SGMA in the news

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Supervisors agree to form groundwater agency for Eel River Basin:  “The last item on the agenda, following a lengthy closed session, was a public hearing to consider forming a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) for the Eel River basin.  Hank Seemann, the county’s deputy director of environmental services, explained that local officials don’t really want to form such an agency because they don’t believe one is really necessary. County staff had submitted a Groundwater Sustainability Plan Alternative, in lieu of a full plan, to the California Department of Water Resources, arguing that the precious groundwater in that basin is not at risk of drying up under the current uses and conditions. … ”  Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost here: Supervisors agree to form groundwater agency for Eel River Basin

SAN JOAQUIN BASIN

How reliable are Groundwater Sustainability Plans? Earlier this year, the first local Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) were submitted to California’s Department of Water Resources for basins with the most severe groundwater overdraft.  To comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, these plans must address any “significant and unreasonable” impacts of groundwater overdraft that occurred after January 1, 2015, including lowering groundwater levels and other “undesirable results.” The math for ending overdraft is simple: groundwater basins must balance their budgets, by increasing groundwater recharge and reducing pumping.  In principle, evaluating the adequacy of these plans to achieve sustainability should also be simple: Does the anticipated reduction in pumping plus increase in recharge equal or exceed the basin’s long-term rate of overdraft? ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: How reliable are Groundwater Sustainability Plans?

Farmers hijack community water access despite groundwater act, activists say:  “When a fire started on the property next door to Ray Cano’s home, the neighbors used Cano’s hose and well to fight the flames. Running the pump at full throttle, they managed to control the blaze until the fire department arrived. Then, the well’s pump sputtered to a stop.  Cano later called a well inspector, who did some basic probing and discovered the problem: The well had run dry, causing the pump’s motor to overheat. Cano had the man install a new pump and run the line about 40 feet deeper.  “He said that would last me another three or four years,” said Cano, a mailman who lives with his wife in Tombstone Territory, a cluster of homes in central Fresno County surrounded by orchards.  That was in May 2015 ... ”  Read more from KCET here:  Farmers hijack community water access despite groundwater act, activists say

Tulare County: Deadline extended for second round of GSP comments:  “As Groundwater Sustainability Agencies continue implementing their plans, the state has extended the deadline for the second round of public comments, citing disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Eric Osterling, the general manager of the Greater Kaweah GSA, said that despite the pandemic, GSAs are continuing to work and implement their Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP).  We can’t stop. It seems like so much has stopped, but we don’t have the luxury to stop,” Osterling said. “We have deadlines that we still have to meet and we have to show what work we’ve put in during our annual report.” … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Deadline extended for second round of GSP comments

VENTURA COUNTY

The Fox Canyon water market: a market-based tool for groundwater conservation goes live:  “Ventura County, California, is an agricultural powerhouse. In 2017, its revenues from agriculture were an estimated $2.1 billion. It also faces extraordinary population pressure, with nearly 450 people per square mile – about five times the average population density of the United States. Both agriculture and infrastructure are dependent on, and impacted by, the availability of water – which has itself been impacted by California’s rapidly-diminishing groundwater reserves. … Following passage of SGMA, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) applied for and received a $1.8 million Conservation Innovation Grant from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop the Fox Canyon Water Market. ... ” Read more from the Department of Agriculture here: The Fox Canyon water market: a market-based tool for groundwater conservation goes live

ESSAY ON RESOURCE GOVERNANCE

Resource governance in the American West: Institutions, information, and incentives: “The American West is a peculiar place. Depending on the location, the West can be drier, wetter, hotter, colder, or more rugged than the eastern United States. Much of the West receives only five to fifteen inches of precipitation each year, compared to thirty to fifty inches in eastern states. Regional variation is also much greater in the West. … Drawing from the insights of Ostrom and others, this chapter explores the emergence of various institutions governing the management of natural resources in the American West, both past and present, and discusses modern challenges associated with natural resource governance. It concludes by exploring policy reforms that would enable more cooperative, bottom-up solutions to today’s resource management challenges in the American West. … ”  Read more from PERC here:  Resource governance in the American West: Institutions, information, and incentives

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