SGMA in the News

SGMO NEWS: New funding opportunities, Read DWR articles on groundwater level change maps and stream gages, and more …

August 6, 2020

From the Department of Water Resources, Sustainable Groundwater Management Office:

NEW SGM Grant Program Draft Proposal Solicitation Package: Public Comment Open and Meeting Scheduled

Public comment is open for the draft Proposal Solicitation Package for the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR)  Sustainable Groundwater Management (SGM) Grant Program. During the first round of funding, $26 million will be available for critically overdrafted basins for projects that will assist with the implementation of groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs). A second round of funding will be available beginning in 2022 and will have approximately $62 million available for projects for high- and medium-priority basins.

Public Webinar Meeting

  • September 3, 2020
  • 10 a.m. to Noon
  • The meeting will be recorded for later viewing.

Click here to register Public Comment Comments can be emailed to Kelley List at SGWP@water.ca.gov. Comments can be mailed to:

Kelley List DWR Financial Assistance Branch Division of Regional Assistance P.O. Box 942836 Sacramento, CA 95814

Public comment ends September 18, 2020. DWR will release the final version and solicit proposals after reviewing submitted comments. For questions, please email SGWP@water.ca.gov.


NEW Federal WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants Offered

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants for Fiscal Year 2021. The matching grants provide funding to irrigation districts, water districts, tribes, states, and other entities with water or power delivery authority. Hydropower and water conservation projects are eligible for funding. Applications are due September 17, 2020. For more information, view the Bureau of Reclamation announcement.


NEW SGMA Watershed Coordinator Grant Program Holds Workshops

The California Department of Conservation will host one-hour workshops to answer questions about the SGMA Watershed Coordinator Grant Program application. The grants fund watershed coordinator positions and projects in high- and medium-priority basins. Special districts, groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs), GSAs with approved alternatives, nonprofit groups, local governments, and tribes may apply. Workshops

  • August 6, 2020, at 2:30 p.m.
  • August 11, 2020, at 1 p.m.

Click here to register.

Grant applications are due September 15, 2020. For questions and workshop registration, email wcp@conservation.ca.gov or call (916) 324-0850.


NEW Read DWR Articles on Groundwater Level Change Maps and Stream Gages

New articles on Seasonal Maps Provide Snapshot of State Groundwater Levels and Stream Gages Help Californians Better Understand Water Resources are available on the DWR website. The projects highlighted in the articles are part of DWR’s technical assistance offered to GSAs implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Additional articles can be viewed on the DWR Updates webpage.


REMINDER Public Meetings Can Be Held Remotely During Pandemic

Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-25-20 encourages elected officials to conduct public meetings by teleconference or other electronic venue during the pandemic. The order temporarily waives requirements in the Bagley-Keene Act and Brown Act as long as specific requirements are met. The order applies to GSAs and others involved in the implementation of SGMA.


REMINDER Written Translation Services Available

DWR’s written translation service is available to help with communication to non-English speaking constituents. Translation services for materials are available in Chinese, Hmong, Korean, Laotian, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. For details, visit the Written Translation tab on the Assistance and Engagement webpage.


REMINDER Submit Your GSP Initial Notification

Before starting a GSP, agencies are required to notify DWR in writing using the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System. The portal allows edits to be made to previously submitted Initial Notifications, including the ability to withdraw a submittal. For more information, contact the regional coordinators in DWR’s four Regional Offices. For assistance with the system, email monica.reis@water.ca.gov.


Connect with Your Basin Point of Contact

DWR has designated basin points of contact to assist local agencies as they develop and implement their plans and to assist with applications for Technical Support Services and Facilitation Support Services.

For regional inquiries, contact sgmp_rc@water.ca.gov. For general inquiries, contact sgmps@water.ca.gov.

Category: DWR Updates

UPCOMING EVENTS: Free training for small water systems; Grant program workshops; 3rd annual Western Groundwater Congress

August 6, 2020

FREE WEBINAR: Optimizing Performance & Accessing Funding to Improve Small Systems

August 11-12, 2020, 8:00 am – 11:00 am

This free training is made possible through the collaboration of the American Water Works (AWWA), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Partnership for Safe Water. Topics covered include an in-depth introduction to water loss control, how to conduct a preliminary self-assessment, how to apply for USDA funding, and where to go for additional assistance.

