DWR reverses Solano lowlands groundwater priority for now

“It appears Solano County and Vallejo have avoided a potentially costly state shift in the groundwater sustainability priority for the Napa-Sonoma Lowlands.  While the final decision by the Department of Water Resources has not been made, the state agency has for now backed off its proposal to increase the priority status from very low to medium for the lowlands.

“That would have required us, Napa County, possibly (the Solano County Water Agency), American Canyon and the city of Vallejo to form (Groundwater Sustainability Areas),” Misty Kaltreider, hydro-geological analyst for the Solano County Department of Resource Management, said in a phone interview. … ”

Read more from the Daily Republic here:  DWR reverses Solano lowlands groundwater priority for now

DWR SGMA Newsletter: Draft basin prioritization for modified basins, Survey for next GSA Forum, Stakeholder engagement resources, and more …

DWR Announces Draft Basin Prioritization for Modified Basins

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced the draft results of Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) 2019 Basin Prioritization Phase 2 for the 57 modified basins affected by the 2018 Basin Boundary Modifications. Today’s announcement begins a 30-day public comment period to allow input from the public and local agencies. DWR will also hold a public meeting to explain the results and accept public comment.

Updated Frequently Asked Questions on Basin Prioritization

Answers to frequently asked questions are provided in the Frequently Asked Questions on Basin Prioritization document.

Public Comment

A public comment period on SGMA 2019 Basin Prioritization Phase 2 Draft results for modified basins is open now through May 30, 2019. All public comments received through the process will be reviewed and evaluated.

Submit public comments.

Public Meeting

Public comments can also be provided at the following public meeting:  Draft SGMA Basin Prioritization for Modified Basins Public Meeting

Monday, May 13, 2019, at 1 p.m.
Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board
11020 Sun Center Drive, Suite 200
Rancho Cordova, CA


Live webcast: On meeting day, click the link and scroll to “DWR Draft Basin Prioritization for Modified Basins Meeting.” You can view live video or listen to live audio.

RSVP: The meeting is free, but please let us know if you will be attending in person so we can have enough materials.

For questions, email sgmps@water.ca.gov.

NEW Take a Survey to Help Plan the Next GSA Forum

DWR hosted a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) Forum on March 21, 2019, which brought together water planners and stakeholders from across the state to share experiences and strategies as they implement the SGMA. Based on the level of interest and comments received from attendees, the forum was a beneficial venue for building networks and sharing strategies associated with SGMA implementation. DWR plans to host additional GSA Forums to further communication among SGMA water managers and stakeholders. Please complete the survey so we can use your input to help plan and improve the next GSA Forum:

Take the GSA Forum Survey.

NEW DWR Releases IRWM Implementation Grants Proposal Solicitation Package

DWR released the final Guidelines and Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) for the Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Implementation Grant Program, which provides funding for projects that help meet the long-term water needs of the state and incorporate integrated regional strategies. Approximately $222.3 million in Proposition 1 grant funding is available for IRWM implementation projects, with $23.6 million designated for projects that provide support to Disadvantaged Communities. GSAs and SGMA stakeholders interested in IRWM Implementation funding should coordinate with their respective IRWM Region. For more information, visit the IRWM Implementation Grant Program page.

NEW State Water Resources Control Board Fact Sheets Available

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announced the release of new and updated fact sheets on SGMA which include Probationary Designation and Groundwater Regulation by the State Water Board, Stakeholder Inclusion, State and Regional Water Boards basics, Funding Opportunities for Groundwater Sustainability Agencies, and Beneficial Use and Underground Water Storage Projects. These fact sheets can be found on the SWRCB’s SGMA webpage.

REMINDER DWR’s Guidance Documents Can Help with SGMA Communication and Engagement

SGMA requires GSAs to consider all beneficial uses and users when preparing groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs). DWR has documents that provide clarification, guidance, and examples to help GSAs develop the essential communication and engagement elements of a GSP. These useful publications can be found on the Assistance and Engagement Webpage.

Guidance documents include: Stakeholder Communication and Engagement, Engagement with Tribal Governments, Stakeholder Engagement Requirements by Phase, and Communication and Engagement Plan Outline.

REMINDER Submit Your GSP Initial Notification

Before initiating development of a GSP, GSAs are required to notify DWR in writing. GSAs must submit all applicable GSP initial notification information to DWR using the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System. The SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System also allows edits to be made to a previously submitted Initial Notification, including the ability to withdraw a submittal.

For more information, please see Frequently Asked Questions on GSP Initial Notification Requirements or contact the Regional Coordinators in DWR’s four Regional Offices.

For assistance with the system, please email monica.reis@water.ca.gov.

Connect with Your Basin Point of Contact

DWR has designated Basin Points of Contact to assist local agencies and GSAs as GSPs are developed and implemented and to assist with applications for Technical Support Services and Facilitation Support Services.

DWR Finalizes Basin Prioritizations under SGMA

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.

CA WATER COMMISSION: Update on implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

https://mavensnotebook.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/CAC-SGMA-Update-PPT_Page_01.jpgDWR 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

Groundwater: Local agencies await finalized basin priorities

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

New Groundwater Woes, and Regulations, in California Wine Country

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