Introduction to SGMA

California depends on groundwater for a major portion of its annual water supply, making sustainable groundwater management essential to a reliable and resilient water system. In recognition of this, in September 2014, Governor Brown signed a three-bill package of legislation into law collectively known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Sustainable groundwater management under SGMA singles out six “undesirable results" to be avoided:

  • Chronic lowering of groundwater levels indicating a significant and unreasonable depletion of supply
  • Significant and unreasonable reduction of groundwater storage
  • Significant and unreasonable seawater intrusion
  • Significant and unreasonable degradation of water quality
  • Significant and unreasonable land subsidence
  • Groundwater-related surface water depletions that have significant and unreasonable adverse impacts on beneficial uses of surface water

At the center of the legislation is the decision that groundwater management is best accomplished at the local level. Under SGMA, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies are tasked with developing and implementing locally-developed Groundwater Sustainability Plans for all groundwater basins designated as medium or high priority by the Department of Water Resources.  The legislation allows 20 years to achieve sustainability.

Why Are The Rules Changing?

​What are the key provisions of SGMA?

​What are the roles of the agencies?

​Which groundwater basins are subject to SGMA?

​What are the key deadlines for SGMA?

​Who is responsible for implementing sGMA?

​How does sGMA define sustainability?

​How will a basin achieve sustainability?

How is SGMA enforced?

​What about my domestic well?

​How Can I participate in management of my groundwater basin?

​Where can I get more information?