Register here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AQ-LwBtjXxNXXFZztYHN7W6CDuuO7Hkn/view


SGMA Watershed Coordinator Grant Program Workshop

The Department of Conservation will host a workshop to answer potential applicants’ questions about the SGMA Watershed Coordinator Program application.

Please RSVP to wcp@conservation.ca.gov to register.

Information about the program can be found at: https://bit.ly/2P2T84S

The solicitation and application can be found at https://bit.ly/2CYx7lm

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


Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program – Virtual Public Meeting

On July 31, 2020, DWR announced a 45-day public comment period for the Draft SGM Grant Program Proposition 68 Implementation Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP). The public comment period will close at 5 p.m. on September 18, 2020.

A public meeting will be held September 3, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. to present the draft PSP and solicit comments. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, DWR will host the meeting as a GoTo Meeting webinar.

Click here to register.


VIRTUAL CONFERENCE: Western Groundwater Congress

In 2020, join your community of geologists, engineers and other groundwater thrill seekers for the third annual Western Groundwater Congress!

You’ll find four half-day sessions dedicated to Water Resources, SGMA, Contaminants and a myriad of Hot Topics  related to the furtherance of GRA’s vision of Sustainable Groundwater for All.

Technical sessions will run from 8:30am to 12:30pm each day of the event. The Virtual Exhibit Hall will be available for attendees to explore and make contact with exhibitors for the entirety of the event and there will be wellness activities and networking opportunities throughout the week.

Click here for more information.


View more California water-related events by clicking here.
Category: Announcement

SGMA in the news

August 6, 2020

Feinstein bill would fix San Joaquin Valley canals

Western Growers has announced its support for legislation by California Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein that seeks to address severe subsidence impacts that have substantially reduced the carrying capacity of the state’s water delivery system.  Feinstein’s Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act would authorize $800 million in federal funding to repair critical canals in the San Joaquin Valley damaged by land sinking from overpumping of groundwater, known as subsidence, and for environmental restoration. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Feinstein bill would fix San Joaquin Valley canals

Groundwater in the Indian Wells Valley: What is IWVGA? An overview

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s notice of an upcoming public hearing on a basin replenishment fee has attracted a lot of attention from water users in the valley, but not everyone understands what the IWVGA is.  In a nutshell, the IWVGA is a body charged with balancing the Indian Wells Valley groundwater basin (IWVGB). The key is achieving sustainability. This is similar to balancing a checkbook; the IWVGA has to come up with a way to balance the basin’s recharge with its annual outflow.  Here is where the problem begins: if the basin were a checkbook it would be severely overdrawn. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Groundwater in the Indian Wells Valley: What is IWVGA? An overview

Valley farmers look to Kern River tributary to replenish groundwater

A Kern County water agency is facing a wall of opposition against its plan to harvest up to 12,000 acre feet of water from the South Fork of the Kern River above Lake Isabella and bring it to valley farms and homeowners in northwest Bakersfield.  Mountain residents fear the proposal by Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District will dry up their groundwater and turn the area into another Owens Valley. ... ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Valley farmers look to Kern River tributary to replenish groundwater

Groundwater sustainability is a necessity more than ever, says Jose Pablo Ortiz Partida with the Union of Concerned Scientists

He writes, “The immediate emergency of COVID-19 has been a powerful reminder that the most valuable things in our lives are our families, friends, and the welfare of our communities. The current pandemic is a threat to those closest to us today in a way that presages what we will experience on an accelerating basis due to the climate emergency. In a place like California’s San Joaquin Valley (SJV), Latinos account for 70 percent of COVID-19 cases, even though they represent 42 percent of the population. Improving access to clean and affordable water even as the pandemic grows more urgent, is critical to reducing the types of burdens worsened by the COVID-19 crisis. Continuing the hard work on groundwater sustainability required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) could lessen the impact of future crises in the valley. The low level of preparation communities have experienced around the pandemic, echos what these same communities face for water management on a daily basis and will face with future climate change threats unless fundamental changes are made locally. … ”  Read more from the Union of Concerned Scientists here: Groundwater sustainability is a necessity more than ever

Category: News Article

GSA SUMMIT: Setting Sustainable Management Criteria: It’s easy, isn’t it?

July 23, 2020

The details of how a groundwater sustainability plan will be implemented are defined by the setting of sustainable management criteria (or SMC). With several undesirable results to consider, a range of technical analyses to perform, data gaps yet to be filled, and potentially conflicting stakeholder interests, the process to establish sustainable management criteria is often involved and challenging.

