SGMA in the News

SGMA in the News

July 9, 2020

Farmland values hinge on future water availability:  “Availability of water and the impact of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act continue to be a main focus when California agricultural appraisers determine land values, particularly in water-short regions.  During a business conference held virtually last week, the California Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers also touched on other issues affecting land values, including supply-and-demand dynamics for various crops and market conditions, especially under COVID-19. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Farmland values hinge on future water availability

Dairy’s shrinking water footprint: a key piece of the SGMA puzzle:  “The implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and other anticipated water restrictions pose major challenges for California agriculture. Without effective solutions, economists have estimated that up to one million acres of farmland will be fallowed, resulting in a revenue loss of $7.2 billion per year. As the state’s top agricultural commodity, dairy farming is an important part of the SGMA challenge. Fortunately, dairy farmers have an excellent track record for water savings and are continuing to adopt innovative strategies to advance environmental sustainability and help meet the water conservation challenges ahead. … ”  Read more from Water Wrights here: Dairy’s shrinking water footprint: a key piece of the SGMA puzzle

Sacramento region plans to store water underground as a climate change adaptation strategy:  “The Sacramento region is preparing for the long term impacts of the climate crisis when it comes to water supply. Central to the plan is a groundwater storage program with two to three times the space of Folsom Lake.  As the climate warms it’ll likely become harder to fill up reservoirs, because the snowpack could be small for multiple years. Think of the nearly empty reservoirs across California during the most recent drought.  “We’re expecting in the future to have more severe droughts and potential for Folsom Reservoir to not fill up with the frequency that it does,” said James Peifer, executive director of the Regional Water Authority.  ... ” Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Sacramento region plans to store water underground as a climate change adaptation strategy

Proposed changes to Paso Robles Groundwater Basin boundaries draw anger and skepticism from landowners:  “After seven years of water restrictions over the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, San Luis Obispo County is redrawing the basin’s boundaries, which will subject hundreds of new property owners to a moratorium on irrigating and other rules.   The revised map is part of a package of changes to the county ordinance that regulates the 684-square-mile aquifer in North County. Passed in 2013 amid an ongoing drought, the ordinance was recently extended to 2022 to buy time for the Paso Groundwater Sustainability Plan—which is currently being reviewed by the state—to get implemented. … ”  Read more from New Times SLO here:  Proposed changes to Paso Robles Groundwater Basin boundaries draw anger and skepticism from landowners

Fillmore: Groundwater recharge capturing project completed:  “According to the state, this year is the 11th driest snowpack on record since 1950 and with the State Water Project announcing it will deliver only 20% of requested water supplies in 2020, projects like the Piru Stormwater Capture for Groundwater Recharge Project are critical to Ventura County’s important water supplies. This project will provide a sustainable source for recharge of the Piru Groundwater Basin and improve water quality in Piru Creek. … ”  Read more from the Fillmore Gazette here: Groundwater recharge capturing project completed

Category: News Article

GROUNDWATER 101: The basics

June 24, 2020
Dr. Thomas Harter provides a basic understanding of groundwater – what it is, how much groundwater is out there, how fast groundwater moves, and where it comes from and where it goes

Groundwater is an important part of California’s – and the nation’s water supply.   Nationwide, groundwater makes up on average 26% of the water supply.  In California, that number is significantly higher – groundwater provides nearly 40% of the water used by California’s farms and cities, and significantly more in dry years.  But what is groundwater?  In this post based on the first segment of the UC Davis shortcourse on groundwater, Dr. Thomas Harter, who is the Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair for Water Resources Management and Policy at the University of California, Davis as well as Professor and Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources (among many other things), provides a basic understanding of groundwater – what it is, how much groundwater is out there, how fast groundwater moves, and where it comes from and where it goes.

Click here to read this article.


Groundwater management and safe drinking water in the San Joaquin Valley

June 24, 2020

To support the state’s implementation of SGMA and its continued progress on the human right to water, the Water Foundation commissioned an analysis of 26 GSPs in the San Joaquin Valley to understand how private domestic drinking water wells in the region will be affected on the path to sustainability. Among its key findings, the analysis estimates that the goals in these San Joaquin Valley GSPs, if not proactively addressed, will result in:

  • Between roughly 4,000 and 12,000 partially or completely dry drinking water wells by 2040
  • Between roughly 46,000 and 127,000 people who lose some or all of their primary water supply by 2040
  • Between $88 million to $359 million in costs to restore access to drinking water

State regulatory agencies must now work with these GSAs over the next two years to implement SGMA in a manner that avoids these impacts or finds suitable replacement for lost water supplies to ensure the right to water for all California residents.

