From the Department of Water Resources:
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) [last Friday] announced final basin prioritization for the majority of groundwater basins in the state as required under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
Today’s announcement finalizes the prioritization for 458 basins, identifying 56 basins that are required to create groundwater sustainability plans under SGMA. For most basins, the results are a confirmation of prioritizations established in 2015. Fifty-nine basins remain under review with final prioritization expected in late spring.
“Prioritizing groundwater basins is a critical step along the path of ensuring sustainable groundwater supplies for future generations of Californians,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Groundwater management is a big, complicated endeavor for California, which is why DWR is investing heavily to provide local planning entities with technical assistance to be successful.”
SGMA requires local agencies throughout the state to sustainably manage groundwater basins. Basins identified as high- or medium-priority are required to adopt groundwater sustainability plans beginning in 2020. DWR is required to reassess groundwater basin prioritizations any time it updates basin boundaries. This prioritization for 458 basins incorporates the basin boundary modifications finalized in 2016. Prioritization is based on factors such as population, irrigated acreage, and the number of wells in the basin. Changes in prioritization generally reflect changed conditions or new information about existing conditions.
Today’s prioritization reflects updates based on new requirements under SGMA, including adverse impacts to habitat and streamflow, adjudicated areas, critically over drafted basins and groundwater related transfers.
Twenty-one basins were changed to ‘very low’ because they are covered by adjudicated areas with existing governance and oversight in place. Adjudicated areas are not required to prepare groundwater sustainability plans and are instead required to submit annual reports to DWR on their groundwater management and monitoring.
Draft prioritizations were announced in May 2018. These finalizations come after a 94-day public comment period and four public meetings that resulted in 500 individual comments and related datasets leading to some revisions in basin prioritization.
DWR updates the Commissioners on the evaluation of alternative plans, basin boundary modifications, and basin prioritization
At the November meeting of the California Water Commission, staff from the Sustainable Groundwater Management Program at the Department of Water Resources updated the Commissioners on the various activities of the Department to implement Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
Taryn Ravazzini, the Deputy Director for Special Initiatives and the Executive Sponsor of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Program at the Department of Water Resources, began the presentation by noting that on January 1st of 2018, the Department established the Sustainable Groundwater Management Office, which resides within the Executive Division under Ms. Ravazzini’s management. “This represents the Department’s commitment to SGMA implementation as a priority and does allow for nimble management and direct connection to DWR Executives, both of which are necessary to meet the demands of the aggressive schedule outlined in the Act,” she said.
To continue reading at Maven’s Notebook, click here: CA WATER COMMISSION: Update on implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
From Ag Alert:
“As local agencies tackle the task of writing groundwater sustainability plans for basins around California, two ongoing processes will affect both the number and the scope of those plans.
Next month, the state Department of Water Resources plans to finalize its rankings of basins and sub-basins that will need to produce groundwater management plans by early 2022. Next spring, DWR plans to finalize boundaries for 43 basins where local agencies requested changes before writing their plans.
Meanwhile, agencies overseeing critically overdrafted basins must have their sustainability plans finished in about 15 months—by Jan. 31, 2020. … “
Read more from Ag Alert here: Groundwater: Local agencies await finalized basin priorities
From Water Deeply:
“California’s premier wine-growing region has been identified for more regulation under the state’s new groundwater law, likely resulting in new fees and limits on water extraction for the industry.
The state Department of Water Resources declared in May that 14 groundwater basins across the state face threats to groundwater, and thus should be reprioritized under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Four of these are in Napa and Sonoma county wine-growing valleys.
The aquifers in question are the Sonoma Lowlands subbasin in Napa and Solano counties, the Alexander Valley basin and Healdsburg area subbasin in Sonoma County and the Wilson Grove Highlands basin in Sonoma and Marin Counties. Each is a vital source of irrigation water for grape growing. … “
Read more from Water Deeply here: New Groundwater Woes, and Regulations, in California Wine Country