At the Groundwater Resources Association’s 3rd annual GSA Summit, a panel reviewed how the process went for the groundwater sustainability plans that were submitted to the Department of Water Resources earlier this year, focusing on four of the six sustainable management criteria: water levels, water quality, land subsidence, and interconnected surface waters.

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


Location, location, location: New tool shows where groundwater recharge will maximize benefits

July 23, 2020

From the Environmental Defense Fund:

Recharging groundwater with rain and snowmelt is one strategy water managers are embracing to help balance groundwater supply and demand and comply with the California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Depending on the location, recharge can also deliver other valuable benefits, such as additional habitat for wildlife and a more resilient water supply for people.

With support from EDF, four UC Santa Barbara graduate students have developed a new mapping tool for California’s Central Valley to identify the best locations for groundwater recharge to secure these bonus benefits.

Click here to continue reading at Growing Returns.


WEBINAR RECORDING: : Tools for Evaluating Drinking Water Needs in SGMA

July 23, 2020
If you missed the recent webinar on tools for evaluating drinking water needs in SGMA, you can watch it now online:
Webinar information:
Resources discussed by the panelists:
Keywords: Drinking Water

Colusa County landowners sought for groundwater recharge program

July 23, 2020

From the Colusa Sun-Herald:

The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with the Colusa Groundwater Authority, is now accepting applications for an on-farm Multi-Benefit Groundwater Recharge Incentive Program scheduled to take place this fall.

According to a release issued by the Nature Conservancy, the program provides an opportunity for growers to receive financial compensation for recharging groundwater during the course of normal farming operations on a variety of crops while also providing critical wetland habitat for waterbirds migrating along the Pacific Flyway.

“The program requires short-term commitments from growers to irrigate and maintain shallow depths on enrolled fields and pays for field preparation, irrigation and water costs,” read the release.

Click here to read this article at the Colusa Sun-Herald.


SGMA in the News

July 23, 2020

STATEWIDE

Farmers doing more with less need help from above:  “Joel Ackerknecht manages about 3,500 acres of land north and west of Bakersfield and south of Arvin for DM Camp and Sons, a more than 80-year-old Kern County farming operation that grows a variety of specialty crops, including wine grapes, nuts and sweet potatoes.  A combination of expanding global demand for California produce, stretched water resources, receding ground water levels and increasing government regulations caused Ackerknecht to search for ways to do more with less.  Ackerknecht turned his attention to the sky for help. ... ”  Read more the Bakersfield Californian here: Farmers doing more with less need help from above

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act enters crucial period:  “As Covid-19 and social unrest dominates news headlines, another problem beneath Central Valley residents’ feet is coming to surface. This was the first year plans had to be submitted for many irrigation districts through the state of California as part of 2014’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  Sustainability plans developed by groundwater sustainability agencies (GSA) outline how water users can restore depleted water sources. But fights have arisen and disputes about the reliability of those water sources have come to light. … ”  Read more from The Business Journal here: Landmark groundwater act enters a crucial period

New study finds media coverage could discourage many from guiding groundwater use:  “Superficial media coverage of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) could discourage democratic engagement on resource-management issues by having focused on relatively few stakeholders, a new study from UC Merced shows.  Because water is essential to everyone, all have a stake in how groundwater is managed., Media reports published from January 2014 to April 2019 about the SGMA, however, tended to be simplistic, presenting only one stakeholder instead of considering holistic management, the study’s authors said.  Media coverage portrayed stakeholders as limited to major economic interests, such as agriculture, the study found. … ”  Read more from UC Merced here: New study finds media coverage could discourage many from guiding groundwater use

Report: California groundwater sustainability plans are inadequate:  “Though California has allocated billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded bonds to clean up its drinking water and make it more available, one report says it is not working. Even with implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) under way, upwards of 12,000 drinking wells may go dry by 2040, causing over 120,000 people to lose their primary source of water.  The grim report by the Water Foundation, a charitable organization based in California that is focused on clean, reliable water for people and nature, predicts the groundwater sustainability plans written by the various districts in the San Joaquin Valley will not achieve what SGMA purports to do – that is, sustainably manage groundwater resources. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Report: California groundwater sustainability plans are inadequate

REGIONAL STORIES

Sonoma County workshops provide residents an opportunity to share groundwater concerns:  “Sonoma County’s three groundwater sustainability agencies are holding “virtual” community workshops in July. The meetings are an opportunity for well owners, farmers and others in Petaluma Valley, Sonoma Valley and Santa Rosa Plain to learn about groundwater in these basins and to help define local, sustainable groundwater management. … ”  Read more from Patch here: Sonoma County workshops provide residents an opportunity to share groundwater concerns

