SGMA in the News

Mapping Ground Subsidence

January 28, 2021

Subsidence of land surfaces has increasingly become a greater concern around the world as groundwater has continued to be depleted due to increase water demand while surface water depletion means that populations increasingly look to use subsurface water.

The lowering of Earth’s land surfaces promises to be a major problem for urban and rural regions and mapping these threats accurately may prove important to plan, prevent, and minimize this threat.

Using a literature review and spatial analysis, it is evident that some 34 countries are at major risk in the coming decades for major subsidence of their land surface. In particular, a recent mapping effort that looks at every 30 arc seconds resolution across the globe identified that very flat areas with unconsolidated sediments accumulated in alluvial basins or coastal plains are the most vulnerable.

Click here to continue reading at the GIS Lounge.

Category: News Article
Keywords: Land Subsidence

Upcoming groundwater events

January 28, 2021

FREE WEBINAR: Building Resilience for Cities and Farms with Water Partnerships

February 2, 11am – 12pm

California’s urban and agricultural regions face different but equally daunting water challenges. Partnerships can help build a more secure water future for cities and farms, bring environmental benefits, and improve resilience across California’s water system.

Join the PPIC Water Policy Center and state and local experts for a panel discussion on how to build partnerships to develop and manage water supplies for broad benefit.

Click here to register.

FREE WEBINAR: Collaboration Across IRWM and SGMA: Coordinating Project Development

February 8, 12pm – 1:30pm

Listen to real stories of how Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSA) work with Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) regions to develop and select multi-benefits projects. This is the second of a series of webinars exploring a range of topics relevant to IRWM and SGMA.


Jeannie Habben, Deputy Director of Water and Natural Resources, Madera County
Matt Zidar, Water Resources Manager, San Joaquin County Dept of Public Works
Arne Anselm, Deputy Director, Ventura County Water Resources (Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency (GMA)

Lynn Rodriguez, IRWM Program Manager, Watersheds Coalition of Ventura County

Click here to register.

CONFERENCE: AGWA – AGWT Annual California Groundwater Program

February 9-10, Online

The first AGWT-AGWA joint conference was held in Ontario, CA in 2000. Since then, this annual event has provided an important information exchange and networking opportunity for California’s water agencies, utilities and water districts and for all water professionals (scientific, engineering, managerial, legal, environmental, regulatory), end-users of water, and local and state elected officials involved with water policy issues.

Click here for more information and to register.

MEETING: GRA SACRAMENTO: California’s Groundwater Update 2020/Bulletin 118

February 10, 5:00pm – 6:30pm

California’s Groundwater Update 2020 California’s Groundwater (Bulletin 118) is an inventory and assessment of available information on the occurrence and nature of California’s groundwater to inform decisions affecting the protection, use, and management of the resource.

Please join a member of DWR’s Groundwater Team who will present on the background of Bulletin 118 / California’s Groundwater, and an overview of the content of Update 2020 and supporting resources.

Click here to register.

CONFERENCE: The Future of Water

February 23, 24 online

The water industry is constantly changing. What are the new and innovative ways professionals are measuring, predicting, and communicating about water? How will they change in the future?

Water resiliency depends on constant improvement, risk taking, and collaboration. Join us February 23rd and 24th 2021 to learn leading edge technology and new or future methods for monitoring, remote sensing, communication, modeling, data science, water quality threats, water planning and water markets.

The curated program for this conference will educate, engage, and inform both technical experts and water managers alike.

Click here to register.

SGMA in the news

January 28, 2021

Department of Conservation awards $1.5M in grants to support State’s Groundwater Management Plan

The California Department of Conservation (DOC) today announced five watershed coordinator grants totaling $1.5 million to support regional sustainable groundwater management goals. The grants will go to organizations around the state within medium- and high-priority groundwater basins.  “California’s world-class economy – its unparalleled agricultural sector, diversity, and abundance of industry and communities of all sizes and geographies — depends on water, and with the reality of climate change, that increasingly means groundwater,” DOC Director David Shabazian said. “Groundwater is a critical resource that we must manage more intently to meet today’s needs while also ensuring adequate water supply in the future. These grants, which support the goals of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), help us do that.”  … ”  Read more from the Department of Conservation here:  Department of Conservation awards $1.5M in grants to support State’s Groundwater Management Plan

