NOW AVAILABLE: Translated SGMA materials from DWR

DWR has new SGMA-related materials available in Spanish, Punjabi, and Hmong.

VIDEO: “Groundwater: California’s Vital Resource” now available in Spanish, Punjabi and Hmong.

VIDEO: DWR’s assistance role in groundwater management in English and Spanish.

Draft of California’s Groundwater (Bulletin 118)  Highlights document in Spanish and English

Frequently Asked Questions on California’s Groundwater – Update 2020:

California’s Groundwater – Update 2020 Fact Sheet

Q&A: Vicky Espinoza with CaliWaterAg

Vicky Espinoza is a Ph.D. Candidate advised by Dr. Joshua Viers in the Environmental Systems Graduate Group at the University of California Merced. As a Latina in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), she has been actively involved in making science and mathematics accessible to underrepresented, Spanish-speaking communities throughout her educational career.

Q: Can you share a brief introduction of your research and CaliWaterAg?

A: Many studies have projected that more than 10% of agricultural land will need to go out of production to address groundwater overdraft in the San Joaquin Valley. Taking land out of production is difficult and something that cannot be done randomly since there are impacts to people’s livelihood and the economy.  My doctoral work addresses how and where this is going to happen in a way that minimizes impacts to already vulnerable communities and farmers in the Valley.

Click here to continue reading at the NGO Groundwater Collaborative.

Click here to view the CaliWaterAg channel on YouTube.

How water justice groups view groundwater sustainability planning

Over-pumping of groundwater has caused domestic wells to go dry in the San Joaquin Valley. Yet many of the first round of plans prepared to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) do not yet propose ways to address this problem. We explored groundwater planning with three members of the environmental justice community—Angela Islas of Self-Help Enterprises, Justine Massey of the Community Water Center, and Amanda Monaco of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.

Click here to read this article.

NEW RESOURCE: Bilingual video series helps explain SGMA

Are you interested in learning more about California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)? If yes, this channel is for you!
As a doctoral candidate, Vicky Espinoza’s work involves keeping farmers and community members in the San Joaquin Valley informed and engaged with SGMA. If you are a farmer or community member of California’s San Joaquin Valley and would like to become involved in my doctoral research you can email her at
Thank you!

Click here to visit CaliWaterAg on YouTube.

¿Está interesado en aprender más sobre la Ley de Manejo Sustentable de Aguas Subterráneas (SGMA) de California? Si es así, ¡este canal es para ti!
Como candidata a doctorado, el trabajo de Vicky Espinoza implica mantener informados e involucrados a los agricultores y miembros de la comunidad en el Valle de San Joaquín con SGMA. Si usted es un agricultor o miembro de la comunidad del Valle de San Joaquín de California y le gustaría participar en mi investigación doctoral, puede enviarle un correo electrónico a

Haga clic aquí para visitar CaliWaterAg en YouTube.

Perspectives on Groundwater Sustainability: Q&A with Susan Harvey, North County Watch, Paso Robles

“Q: How did you get involved with sustainable groundwater management issues?

A: I have been a volunteer activist in the county for 20 years. As irrigated agriculture came in and started planting in the region it started to become obvious that we needed to pay attention to how much groundwater there was. In 2005, the County published a study they’d done of the groundwater aquifer and they published a second one in 2009 or 2010, and then a third one. As irrigated agriculture grew and we faced this drought, residents’ wells started to go dry. … ”

Read more from the We All Live Downstream blog here:  Perspectives on Groundwater Sustainability: Q&A with Susan Harvey, North County Watch

Disadvantaged communities claim a stake in state groundwater overhaul

“Jovita Torres Romo lives in a grayish bungalow surrounded by cactus and succulents and strung with Christmas lights. It’s located on one of the handful of streets that make up Tombstone Territory, an unincorporated Fresno County community that’s been her home for 30 years. …