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

West Valley Water District joins Regional Groundwater Council:  “On behalf of the San Bernardino Basin area Groundwater Council, the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (SBVMWD) announced that the West Valley Water District (WVWD) will join the basin area council.  The San Bernardino Valley has experienced historically low rainfall over the past 20 years, resulting in ongoing and sustained drought. This has resulted in groundwater storage levels in the San Bernardino Basin being at a historic low. Due to our tendency to long periods of drought, ensuring water supply reliability and long-term groundwater sustainability is even more important in this region. ... ”  Read more from the Community News here: West Valley Water District joins Regional Groundwater Council

Ventura County: Completed project for groundwater recharge captures stormwater:  “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 Patch here:  Completed project for groundwater recharge captures stormwater


UPCOMING EVENTS: Drinking water tools in SGMA; SGMA fees for GSAs and Prop 218 Pitfalls; Groundwater quality data; Western Groundwater Congress

July 12, 2020

FREE WEBINAR: Drinking water tools in SGMA

Thursday, July 16th, 3pm

Join the NGO Groundwater Collaborative on July 17th at 3pm for a 90-minute webinar to learn more about new tools and resources for evaluating drinking water needs in groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs). There is no registration required – you can join the webinar by clicking this link.

Our panel includes Debi Ores, Senior Attorney for Community Water Center (CWC), Amanda Monaco, Policy Coordinator of Water Programs for Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability (LCJA), and Angela Islas, Community Development Specialist at Self-Help Enterprises (SHE).

The panel will be discussing three new resources for addressing drinking water needs in GSPs:

Each presentation will be followed by Q&A.

Click here to register.


WEBINAR: SGMA Fees: GSA Implementation, GSP Projects and Prop 218 Pitfalls

Wednesday, July 22nd, 12pm

This presentation will discuss different funding options for implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requirements.

It will cover funding options for the development and implementation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs), including a Groundwater Sustainability Agency’s (GSA) authority to impose fees, and the purpose and types of fees. It will also cover the intricacies of fee setting and the benefits and disadvantages of different fee structures.

Case studies will be presented to illustrate SGMA fees in action.

The presentation will be followed by a facilitated discussion and Q&A opportunity.

Click here to register.


WEBINAR: Groundwater Quality Data in California’s Uncertain Future

Wednesday, August 5th, 12pm

SWRCB staff will be presenting on their work in making data available from the various State and Federal sources and their data characterization tools up on the web.

Click here for more information and to register.


VIRTUAL CONFERENCE: 3rd Annual Western Groundwater Congress

September 14 to 17

In 2020, join your community of geologists, engineers and other groundwater thrill seekers for the third annual Western Groundwater Congress!

You’ll find four half-day sessions dedicated to Water Resources, SGMA, Contaminants and a myriad of Hot Topics  related to the furtherance of GRA’s vision of Sustainable Groundwater for All.

Technical sessions will run from 8:30am to 12:30pm each day of the event. The Virtual Exhibit Hall will be available for attendees to explore and make contact with exhibitors for the entirety of the event and there will be wellness activities and networking opportunities throughout the week.

Click here for more information and to register.


GSA SUMMIT: Lessons learned from the 2020 GSPs: Perspectives from the critically overdrafted basins

July 9, 2020

The implementation phase of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act has now begun for the basins designated as critically-overdrafted. Getting to this point has been an unparalleled journey as communities, farmers, water suppliers, and others navigated through uncharted territory to develop local solutions for sustainable groundwater management. At the Groundwater Resources Association Third Annual Groundwater Sustainability Agency Summit held online in June, a panel of managers from four of the critically overdrafted basins reflected on the hard work of developing and adopting a groundwater sustainability plan.

Seated on the panel were Gary Petersen from the Salinas Valley Basin GSA; Eric Osterling from the Mid Kaweah GSA; Deanna Jackson from TriCounty GSA; and Patricia Poire from the Kern Groundwater Authority.  Collectively, these GSAs are having to deal with all six of the undesirable results, from subsidence to groundwater levels to seawater intrusion, and they overly five of the 21 critically overdrafted basins.

Each panelist then discussed the process that they went through in developing their plans, the lessons they learned, and their advice for those developing the plans that will be due in January of 2022.

Click here to read this article.