Managing groundwater overdraft – combining crop and water decisions (without salinity)

” … This post summarizes some recent research examining conjunctive water management for agriculture integrating hydro-economic optimization models on two timescales, neglecting for now salinity effects on crop yield: an intermediate term 10-year stochastic model of water and crop management spanning dry and wet years, and a far horizon (100 years of 10-year stages) management model which embeds intermediate-term model to represent longer-term aquifer targets (Yao 2020). The modeling was applied for conditions similar to California’s San Joaquin Valley.  Integrated economically-driven optimization of permanent and annual crop acreages and water management for these two timescales identifies some economically-promising strategies considering both crop decisions and water management to mitigate groundwater overdraft. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Managing groundwater overdraft – combining crop and water decisions (without salinity)

Dusty barren fields or thriving farmland and habitat? This bill creates a better vision for California’s future

“[On Friday], Assemblymembers Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee and vice-chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, and Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) introduced a bill, AB 252, to help farmers and rural communities adapt to more sustainable groundwater use while simultaneously creating new benefits for people and wildlife.  AB 252, sponsored by EDF, will help create opportunities on these previously irrigated agricultural land and ease the transition to sustainable groundwater management. It will create a new program through the California Department of Conservation to provide incentive payments to landowners who voluntarily and strategically repurpose at least some portion of their agricultural land to other less water-intensive uses for at least 10 years. … ”  Read more from EDF’s Growing Returns here: Dusty barren fields or thriving farmland and habitat? This bill creates a better vision for California’s future

SEE ALSO: Assemblymembers Robert Rivas and Rudy Salas introduce legislation to maximize benefits of Sustainable Groundwater Management requirements, from Benito Link

Water games: Madera farmers set to test market

Madera County farmers are getting ready to play what could be the “game” of their livelihoods.  The county groundwater sustainability agency will launch a groundwater market simulation, or game, next month as a way for growers to see if selling and trading their groundwater helps make the most of what will become a severely limited resource in coming years.  Groundwater markets have emerged throughout the San Joaquin Valley as potential tools to help reduce groundwater pumping per the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Water games: Madera farmers set to test market

GSA, Friant Water settle on subsidence payments

A major portion of funding to repair subsidence in the Friant-Kern Canal was secured last week in a settlement between the canal’s operator, the groundwater agency where subsidence is taking place and the irrigation district most affected by the lack of conveyance.  On Jan. 7, the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency (ETGSA) Board of Directors approved an agreement with the Friant Water Authority (FWA) and Arvin Edison Water Storage District where the GSA would pay up to $220 million to repair the section of the canal between Lindsay and McFarland where overdrafting groundwater has played a significant role in the subsidence of the canal, according to hydrological studies. The board reported the vote following a closed session on the settlement. ... ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here:  GSA, Friant Water settle on subsidence payments

Agreement between the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency and the Friant Water Authority will allow transitional pumping to continue

The agreement between the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency and the Friant Water Authority will provide additional funding for repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal.  But the agreement will also help the ETGSA meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act while allowing growers in the district to continue “transitional” pumping.  On January 7, the ETGSA Board approved the agreement with the Friant Water Authority, which oversees the Friant-Kern Canal. The ETGSA oversees the Groundwater Sustainable Plan to meet the requirements of the SGMA to reduce the use of groundwater by a certain amount by 2040. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: Agreement will allow transitional pumping to continue

Kings River floodwater dispute goes to the state

A bid by Kern County farmers to take Kings River floodwater officially got underway Tuesday as state regulators hashed out procedures and next steps with the various parties.  An initial hearing had been set for April 15, but may now be pushed back to July, depending on how Administrative Hearing Officer Nicole Kuenzi rules.  Kuenzi discussed coming deadlines and other procedural issues with representatives of the Kings River Water Association, Semitropic Water Storage District and others during a pre-hearing conference Tuesday morning. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Kings River floodwater dispute goes to the state

Delano’s “big dig”

The state’s new groundwater law has prompted a lot of dirt movement in the Central Valley.  The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act passed in 2014 mandates that overdrafted water basins get their aquifers in balance — don’t pump out more than goes back in — by 2040.  In order to get there without massive farmland fallowing, most valley water managers have been adding as many acres of recharge ground as possible. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Delano’s “big dig”

