SGMA in the News

AQUAOSO™ Launches Free Digital Water Map for California

January 19, 2019

From Aquaoso:

AQUAOSO™ Technologies, PBC, a Public Benefit Corporation and a leader in water risk management with massive water data and expertise on California’s water supply, officially launched a free digital water map of California water districts, GSAs and groundwater basin priority levels.

The free digital water map is a joint effort between AQUAOSO and California Chapter, ASFMRA, whose members are active in appraisal and management of agricultural properties and who provide consulting for agribusiness.

“Much of this information is publicly available, but does not always exist in the same place, making it hard to identify the relationships between various geographical regions,” said Christopher Peacock, CEO/Founder of AQUAOSO. “After extensive discussions with leaders in the agricultural economy, and based on our existing research into California agricultural water risk, it was obvious we should launch a free version of this map.”

JoAnn Wall, ARA, President of California Chapter, ASFMRA added, “This free resource is a natural extension of the information we have been providing to the agribusiness community for years and is one of the many benefits we can bring to our members.”

Early sponsors of the digital water map includes AgriFinancial, Golden State Farm Credit, Hortau, Pearson Realty, Schuil and Associates, Terra West Group and WaterWrights. Mr. Peacock states, “We are fortunate to have such a great group of early supports in our efforts to deliver new resources to the broader community.”

AQUAOSO will be providing additional data to the free map in the coming months as they continue to assist the agricultural economy in identifying, understanding, monitoring and mitigating water related risks. They currently support some of the largest agricultural lenders, appraisers, brokers and agricultural investors in California to identify water risk at the parcel level. This is in addition to their broader loan and land portfolio tools they provide that includes extensive public and private datasets, including parcel level information, water district deliveries, crop types, soil, and more.

Earlier this month, AQUAOSO launched its innovative Programmatic Assistance with Water Data program to help smaller non-profits with their water data needs. “We are constantly looking for ways in which we can leverage our corporate footprint to have a positive social impact,” Mr. Peacock continued.

For more information about the free digital water map, check out

AQUAOSO Technologies, PBC is a Public Benefit Corporation with a mission to build a water resilient future. AQUAOSO provides advanced water risk management and mitigation tools for the agricultural economy. Farmers, brokers, appraisers, lenders, insurers and water managers use our tools daily to identify, understand and mitigate water related risks.

Category: Announcement

Upcoming groundwater events

January 16, 2019

Bridging the Gap: Increasing Capture of Flood Flows During Extreme Weather Events

January 28-29, San Diego

Increasing stormwater capture and recharge is being examined throughout California, particularly in light of the need to achieve sustainability in accordance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). One of the challenges in planning associated with stormwater is the shift in California precipitation to more extreme, shorter-duration storm events. Many of these extreme events are a result of  “atmospheric rivers” (ARs). The difference between a wet or dry water year in California is now often dictated by the occurrence or absence of one or two strong AR storm systems.  With careful planning, precipitation from AR storm events can provide water for storage in surface water reservoirs and provide flood flows that can be captured for managed aquifer recharge (Flood MAR).

Given the importance of stormwater as a water supply resource, GRA has organized a unique event that connects the current state of the art in predicting ARs and climate change to surface water reservoir operations and Flood MAR. Experts from meteorology, weather forecasting, reservoir operations and Flood MAR will be speaking at an event we are calling “Bridging the Gap”, to be held in San Diego at the Dana Hotel on January 28-29, 2019.

This will be a groundbreaking, first-ever educational event of its kind for all California water resource professionals, including staff and board members in GSAs, members of GSA advisory committees, consultants working with GSAs, and key members of the public engaging in the development of local groundwater sustainability plans.

Click here for more information and to register.

California Water Law Symposium: California groundwater: SGMA and beyond

February 2, San Francisco

The California Water Law Symposium is a unique collaboration of law students from seven Northern California law schools–Berkeley Law, Stanford Law, UC Hastings College of the Law, University of San Francisco, UC Davis Law, McGeorge School of Law, and Golden Gate University.

Keynote speakers are Felicia Marcus, Fran Pavley, and Richard Frank.  Panel topics include groundwater contamination, interconnected surface and groundwater, tribal water rights, and adjudications under SGMA.

Click here for more information and to register.

