FAQs, Fact Sheets, and Brochures

SGMA Basics

BROCHURE: Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Tri-fold brochure prepared by the Department of Water Resources.

Click here to view/download this brochure.
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BROCHURE: California’s groundwater and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Two-page brochure on SGMA prepared by the Department of Water Resources.

Click here to view/download this brochure.

​BROCHURE: California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA): Understanding the Law

The California Farm Bureau Federation developed this resource for farmers and landowners to help you understand why SGMA is important and how you can be involved.

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BROCHURE: Groundwater Hydrology

Groundwater supply and demand is a balancing act. At the core of SGMA is the need to manage supply and demand, creating groundwater conditions that are sustainable over the long term, protecting beneficial users.  Brochure produced by the California Farm Bureau Federation.

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FACT SHEET: State and Regional Water Board Basics

This fact sheet provides a summary of programs of the State and Regional Water Boards related to groundwater.

Click here to view/download fact sheet in English.
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Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs)

FACT SHEET: Resources for Groundwater Sustainability Agencies to Consider When Complying with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

This fact sheet offers summary information regarding how the state will regulate groundwater use if local management is found to be inadequate under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Click here to view/download fact sheet in English.
Haga clic aquí para ver / descargar la hoja informativa en español.

FACT SHEET: Funding opportunities for Groundwater Sustainability Agencies

This fact sheet lists some funding opportunities for groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) and other organizations involved with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Click here to view/download fact sheet in English.
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FACT SHEET: Stakeholder Inclusion

This fact sheet offers suggestions regarding stakeholder inclusion and procedural transparency by groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs).

Click here to view/download fact sheet in English.
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FAQ: SGMA 2019 Basin Prioritization

Questions answered include: What is basin prioritization?  When does basin prioritization occur? What is the significance and practical effect of a change in basin prioritization? How does basin prioritization impact a basin or subbasin with regards to SGMA compliance and implementation?

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Evaluation of GSPs/State intervention

FACT SHEET: Overview of Submittal and Evaluation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans in Critically Overdrafted Basins

SGMA requires locally led Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) to bring their basins back into balance. GSPs for basins identified as critically overdrafted are due January 31, 2020.  This fact sheet talks about the submittal and evaluation of these plans.

Click here to view/download fact sheet in English.
Haga clic aquí para ver / descargar la hoja informativa en español.

FACT SHEET: Probationary designation and groundwater regulation by the State Water Board

This fact sheet offers summary information regarding how the state will regulate groundwater use if local management is found to be inadequate under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Click here to view/download fact sheet in English.
Haga clic aquí para ver / descargar la hoja informativa en español.

FACT SHEET: Emergency Regulation for Implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

On May 16, 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board or Board) adopted an emergency regulation to implement State Water Board provisions of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

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Avoiding undesirable results

FACT SHEET: Lowering groundwater levels

Chronic lowering of groundwater levels can occur when the volume of groundwater pumped exceeds the volume of recharge, year over year. SGMA requires that Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) set forth actions to stabilize and/or improve groundwater levels. Prepared by the California Farm Bureau Federation.

FACT SHEET: Reduction of storage

Reductions in groundwater storage are reflected in falling groundwater levels and can occur when the volume of groundwater pumped exceeds the volume replenished, year over year. SGMA requires that Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) address significant and unreasonable reductions of groundwater storage.  Prepared by the California Farm Bureau Federation.

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FAQ: Water Quality

Questions answered include: Why consider water quality? How do the authorities granted to GSAs in SGMA relate to water quality?  Can a GSA set objectives in a GSP that improve water quality in the basin or address water quality issues beyond the minimum requirements of SGMA? Why should GSAs consider the needs of drinking water systems? Where can a GSA find information on water quality data and existing programs in a specific basin?

Click here to view/download FAQs in English.
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BROCHURE: Surface water depletions

Natural variability is common in streamflow and wetland areas in California. Groundwater may play an important role in surface water ecosystems such as streams, springs, seeps and wetlands. In those cases, groundwater pumping can exacerbate stream depletion and impact wetland ecosystems. In turn, surface water depletion can unreasonably impact fish and other beneficial aquatic uses. Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) must establish threshold values and set forth actions to avoid this undesirable result.  Brochure produced by the California Farm Bureau Federation.

Click here to view/download this brochure.

Measuring human-induced land subsidence from space

Satellite Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) is a revolutionary technique that allows scientists to measure and map changes on the Earth’s surface as small as a few millimeters. By bouncing radar signals off the ground surface from the same point in space but at different times, the radar satellite can measure the change in distance between the satellite and ground (range change) as the land surface uplifts or subsides. Maps of relative ground-surface change (interferograms) are constructed from the InSAR data to help scientists understand how ground-water pumping, hydrocarbon production, or other human activities cause the land surface to uplift or subside. Interferograms developed by the USGS for study areas in California, Nevada, and Texas are used in this Fact Sheet to demonstrate some of the applications of InSAR to assess human-induced land deformation.

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Projects and actions

FACT SHEET: Purposes of Use for Underground Storage Projects

In water rights, “beneficial use” refers to the useful purpose to which water is applied. Common beneficial uses include domestic, irrigation, power generation, municipal, and industrial uses. Beneficial uses can also include uses that occur in a stream or reservoir, such as fish and wildlife enhancement, or recreation. Linking water right permits and licenses to beneficial use of the water helps to define the quantity of water that will be consumptively used and avoid wasteful application of this important resource.

Click here to view/download fact sheet in English.
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FAQ: General groundwater recharge permitting

Questions answered include: What is groundwater recharge? When do I need or not need an appropriative right?  Should I apply for a temporary or standard permit? Are undesirable results identifed by SGMA purposes or use?

Click here to view/download for a FAQ on general groundwater recharge permitting.

FAQ: Streamlined permitting for groundwater recharge projects and eligility

Questions answered include:  What is the streamlined process for diverting high flow events to underground storage, and why is it needed?  How is the streamlined underground storage permitting process different from the Division of Water Rights’ regular permitting process? Do I have to comply with all of the same laws, regulations, and policies as I would under the standard water right permitting process? How does the streamlined underground storage permitting process relate to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)? What criteria are used to determine whether an application is eligible for streamlined permit processing?  Who can apply for a permit for diversion to underground storage under the streamlined process?

Click here to view/download for a FAQ on streamlined permitting and eligibility for groundwater recharge projects.

FAQ: Groundwater recharge tehcnical considerations

Click here to view/download for a FAQ on groundwater recharge technical considerations.

For domestic well owners …

BROCHURE: Domestic Well Users and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

This two page brochure from the Department of Water Resoources discusses domestic wells and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Click here to view/download brochure in English.
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PUBLICATION: A guide for domestic well owners

This guide from the State Water Board covers groundwater basics, well construction, groundwater quality, common well issues, and more.

Click here to view/download guidebook from the State Water Board.

Best management practices (BMPs)

BMP 1: Monitoring protocols, standards, and sites

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BMP 2: Monitoring networks and identification of data gaps

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BMP 3: Hydrogeologic conceptual model

BMP 3 Hydrogeologic Conceptual Model_ay_19

BMP 4:  Water budget

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BMP 5: Modeling

BMP 5 Modeling_ay_19

BMP 6: Sustainable Management Criteria

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