SGMA in the News

This week at the Groundwater Exchange: New pages and capabilities added

July 10, 2019

We’ve been hard at work, interfacing the Groundwater Exchange with the California Water Library!

New pages for projects and actions now include documents from the California Water Library.  Pick a topic and explore:

Groundwater Recharge,
Conjunctive Use,
Stormwater Capture,
Recycled Water,
Agricultural Water Use Efficiency,
Urban Water Use Efficiency,
Markets and Trading,
Water Allocation Systems

You can access all of these from the Projects and Actions page which is accessible from the home page of the Groundwater Exchange.

We’ve also added a new page on SGMA and land use.

More new pages on the way!

Category: This week

GSA SUMMIT: SGMA and Land Use Issues

July 10, 2019
A lush agricultural scene in San Luis Obispo County in Central California. Photo by John Chacon / California Department of Water Resources
Panel discusses land use issues, including well permitting, land fallowing, general plans and SGMA, and more …

Groundwater is intimately connected with the landscape and land use that it underlies.  How land is developed above can change both water demand and how much water can be recharged, and inappropriate land use and poor land management can cause chronic groundwater quality problems.

At the Second Annual Groundwater Sustainability Agency Summit, hosted by the Groundwater Resources Association in June of 2019, a panel shared their perspectives and experiences with the interplay of land use planning and Groundwater Sustainability Plan development.

Seated on the panel:

The panel was moderated by Marcus Trotta with Sonoma Water.

Land use planning and well permitting go hand in hand and really drive the water use in all of our basins and the decisions related to that,” began Marcus Trotta.  “Like many aspects of SGMA, there’s general guidance provided in SGMA in the GSP regulations, mostly related to notification and consideration, consultation requirements, and it’s really up to the local GSAs to figure out what exactly that looks like and how they are going to be addressing those requirements in their GSPs and during the implementation phase.”

We’re fortunate to have a panel of four experts and practitioners throughout the state to share their perspectives and information on their experiences in things like well permitting, how that relates to GSP development, metering considerations, general plan and other types of planning documents and how those get integrated with their GSPs, managing stakeholder expectations and perspectives, and then some unique issues that have come up in some of these basins, like exempt lands that are in their basins.”

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


Lessons learned from the State’s first Groundwater Sustainability Plan

July 10, 2019

“All eyes were on the Borrego Valley this spring, and not just for their second “super bloom” in two years.

The Borrego Valley GSA is the first in the state to release a full draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan; a new management framework required under 2014 legislation. Many are looking to the Borrego Valley GSP as a test case for the other 138 agencies currently drafting their plans, and the many stakeholders anxiously awaiting those plans. … ”

Continue reading from the Local Government Commission’s Livable Places newsletter here: Lessons Learned from the State’s first Groundwater Sustainability Plan

Category: News Article

Challenges and opportunities for integrating small and rural drinking water stakeholders in SGMA implementation

July 10, 2019

Kristin Dobbin, Jessica Mendoza and Michael Kuo write,

“The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is an historic opportunity to achieve long-term sustainable groundwater management and protect drinking water supplies for hundreds of small and rural low-income communities, especially in the San Joaquin Valley.

Past research indicates that few of these communities are represented in the Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) formed to implement the new law. This raises questions about the extent such communities are involved in groundwater reform and potential concerns about how small and rural drinking-water interests are being incorporated into Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). … ”

Read more from the California Water Blog here: Challenges and opportunities for integrating small and rural drinking water stakeholders in SGMA implementation


Got Surface Water? Groundwater-only Lands in the San Joaquin Valley

July 10, 2019

Jelena Jezdimirovic, Ellen Hanak, and Alvar Escriva-Bou write,

“The San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest agricultural region—has the largest groundwater deficit in the state. However, water scarcity is not experienced equally across the valley.

Some areas receive abundant surface water to support cropland irrigation and drinking water supplies. Most others supplement their use with groundwater. Still others have no surface water access and depend entirely on groundwater.

Water users in these groundwater-only areas are particularly vulnerable to pumping restrictions under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)—the state-mandated effort to balance groundwater basins. … ”

Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Got Surface Water? Groundwater-only Lands in the San Joaquin Valley

Category: PPIC Blog

Agricultural water agencies refine efficiency plans

July 10, 2019

“Agricultural water suppliers must develop annual water budgets and drought plans that meet requirements of recently enacted legislation, and are meeting with state officials to comply with the updated law—a process that could ultimately affect water costs for California farmers and ranchers.

California Farm Bureau Federation Director of Water Resources Danny Merkley said the process stems from 2009 law, and updates passed last year, which require the state Department of Water Resources to consult with agricultural stakeholders to quantify water-use efficiency. … ”

Read more from Ag Alert here:  Agricultural water agencies refine efficiency plans

Category: News Article

Legal alert: Irrigation District May Refuse Water Delivery to Rule Violators

July 10, 2019

“An irrigation district may adopt and enforce reasonable rules related to water service, and may terminate water delivery for failure to comply with such rules, a California appellate court ruled. Although this case involved an irrigation district, the decision may also strengthen other water providers’ authority to adopt and enforce rules relating to water service.

In Inzana v. Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors, the issue was the District’s rule prohibiting planting “in, on, over, or across” any District easement or right of way in a manner that interferes with its maintenance or operation obligations. The District rules also say that the District can terminate water service to any landowner who fails or refuses to comply with any District rules or regulations. … ”

Read more from BB&K here:  Irrigation District May Refuse Water Delivery to Rule Violators

Category: News Article
Keywords: Enforcement

Glenn Groundwater Authority approves operation fee increase for water service

July 10, 2019

“On Monday the Glenn Groundwater Authority passed an operation fee increase for water service, despite meeting some opposition.  Anyone within the Glenn County portion of the Colusa subbasin except for Willows and Orland will have to pay the fee.

The board set the operation fee at $1.61 per acre, per year for the fiscal 2019-2020 year. … ”

Read more from Action News Now here: Glenn Groundwater Authority approves operation fee increase for water service

Category: News Article
Keywords: Pumping Fees

Market-based program would encourage farmers to buy, sell local groundwater

July 8, 2019

“A local water district is developing a novel, market-based groundwater trading program that, if successful, could be expanded or copied to help Central Valley farmers cope with new state restrictions against over-pumping the region’s aquifers.

The Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District’s pilot program, set for testing later this summer or early fall, would allow certain landowners to buy or sell groundwater to or from another property owner within the district. … ”

Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Market-based program would encourage farmers to buy, sell local groundwater

Category: News Article
Region: Tulare Lake

Borrego Air Ranch: A desert community in peril

July 7, 2019

“The survival of a tiny, unique, desert neighborhood is threatened because more than 60 years ago the community decided to form a small water district instead of digging individual wells.

Borrego Air Ranch is built around a private air strip where residents’ garages double as airplane hangers. It’s located on the southeastern outskirts of unincorporated Borrego Springs, less than a mile from Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

For many years, Borrego Springs has been living on borrowed time, drawing far more water from the ground than its rains replace, a practice the state says can no longer continue. … ”

Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Borrego Air Ranch: A desert community in peril