Santa Clarita Valley Water calling for input on Saugus Formation Aquifer

Santa Clarita Valley community members are invited to provide input to SCV Water on the removal of hazardous substances that have been identified in the Saugus Formation Aquifer.  The water agency is aiming to keep its water safe for drinking water consumption through minimizing and mitigating the public health and environmental effects of hazardous substances that have been identified.  The public is invited to review and comment on the engineering evaluation/cost analysis dated January 2021 regarding SCV Water’s proposed non-time-critical removal action for the Saugus aquifer and the associated community involvement plan. … ”  Read more from the SCV Signal here: Santa Clarita Valley Water calling for input on Saugus Formation Aquifer

Kern County: Court approves Cummings Basin amended, restated judgment

A Kern County Superior Court judge recently approved an updated water management plan for the Cummings Basin groundwater west of Tehachapi. “The goal is to ensure that sufficient, safe and clean drinking water will be available for decades to come,” said TCCWD General Manager Tom Neisler. On Jan. 5, Judge Stephen Schuett approved the Cummings Basin Amended and Restated Judgment and Physical Solution, which was prepared and presented by the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District. … ”  Read more from the Tehachapi News here:  Court approves Cummings Basin amended, restated judgment

San Bernardino Groundwater Council featured on cover of CSDA magazine

The California Special Districts Association has featured the San Bernardino Basin Groundwater Council as its cover story for the November-December issue.  Winner of the CSDA 2020 Award for Innovative Project of the Year, the Groundwater Council is an innovative, voluntary partnership among area water agencies and cities to work together to enhance local water storage in the region.  Record levels of water were captured and stored in the San Bernardino Basin in 2019, due in large part to the collaboration of the group. The ongoing collaboration of the council ensures continued recharge successes long into the future. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Water Conservation District here: San Bernardino Groundwater Council featured on cover of CSDA magazine

Western, EMWD partner to enhance water reliability for March Air Reserve Base

Western Municipal Water District (Western) and Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) entered into an interagency agreement this month to partner on efforts to enhance water supply reliability for March Air Reserve Base (March ARB).  The North Perris Groundwater Basin Program participation agreement between Western and EMWD supports a commitment to remedy and protect groundwater resources, providing a new local water supply for the area. ... ”  Read more from Water World here:  Western, EMWD partner to enhance water reliability for March Air Reserve Base

Category: News Article

What’s next for the community of Borrego Springs and the future of Borrego’s water and land-use planning?

January 13, 2021

Borrego Springs – Southern California, but a World Apart

A four part series from the Local Government Commission

“Amidst drought, groundwater regulation, and economic hardship, the media portrays Borrego Springs as a village “drying up” in the desert – running out of water – soon to be the next California ghost town.

Like many aspects of the desert, there’s more to the Borrego Springs community than meets the eye. In the crevices of the valley’s rocky floor, wildflowers blossom in exuberant hope. In the shade of the Palo Verde trees, Coyote Creek babbles through the sandy slopes with perseverance.

From corner to corner, the community is banding together: evaluating how to live within the constraints of this remote locale, charting a course that integrates civic engagement with environmental, social and economic priorities – to achieve their goal of a thriving, resilient future.

This is their story. … ”

Read more from the Local Government Commission here: Borrego Springs – Southern California, but a World Apart

Saving Borrego’s Lifeblood

“Borrego Springs’ only viable water source is a large aquifer under Borrego Valley; it has long been accepted that the aquifer’s water collected over millennia and is being pumped at a rapid pace by recent generations. What farmers, developers, business owners, and residents never agreed upon was how much water was actually available, and how long it would last.” 

Read more from the Local Government Commission here:  Saving Borrego’s Lifeblood

Community Voices

LGC, with the help of five Stanford University students, conducted interviews with community members to understand varying perspectives and identify where community visions overlap in order to help guide the community on a path forward. Ten Borregans lent their voices to these interviews, including full-time residents, commuters, and weekenders.” 