A tiny community on the outskirts of the City of Sanger, Tombstone is a bellwether for groundwater issues—one of the reasons Governor Gavin Newsom chose the community as the location to sign the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Act into law earlier this year. … ”

Read more from KVPR here: Disadvantaged communities claim a stake in state groundwater overhaul

As Groundwater Law Plows Forward, Small Farmers Seek More Engagement

Dennis Hutson’s rows of alfalfa, melons, okra and black-eyed peas are an oasis of green in the dry terrain of Allensworth, an unincorporated community in rural Tulare County. Hutson, currently cultivating on 60 acres, has a vision for many more fields bustling with jobs. “This community will forever be impoverished and viewed by the county as a hamlet,” he says, “unless something happens that can create an economic base. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

While he scours his field for slender pods of ripe okra, three workers, community members he calls “helpers,” mind the irrigation station: 500-gallon water tanks and gurgling ponds at the head of each row, all fed by a 720-foot-deep groundwater well.

Read more from Valley Public Radio by clicking here.

Implementing SGMA: Results from a stakeholder survey

“The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014 represents a historic transition to collective groundwater resource management and has the potential to significantly reduce groundwater overdraft in California. A total of 260 groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) recently formed to collectively manage groundwater resources in the 127 high and medium priority groundwater basins of the state.

The simultaneous formation of hundreds of new governing agencies is an unprecedented institutional effort with very few examples to learn from. As GSAs move towards the design and deliberation of their groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs), assessments on the process up until now can directly inform development processes that are still taking place. … ” 

Read more from UC Davis here: Implementing SGMA: Results from a stakeholder survey

Challenges and opportunities for integrating small and rural drinking water stakeholders in SGMA implementation

Kristin Dobbin, Jessica Mendoza and Michael Kuo write,

“The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is an historic opportunity to achieve long-term sustainable groundwater management and protect drinking water supplies for hundreds of small and rural low-income communities, especially in the San Joaquin Valley.

Past research indicates that few of these communities are represented in the Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) formed to implement the new law. This raises questions about the extent such communities are involved in groundwater reform and potential concerns about how small and rural drinking-water interests are being incorporated into Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). … ”

Read more from the California Water Blog here: Challenges and opportunities for integrating small and rural drinking water stakeholders in SGMA implementation

CALIFORNIA WATER POLICY CONFERENCE: Tribal Groundwater Rights and SGMA: A New Underlying Tension?

Pauma Valley, North San Diego County. Photo by Michael Huey.

Panel discussion moderated by DWR Tribal Advisor Anecita Agustinez discusses tribal involvement in GSAs, the benefits of tribal participation in groundwater management, and tribal consultation

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (or SGMA), passed in 2014, set a course for sustainable management of the state’s groundwater aquifers by requiring Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) be formed for all high and medium priority basins in the state who then must develop and implement Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs).

The legislation provides that tribes “may voluntarily agree to participate in the preparation or administration of a groundwater sustainability plan” and are “eligible to participate fully in planning, financing, and management” – the first time this has been recognized in state law.  However, participation by tribes is voluntary; tribes are considered sovereign entities and their participation cannot be compelled.

Nonetheless, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act requires engagement with all stakeholders. Tribal interests are an important stakeholder in many basins, but most of the basins underlying tribal lands are exempt from SGMA as a consequence of relatively low intensity use of the groundwater. However, in those basins that are subject to SGMA that have tribal lands, the recent Aqua Caliente court decisions have put tribal interests front and center. What are the challenges for the tribes and non-tribe stakeholders in coming together to implement SGMA? Are tribal interests different than those of other stakeholders? How are financial inequities, if they exist, addressed?

At the 28th California Water Policy conference held in April of 2019, a panel discussed how tribal lands and tribal representatives, as independent nations, can be integrated into SGMA implementation, what some of the obstacles to doing so are, and how those hurdles might be transcended.

Seated on the panel:

The panel was moderated by Anecita Agustinez, Tribal Policy Advisor for the California Department of Water Resources.

Click here to read this article at Maven’s Notebook.