SGMA in the News

A roundup of articles on SGMA from news outlets around the state

STATEWIDE NEWS AND COMMENTARY

Local agencies file management plans for aquifers:  “The deadline passed at the end of January for local agencies representing 19 of the state’s most stressed groundwater basins to submit plans for how the basins will reach sustainability during the next 20 years. It’s a milestone in implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  Speaking during the annual California Irrigation Institute conference in Sacramento last week, Tim Godwin of the California Department of Water Resources said the department is now reviewing the submitted plans. DWR will ultimately grade the plans as adequate; incomplete, which gives agencies 180 days to submit clarifying information; or inadequate, which requires DWR to consult with the State Water Resources Control Board on next steps. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Local agencies file management plans for aquifers

500,000 acres of San Joaquin cropland [could] go fallow as groundwater management goes into effect over 20 years:  “Last month, many regions passed a major milestone in implementation of state legislation that has the potential to transform the way crops are farmed in the state.  At the end of January, big regions of the San Joaquin Valley had to turn in their plans for how residents and growers would comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  Although the deadline for Sacramento area basins isn’t until two years from now, there are things local growers should start doing now to prepare, said David Orth, principal at New Current Water and Land LLC. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Business Journal here:  500,000 acres of San Joaquin cropland to go fallow as groundwater management goes into effect over 20 years

Water management in California is crossing a major milestone, and we still have more work to do, say Eric Averett, general manager of the Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District, and Christina Babbitt, senior manager of the California Groundwater Program at the Environmental Defense FundJan. 31 marked a major milestone for building groundwater sustainability and climate resilience into California’s complex and increasingly stressed water systems.  It was the first major planning deadline for implementing the state’s historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. State leaders passed the law in 2014 to ensure California manages its groundwater sustainably for people, agriculture and wildlife for generations to come. On Jan. 31, the 21 regions with the most depleted groundwater supplies were required to submit plans to balance their groundwater supply and demand within 20 years. When successfully implemented, these plans will prevent a repeat of many of the impacts we experienced during the last drought: wells drying up and land sinking, resulting in rural residents running out of water and millions of dollars of infrastructure damage. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here:  Water management in California is crossing a major milestone, and we still have more work to do

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

City of Willits invites public input on Groundwater Management Plan:  “The public is invited to provide input on the Little Lake Valley Groundwater Basin Management Plan during a workshop held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 at Willits City Hall. The goal of the plan is to collect information and compile a comprehensive summary regarding the groundwater in the Little Lake Valley in order to manage the City’s resources for generations to come.  According to the City of Willits website, “The preparation of a Groundwater Management Plan is required as part of the conditions of the half million-dollar Proposition 1 grant funding that the City will receive from California Department of Water Resources to construct the next phase of the groundwater project.” … ”  Read more from the Willits News here: City of Willits invites public input on Groundwater Management Plan

Yuba Water Agency adopts groundwater plan:  “The Yuba Water Agency, along with other local groundwater sustainability agencies like Cordua Irrigation District and the city of Marysville, recently developed an official groundwater sustainability plan that outlines how to best utilize the county’s groundwater subbasins in a sustainable manner.  As part of the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, groundwater sustainability agencies across the state are required to prepare and submit plans that include measurable objectives and milestones to achieve sustainability. … ”  Read more from The Union here:  Yuba Water Agency adopts groundwater plan

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

Have thoughts about groundwater cuts in Merced County? The state wants to hear from you: “Do you have something to say about the state-mandated sustainability plan that will limit individual and agricultural groundwater consumption in Merced County?  Now is the time to say it.  The Jan. 31 deadline for local agencies to submit their 20-year sustainable groundwater management plan has passed, kicking off a 75-day public comment period before the Department of Water Resources reviews it. ... ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here: Have thoughts about groundwater cuts in Merced County? The state wants to hear from you

The McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency sued the James Irrigation District and James Groundwater Sustainability Agency in Fresno Superior Court, in a fight over groundwater management.  via Courthouse News Service.