Read more from the Local Government Commission here:  Community Voices

Borrego’s Path to Resilience in the Face of Change

“As a new year begins, Borrego Springs is eager for opportunities to ensure community resilience while protecting the local economy and the region’s precious ecosystems. In the face of many obstacles, not all hope is lost. This article wraps up the four-part series, highlighting the revitalization of the Borrego Valley Stewardship Council and their efforts to pave the way for a brighter future.” 

Read more from the Local Government Commission here:  Borrego’s Path to Resilience in the Face of Change

IMAGE CREDIT: Photo of Borrego Springs by Jim Mullhaupt

SGMA IN ACTION: Challenges and opportunities, Environmental justice considerations, and first lawsuits over GSP plans

January 13, 2021

Critically overdrafted groundwater basins submitted their Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) in January 2020, and high and medium priority subbasins will be submitting their GSPs in 2022. At the Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite, a panel provided an update on Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation, including issues being litigated in first impression lawsuits across the state. Best practices for groundwater allocation and trading, and incorporation of environmental justice concerns into GSPs.  How agencies address CEQA compliance for GSA Project and Management Actions were also discussed.

The panelists:

Eric Averett, general manager of Roseville-Rio Bravo Water Storage District: Since 1991, Eric has been actively involved in evaluating and resolving water supply and quality challenges facing Kern County. Eric Averett serves as president of the Kern River Watershed Coalition. He sits on the board of directors for the Water Association of Kern County and the Association of California Water Agencies.

Camille Pannu, a visiting clinical law professor at the Community and Economic Development Clinic at UC Irvine School of Law: Prior to joining UC Irvine, she served as the inaugural director for the Water Justice Clinic at UC Davis School of Law, the first clinic of its kind in the country. Her practice uses administrative advocacy, strategic research, and transactional legal tools to address the impact of racial and economic inequality on access to clean, safe drinking water in California’s low-income communities.

Tom Lippe, public interest environmental law attorney:  He has been actively involved since 1987 in cases dealing with land use, CEQA, NEPA, surface water, groundwater, coastal protection, and endangered species. Mr. Lippe’s practice has included many cases involving the effects of land-use changes on groundwater resources and the effects of groundwater consumption on streamflow and endangered salmonids. Mr. Lippe is currently litigating two cases challenging groundwater sustainability plans adopted under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act for the Eastern San Joaquin and Delta-Mendota groundwater basins.

The panel was moderated by Natalie Stork, chief of the Groundwater Management Program at the State Water Resources Control Board, which is responsible for the board’s implementation of SGMA.

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

Upcoming groundwater events

January 13, 2021

FREE WEBINAR: CaliWaterAg Water & Land Use Series Workshop – English (TODAY)

January 13, 5:00pm

Join Vicky Espinoza of CaliWaterAg for a free workshop for growers and community members to:

– Ask questions on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), land repurposing options, and funding sources
– Share land repurposing option preferences and land-uses that haven’t been considered
– Share concerns about SGMA, land repurposing, and involvement barriers

Click here to register.

WEBINAR GRATIS: Taller de uso del agua y la tierra en el Valle de San Joaquín – Español (mañana)

14 de enero, 5:00 pm

Únase a Vicky Espinoza de CaliWaterAg en un taller gratuito para productores y miembros de la comunidad para:

– Hagan preguntas sobre la Ley de Gestión Sostenible de las Aguas Subterráneas (SGMA), las opciones de reutilización de la tierra y las fuentes de financiación
– Compartan preferencias de opciones de reutilización de tierras y recomendar usos de la tierra que no se han considerado
– Compartan preocupaciones sobre SGMA, la reutilización de tierras y las barreras de participación

Pulse aquí para registrarse.

FREE WEBINAR: Americorps CivicSpark and the program for integrated groundwater projects under CivicSpark’s Local Government Commission (LGC)

January 20, 5:00pm to 6:30pm

The Sacramento Branch is pleased to host a presentation by  Americorps CivicSpark and their program for integrated groundwater projects under CivicSpark’s Local Government Commission (LGC). The LCC is a non-profit organization that works to build livable communities and local leadership nationwide.

The presentation will provide an overview of the LGC in action and present three past CivicSpark projects:

      • Valley Groundwater Sustainability Plan Development
      • Promoting Stormwater Capture for Groundwater Sustainability Planning Efforts
      • SGMA Preparation and Stakeholder Engagement in Merced County and the Delta-Mendota Subbasin.