Click here to read more and download report.

Category: New reports
Keywords: Domestic wells

How to Address Groundwater Planning Gaps

June 24, 2020

Ellen Hanak and Jelena Jezdimirovic write:

In these extraordinary times, managing groundwater for long-term sustainability may not seem like a top priority. But in the San Joaquin Valley—where groundwater supplies have been declining for decades—excess pumping is a critical problem, with major implications for public health, jobs, the environment, and local economies.

The state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires groundwater planning and actions to sustain this vital resource. Agencies from California’s 21 “critically overdrafted” basins—including 11 large basins that span most of the San Joaquin Valley floor—submitted their first groundwater plans in January.

As part of our long-term work to build shared understanding of water challenges and solutions in the valley, the Public Policy Institute of California reviewed the 36 plans developed for these basins to see how well they tackle some key issues.

Click here to continue reading at the PPIC.

Category: PPIC Blog

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Reclamation launches WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant funding opportunity and extends drought resiliency project deadline; Webinar tomorrow

June 24, 2020

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

The Bureau of Reclamation is launching the 2021 WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant funding opportunity that support water management organizations developing projects that result in quantifiable and sustained water savings, increase the production of hydropower and support broader water reliability benefits. Applications for these grants are due on Sept. 17, 2020, at 4 p.m. MDT. Reclamation is also extending the deadline for the 2021 Drought Resiliency Projects funding opportunity while raising the maximum federal award for each of the two groups of projects.

These Reclamation grant programs support the Department of the Interior’s commitment to meeting the President’s Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West.

For the Water and Energy Efficiency Grants, funding is available in two groups. This program provides up to $500,000 per agreement for projects that can be completed in two years and up to $2 million per agreement for projects that can be completed in three years. Recipients must match the funding with a minimum 50% cost-share. Learn more about this available grant at www.grants.gov by searching for grant number BOR-DO-21-F001. Learn more about the Water and Energy Efficiency Grants at www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART/weeg.

The Drought Resiliency Projects funding opportunity announced on May 4, 2020, is being extended until August 5, 2020, at 4 p.m. MDT. The funding available for each project has been increased up to $500,000 for projects that can be completed in two years and up to $1.5 million for projects that can be completed in three years. The funding opportunity is available at www.grants.gov by searching funding opportunity number BOR-DO-20-F002. Learn more about the Drought Program at www.usbr.gov/drought.

Eligible applicants for funding include states, tribes, irrigation districts, water districts or other organizations with water and power delivery authority located in the western United States or territories. Alaska and Hawaii are also eligible to apply.

Through WaterSMART, Reclamation works cooperatively with states, tribes and local entities as they plan for and implement actions to increase water supply reliability through investments to modernize existing infrastructure and attention to local water conflicts. Visit www.usbr.gov/watersmart to learn more.

WEBINAR TOMORROW, THURSDAY JUNE 25TH AT 9AM

On Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 10:00 A.M. MDT/9:00 A.M. PST, Reclamation will be hosting a webinar for the Water Energy and Efficiency Grant and the Drought Resiliency Program funding opportunities. You may learn more about these funding opportunities at www.usbr.gov/watersmart.

The following is the link for the live event: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_MDhmMDM4OTYtNTA4Zi00MjRlLWFhZjctMTI2MjhhN2IzNmM1%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%220693b5ba-4b18-4d7b-9341-f32f400a5494%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22eb0a53f4-b368-4bfc-9604-84352ea366e1%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d


FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: New Department of Conservation SGMA Watershed Coordinator Grant Program

June 24, 2020

A new 2020 Sustainable Groundwater Management Watershed Coordinator (SGMA) Grant Program is being launched at the Department of Conservation.  Grants are being offered for watershed coordinators in parts of the state impacted by implementation of SGMA.