Introduction to Groundwater, Watersheds, and the Nuts and Bolts of Groundwater Sustainability Plans

February 5-6, UC Davis

Understanding the fundamental principles of groundwater and watersheds and how we monitor, assess, and sustainably manage these resources with climate change and variability is critical and integral to Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) and other water-related programs. Whether at the local, state, or federal level, these programs are designed for sustainable development, management, and protection of water resources in California among competing users. As Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in California develop and implement their GSPs, professionals, decision makers, executives, agency employees, and stakeholders with diverse backgrounds and in a wide variety of private, non-profit, and government responsibilities at local, state, and federal levels, become directly or indirectly involved in the sustainable management and assessment of groundwater and surface water to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Yet, many participants find themselves lacking the multidisciplinary background and expertise to meaningfully participate in the technical and regulatory efforts related to water resources management. The amount of technical information available often seems overwhelming.

This shortcourse will review the fundamental principles of groundwater and watershed hydrology, water budgets, water quality, and water law and regulation in an intuitive, highly accessible fashion. Through real world examples, participants will learn about the most common tools for measuring, monitoring, and assessing groundwater and surface water resources. The course will then review the key elements of a GSP. Case studies are used so participants learn about

• development of conceptual models, water budgets, and GSP sustainability criteria;
• designing minimum thresholds and operating targets (measureable objectives) for GSPs and how to link those to monitoring networks;
• methods for addressing climate variability and climate change;
• recharge as a tool to enhance groundwater supplies;
• GSA governance; and
• available online planning resources.

Click here for more information and to register.

Groundwater Sustainability Plan Workshop

February 9, Fresno

Has your home ever run out of water, suffered from contaminated tap water, or had a dry well? Has land caved in near your community? Do you worry that these things will happen in your community and want to prevent them? These problems are happening because the water that we get from underground aquifers – groundwater – is being depleted.

In the Central Valley, we depend on groundwater for drinking, bathing, growing food, and more. To prevent our vital groundwater resources from being depleted, local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies are starting to manage the use of groundwater resources, and they want to hear from YOU about your water needs. These agencies are about to make incredibly important decisions about who gets to use groundwater, and how much. At this workshop participants will gain technical and advocacy skills that will help them participate in this process effectively.

Presented by the Leadership Counsel.

Please RSVP by January 21st by emailing or by calling 559-369-2788, extension 1003

In this water-starved California town, one citrus farmer is trying to hang on

January 16, 2019

From the Desert Sun:

“Citrus groves spread out in rows across the desert in Borrego Springs, forming a lush green oasis against a backdrop of bone-dry mountains. When the grapefruit and lemon trees bloom on Jim Seley’s farm, the white blossoms fill the air with their sweet scent.  His father founded the farm in 1957, and Seley has been farming here since 1964. He and his son, Mike, manage the business, and they hope to pass it on to the next generation of Seleys.

But the farms of Borrego Springs, like the town and its golf courses, rely completely on groundwater pumped from the desert aquifer. And it’s unclear whether farming will be able to survive in this part of the Southern California desert west of the Salton Sea in San Diego County. … ”

Read more from the Desert Sun here:  In this water-starved California town, one citrus farmer is trying to hang on

Category: News Article

Update on Owens Valley Groundwater Authority

January 15, 2019

From the Sierra Wave:

“The scope of the Owens River basin’s sustainability plan became clearer following a presentation by DBS&A’s Tony Martin at last Thursday’s meeting of the Owens Valley Groundwater Authority.  The consulting firm’s tasks include compiling data, developing a timeline and stakeholder outreach plan and pulling together ecosystem data.

The key, it seems, is setting objectives (best case scenarios) and thresholds (worst case) with enough of a spread to keep the Authority from violating its own plan but still get the plan approved by the state Department of Water Resources.

According to Martin, the OVGA can set area-specific criteria, important in light of the diversity of the water demands on the basin. … “

Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  Update on Owens Valley Groundwater Authority

SGMA IMPLEMENTATION: DWR Updates 2018 Draft Basin Boundary Modifications Based on Public Comments

January 15, 2019

From the Department of Water Resources:

The Department of Water Resources Sustainable Groundwater Management Office today released updates to the 2018 Draft Basin Boundary Modifications decisions. Based on clarifying comments received during the public comment period, three draft decisions were revised for Shasta Valley, Paso Robles Area, and Kern County basins.

For additional information, please refer to the Basin Boundary Modifications webpage.

The 2018 Draft Basin Boundary Modifications decisions, including these updates, will be presented to the California Water Commission on Wednesday, January 16, 2019.

Category: DWR Updates

YOUR HELP NEEDED: Take a Survey on Energy Used For Groundwater Pumping

January 12, 2019

The California Energy Commission has funded Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to survey municipal and agriculture water suppliers on the challenges of reducing energy associated with pumping groundwater. If you are at least 18 years of age, work for either a retail or wholesale water supplier, or a water supplier that delivers water for irrigation purposes, please click on the appropriate link below to take the anonymous survey. The survey ends Friday, February 1, 2019.