Each project will be presented by a current CivicSpark Fellow or Fellow Alumni.

Click here to register.

CA WATER COMMISSION: Merced River Watershed Flood MAR Study

November 30, 2020

Kamyar Guivetchi, Manager of DWR’s Division of Planning has often referred to Flood Managed Aquifer Recharge (or Flood MAR) as a “moon shot” for recharging depleted groundwater basins, but just how much Flood MAR can contribute to groundwater recharge in a watershed is unknown.  However, the Department of Water Resources’ Integrated Watershed Management staff is underway with a pilot study to look at the potential for Flood MAR in the Merced River watershed.

At the October meeting of the California Water Commission, Mr. Guivetchi and David Arrate, Senior Water Resources Engineer with the Department of Water Resources, gave a presentation on the study and shared some of the preliminary results.

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

NEW Video Gallery at the Groundwater Exchange

November 30, 2020

At the Groundwater Exchange, we’re working to update the website and adding new features.

One of those is the new Video Gallery, where you can find introductory videos on SGMA, SGMA videos in Spanish, and special topic videos on groundwater recharge, Integrated Regional Water Management, and more!

Check out the new video gallery by clicking here.

The Groundwater Exchange video gallery can link to videos posted on YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook, so if you have a video to add, send the link to


Category: Announcement

UPCOMING EVENTS: Groundwater modeling webinar, SGMA Grant Program Applicant Assistance

November 30, 2020

FREE WEBINAR: The Why, What, and How of Groundwater Modeling

Tuesday, December 1st, 10am – 11am Learn how groundwater models can be used to answer key questions for planning, basin management, and engineering design; what types of modeling frameworks to use for answering certain types of questions; how model scale, settings, and parameters influence their ability to provide answers; what kinds of questions or uncertainties groundwater models cannot resolve; and hear about case-studies of types of models and how these were applied to answer key questions. Presented by Intera.

Click here to register.

DWR WORKSHOP: Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program Applicant Assistance

Thursday, December 3, 2pm to 4pm On Oct. 30, 2020, DWR released the Final Implementation PSP for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program. On Nov. 9 2020, DWR will begin the acceptance of grant applications for Round 1. This solicitation will close on Jan. 8, 2021. An application assistance workshop will be held Dec. 3, 2020 at 2 p.m. to review the application process and answer applicant’s questions. DWR will host the meeting as a GoTo Meeting webinar. The meeting will be recorded and a link to the recording will be posted on the DWR website and emailed to subscribers of the SGM Grant Program’s email list as soon as possible following the webinar.

Click here to register.

SGMA in the News

November 30, 2020

Farmland consolidations could save water, promote solar

Hopes are rising in the southern Central Valley that the farmland expected to be fallowed in coming years because of drought and groundwater restrictions won’t sit idle but will instead be consolidated to make room for new land uses including solar power generation.  Efforts are underway locally to create a system for piecing together parcels that would allow investment at a scale large enough to support substantial photovoltaic solar arrays — or ranching or creation of natural habitat, whatever makes sense financially for landowners. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Farmland consolidations could save water, promote solar

Western agricultural water values diverge, with expansion in permanent and high-value crops

Westwater Research writes, “Recent trends in the Western U.S. toward high-value and capital-intensive crops that depend on irrigation are changing the importance and value of water in agriculture, and such changes have important implications for water trading and water market prices. WestWater compiled data on agricultural sales and irrigation water use to provide a unique spatial look at the value of water in agricultural use across the Western states.  Please enjoy a short Water Market Insider summarizing the data on agricultural water values, and feel free to take a closer look with our online GIS story-board.

Ridgecrest City Council, IWVGA agree on recycled water

If an options agreement between the city council and the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority comes to fruition, recycled water from the city’s wastewater facility could help balance the groundwater basin — and could potentially help Searles Valley Minerals stay in business. Sources at SVM, however, have said that while they are open to ideas “at this juncture recycled water for Searles is only a concept.”  Both the council and the groundwater authorities at their respective meetings last week approved the option agreement between the two parties for recycled wastewater. … “  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Ridgecrest City Council, IWVGA agree on recycled water