Information about the program can be found at https://www.conservation.ca.gov/dlrp/grant-programs/watershed.

A public review draft solicitation and application has been posted at https://www.conservation.ca.gov/dlrp/grant-programs/watershed/Document/2020%20WCP%20SGMA%20Solicition%20Public%20Review%20Draft%20Posting1.pdf.

Please contact Department of Conservation watershed program staff with questions or comments via email at wcp@conservation.ca.gov​ ​​or phone at (916) 324-0850.


WATER MARKET INSIDER: California Water Prices on the Rise

June 24, 2020
The Water Market Insider is published by WestWater Research, an economic consulting firm providing valuation, market analysis, planning, and transaction advisory services to the water resources sector.

The current issue of The Water Market Insider explores how the spot-market price of water observed across California responds to certain hydrologic, institutional, and management indicators. Prices are found to respond to water scarcity, which is driven by natural factors, policy decisions, and water management. Price transparency in California’s water market has increased significantly with the launch of the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index (NQH2O), a first of its kind index that provides a benchmark for the spot-market price of water rights transacted across the state.

Click here to read this issue of The Water Market Insider.

Category: New reports

SGMA in the news

June 24, 2020

Groundwater plans could cause up to 12,000 drinking water wells to run dry:  “If all goes according to plan — actually 26 groundwater sustainability plans — between 46,000 and nearly 130,000 Central Valley residents could be out of water by 2040, according to a new report released by the Water Foundation.  Those sustainability plans are supposed to bring the valley’s depleted aquifers into balance, per the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  But, the Water Foundation report asserts, groundwater sustainability agencies, governed mostly by members of agricultural water districts, are planning for water tables to decline to the point they could dry up between 4,000 and 12,000 domestic wells over the next 20 years. ... ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Groundwater plans could cause up to 12,000 drinking water wells to run dry

New USGS geonarrative pinpoints domestic well locations in United States:  “A new U.S. Geological Survey geonarrative illustrates where domestic (private) water wells are located and how many people are using them, based on the results of a 2019 USGS study. Nearly 40 million people in the United States rely on a domestic well for their drinking-water supply.  The geonarrative displays interactive maps that allow the user to view the number of people who rely on domestic wells per square kilometer, and the number and percentage of people by state using domestic wells. Users can zoom in on any area, although the maps are not intended to be used at the scale of a single house. … ”  Read more from the USGS here: New USGS geonarrative pinpoints domestic well locations in United States

Groundwater accountability sparks clash of Central Valley ag titans:  “Two giant Central Valley farming companies are slinging serious mud at one another over groundwater.  And, in a rare break with tradition, they’re doing it in public.  The fight has spilled out in public comments on the Tulare Lake Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan, which covers most of Kings County.  The titans behind the comments are J.G. Boswell Company and Sandridge Partners, owned by John Vidovich. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Groundwater accountability sparks clash of Central Valley ag titans

Napa County taps citizens to plan groundwater sustainability plan:  “Napa County’s annual groundwater “snapshot” for 2019 depicts a subbasin under the floor of world-famous wine country that isn’t being sucked dry by wells.  Water users pumped 18,005 acre-feet of water from the Napa Valley subbasin last year. That is within the annual sustainable yield of 17,000 to 20,000 acre-feet, according to the Luhdorff & Scalmanini consulting firm. ... ”  Read more from the Napa Register here: Napa County taps citizens to plan groundwater sustainability plan

Category: News Article

Could the Answer to Groundwater Resources Come From High in the Sky?

June 11, 2020

From the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories:

Groundwater makes up 30 to 50 percent of California’s water supply, but until recently there were few restrictions placed on its retrieval. Then in 2014 California became the last Western state to require regulation of its groundwater. With deadlines starting this year, for the first time water managers in the nation’s premier agricultural region – the state’s Central Valley – are tasked with estimating available groundwater. It’s a daunting technological challenge.

Now a new computational approach developed by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) offers a high-tech yet simple method: it pairs high-resolution images derived by satellite with advanced computer modeling to estimate aquifer volume change from observed ground deformation. The method could help streamline groundwater tracking across a region, once multiple local management agencies begin submitting water management plans to comply with the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (or SGMA, pronounced “sigma).

Click here to continue reading.
Keywords: monitoring