Irrigation water prices under SGMA causing sticker shock:  “Reaction was hushed when Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District General Manager Eric Averett asked the small group of farmers Tuesday morning if any were interested in buying irrigation water at the previously unheard of price of $770 an acre foot.  No papers rustled. Keyboards went silent. And none of the growers raised a hand. ... ”  Read more from SJV Water here:  Irrigation water prices under SGMA causing sticker shock

Kings County groundwater plan raising questions:  “It’s hard to imagine state officials giving the thumbs up to a groundwater sustainability plan that potentially allows Corcoran – California’s subsidence epicenter – to sink another 6 feet.  Especially considering the tiny, rural town was forced to spend $14 million in 2017 to rebuild its levees following the 2012-16 drought when it suffered subsidence of up to 1.5 feet a year. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here:  Kings County groundwater plan raising questions

PASO ROBLES

Paso Robles: Groundwater sustainability plan, first annual report available for review:  “The Paso Robles Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) has been posted to the Department of Water Resources Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Portal.  The public comment period for the GSP is open until April 15, 2020. Access the posted GSP and submit public comments here: https://sgma.water.ca.gov/portal/gsp/preview/35 … ”  Read more from Paso Robles Daily News here: Groundwater sustainability plan, first annual report available for review

VENTURA RIVER

Ventura vs Ojai water war:  “There is a legal battle between Ventura and the Ojai Valley. Thousands of people have been served with legal papers in a fight over water from the Ventura River.  While the Ventura River may be beautiful, a legal case over its water is turning ugly. Thousands of people like Jessica Colborn, born and raised in Upper Ojai, are being served legal papers. This is because of their wells that use water from the river.  “My parents got served on their property as well as their adjacent property that I am putting my home on,” said Colborn. “So they got served with two different actions because they have two wells on those properties.” ... ”  Read more from KEYT here:  Ventura vs Ojai water war

Thousands served, noticed in Ventura’s water lawsuit may get reprieveMore than 14,000 property owners recently noticed or served in the city of Ventura’s litigation over use of the Ventura River may get a bit of a reprieve.  The Ventura City Council announced Monday that it may request a six-month extension from the court for the thousands who were sent legal notices or served with a court summons in the case.  Without the delay, property owners have 60 days to file with the court to become a participant in the lawsuit, which would require them to pay $435 in court fees and, in some cases, hire an attorney. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Thousands served, noticed in Ventura’s water lawsuit may get reprieve

Clarifying Channelkeeper’s role in Ventura River watershed adjudication Ben Pitterle, science and policy director of Santa Barbara Channelkeeper writes, “I’m writing to the VC Reporter to offer clarification for property owners in the Ventura River watershed about Santa Barbara Channelkeeper’s role in the groundwater adjudication initiated by the city of Ventura.  Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that works to protect and restore the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds (including the Ventura River) through science-based advocacy, education, field work and enforcement. We are aware that residents throughout the Ventura River watershed recently received notice from the city of Ventura that the city has commenced an adjudication of water rights. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Reporter here: Clarifying Channelkeeper’s role in Ventura River watershed adjudication

Ventura County joins Carpinteria Groundwater Sustainability Agency:  “In a unanimous vote on Feb. 4, the Board of Supervisors of the County of Ventura provided the final decision needed to form a new agency in the form of a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) called the Carpinteria Groundwater Sustainability Agency made up of four local agencies: the Carpinteria Valley Water District, the city of Carpinteria, the Santa Barbara County Water Agency and the county of Ventura.  … ”  Read more from Coastal View here:  Ventura County joins Carpinteria Groundwater Sustainability Agency

BORREGO SPRINGS

Petition for comprehensive adjudication for the Borrego Springs groundwater basin:  The Borrego Water District sued Agri-Empire and 59 other entities in San Diego Superior Court, in a fight over the limited amount of groundwater in the Borrego Valley, northeast of San Diego.