Municipal Water Suppliers

Agricultural Water Suppliers

Category: Announcement

Recharge Roundtable Call to Action

January 9, 2019

From UC Water and the Groundwater Resources Association:

There are only two ways to reduce groundwater overdraft: decrease pumping or increase recharge.

While addressing California’s overdraft will certainly require both actions, we convened a meeting of water management experts around groundwater recharge. The goal of the “Recharge Roundtable” was to address California’s severe groundwater overdraft problem through actions that would produce substantial increases in recharge in the next five years.

As a collaboration between the Groundwater Resources Association of California and the University of California Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative, we aimed to motivate focused actions that effect large quantities of recharge and produce regional benefits. The Recharge Roundtable participants and organizers produced a call to action, organized around six key questions and related action steps:

  1. How much water is hydrologically available for recharge?
  2. How much water can be recharged in different hydrogeologic environments?
  3. What are the legal and regulatory bottlenecks, and how can they be eliminated or reduced?
  4. How can hundreds to thousands of recharge projects be incentivized?
  5. What changes in reservoir reoperation and conveyance are needed?
  6. What are the water quality benefits and concerns for recharge?

It is increasingly obvious that tantalizing possibilities for increasing recharge to California’s aquifers exist, yet state and local water agencies and stakeholders are not sufficiently prepared to capitalize on those possibilities. This call to action is intended to help our state prepare.

Download the Call to Action:Recharge Roundtable Call to Action: Key Steps for Replenishing California Groundwater (Updated January 2019)

Category: New reports

DWR Finalizes Basin Prioritizations under SGMA

January 9, 2019

From the Department of Water Resources:

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) [last Friday] announced final basin prioritization for the majority of groundwater basins in the state as required under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Today’s announcement finalizes the prioritization for 458 basins, identifying 56 basins that are required to create groundwater sustainability plans under SGMA. For most basins, the results are a confirmation of prioritizations established in 2015. Fifty-nine basins remain under review with final prioritization expected in late spring.

“Prioritizing groundwater basins is a critical step along the path of ensuring sustainable groundwater supplies for future generations of Californians,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Groundwater management is a big, complicated endeavor for California, which is why DWR is investing heavily to provide local planning entities with technical assistance to be successful.”

SGMA requires local agencies throughout the state to sustainably manage groundwater basins. Basins identified as high- or medium-priority are required to adopt groundwater sustainability plans beginning in 2020. DWR is required to reassess groundwater basin prioritizations any time it updates basin boundaries. This prioritization for 458 basins incorporates the basin boundary modifications finalized in 2016. Prioritization is based on factors such as population, irrigated acreage, and the number of wells in the basin. Changes in prioritization generally reflect changed conditions or new information about existing conditions.

Today’s prioritization reflects updates based on new requirements under SGMA, including adverse impacts to habitat and streamflow, adjudicated areas, critically over drafted basins and groundwater related transfers.

Twenty-one basins were changed to ‘very low’ because they are covered by adjudicated areas with existing governance and oversight in place. Adjudicated areas are not required to prepare groundwater sustainability plans and are instead required to submit annual reports to DWR on their groundwater management and monitoring.

Draft prioritizations were announced in May 2018. These finalizations come after a 94-day public comment period and four public meetings that resulted in 500 individual comments and related datasets leading to some revisions in basin prioritization.

Owens Valley Groundwater Authority seeks statements of interest

January 9, 2019

From the Sierra Wave:

“The Owens Valley Groundwater Authority is currently soliciting Statements of Interest from local individuals, entities or groups interested in participating as an “Interested Party,” which has a voting interest in the OVGA Board.

The OVGA was created to comply with California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requirement that local agencies sustainably manage groundwater in the Owens Valley Groundwater Basin. The basin includes the Owens, Round, Chalfant, Hammil, and Benton Valleys as well as Fish Slough. … ”

Read more from Sierra Wave here:  Owens Valley Groundwater Authority seeks statements of interest

Butte County: Helicopter survey should aid groundwater planning

January 6, 2019

From the Oroville Mercury Register:

“Butte County may soon have a better idea of what lies beneath its surface, thanks in part to the Kingdom of Denmark.  Starting in late November, a helicopter took off for several days from the Orland airport to fly a pattern over an area between Chico and Orland, and southeast into Butte Valley.  Dangling beneath the helicopter was a hoop loaded with devices that created a weak magnetic field and instruments that measured how that interacted with layers beneath the soil.

Christina Buck with the Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation explained that underground there are layers of sands and gravels that hold water, divided by layers of clay and silt that block water passage to different degrees. … ”

Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here:  Butte County: Helicopter survey should aid groundwater planning

Category: News Article