as a contribution to an overarching GSP as again, DWR will only deal with one GSP per sub basin. … ”

Continue reading at Cal Ag Today here: SGMA Update: List of SGMA GSAs and GSPs

Water officials work to assist recharge projects

“A technique that would help California manage floodwater and replenish groundwater has gained more attention, and removing barriers to the strategy known as Flood-MAR provided the focus for a conference in Sacramento.  F

lood-managed aquifer recharge involves moving floodwater from surface streams onto land where it could percolate into a groundwater basin. Though the concept sounds simple, it brings complications that include managing the floodwater, finding appropriate land to accept it and establishing rights to the water involved. … ”

Read more from Ag Alert here: Water officials work to assist recharge projects