SGMA in the News

Tiny Northern California town is sinking, new report finds

February 4, 2019

From SF Gate:

“The tiny town of Arbuckle in Northern California sank more than two feet in nine years.  The revelation comes from a new survey that tracked subsidence — the gradual sinking of land — in the Sacramento Valley between 2008-17. The report was released last week by the California Department of Water, in coordination with 19 local and state agencies. … ”

Read more from SF Gate here:  Tiny Northern California town is sinking, new report finds


Valley agriculture and environmental experts discuss potential water exchange program

February 4, 2019

From the Fresno State Collegian:

“Agricultural and environmental leaders spoke at the Water Market Exchange Symposium in the Satellite Student Union on Jan. 24 to share their perspectives on a water market exchange program.  The symposium featured speakers from water agencies, environmental interests, disadvantaged community interests and water market administrators.

According to Fresno State California Water Institute program manager Laura Ramos, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) would result in reductions of the supply of groundwater, creating the need for a creative and innovative solution to efficiently manage it. … ”

Read more from the Collegian here:  Valley agriculture and environmental experts discuss potential water exchange program

Category: News Article

The clock is ticking for groundwater managers in California’s most over-drafted basins

February 1, 2019

Christina Babbit writes,

“By this time next year, 21 critically over-drafted groundwater basins in California must submit plans to the state’s Department of Water Resources for how to bring their basins back into balance.

With this major deadline looming, it’s crunch time for water managers and their consultants – some of whom will begin releasing draft plans in the next six to eight months seeking required public comments.

The Jan. 31, 2020, deadline was set by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which the California Legislature approved in 2014. … “

Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  The clock is ticking for groundwater managers in California’s most over-drafted basins


Survey Shows Areas of Land Subsidence in the Sacramento Valley

January 30, 2019
Data shows most of the valley has experienced little to no subsidence over the past nine years, with some exceptions

From the Department of Water Resources:

New data released today measure changes in land subsidence in the Sacramento Valley over the past nine years, finding the greatest land surface declines near the city of Arbuckle in Colusa County. According to the Sacramento Valley GPS Subsidence Network Report and accompanying fact sheet, most of the valley has experienced little to no subsidence, however, land in the Arbuckle area has sunk 2.14 feet compared with baseline measurements recorded in the same location in 2008. The report was led by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), in coordination with 19 state and local agencies.

“We’ve long known that excessive groundwater pumping causes subsidence, which is one of the many reasons we’ve pushed for sustainable groundwater management and pursued innovative tools to better manage and report subsidence throughout the state,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Data provided by studies like this inform water managers and owners of large infrastructure so they can plan for and prevent against subsidence.”

Land subsidence can damage critical infrastructure, including water delivery systems, levees, roads, and bridges. In 2017, DWR worked with NASA to release a report on San Joaquin Valley subsidence citing areas along the California Aqueduct that have experienced almost two feet of subsidence over three years.

The Sacramento Valley survey results were collected as groundwater levels were recovering from the severe drought of 2012-16, which saw groundwater levels in much of the state reach historic lows. Compared with 2011 pre-drought groundwater levels, the largest decreases were observed in Glenn and Colusa counties at 58 to 43 feet, respectively. Field work indicates that groundwater levels have recovered an average of seven feet, but more frequent and more comprehensive monitoring is needed to more accurately detail the impacts of droughts and high-water years on groundwater levels and subsidence.

The Sacramento Valley GPS Subsidence Monitoring Network, launched by DWR in 2008, surveyed 300 measurement locations in 11 counties from Shasta County in the north to Solano and Sacramento counties in the south. The 2017 resurvey effort was led by DWR’s Division of Integrated Regional Water Management (DIRWM) Northern Region Office (NRO), with the assistance of 19 state, county, and local entities.

“The data provided in this report are an example of the technical assistance we provide and the collaborative effort needed to facilitate successful and sustainable groundwater plans at the local level,” said Taryn Ravazzini, DWR Deputy Director of Special Initiatives.

DWR offers several tools that assist groundwater agencies and the public assess aquifer conditions and plan for sustainable management, including:

  • Land Use Viewer: Allows local agencies and the public to access land use survey datasets for the past 30 years.
  • Well Completion Report Viewer: Provides information about wells collected during the drilling and construction of water wells.
  • SGMA Data Viewer: Compiles many groundwater related datasets that can be used to look at groundwater levels and subsidence.

The Sacramento Valley subsidence report also concludes that areas of Yolo County experienced the most widespread subsidence, in terms of geographic area affected by subsidence, with 31 survey sites measuring a land surface decline between .3 and 1.1 feet. Other statistically significant levels of subsidence were observed at three survey sites in Glenn County (between .44 and .59 feet of subsidence) and five survey sites in Sutter County (between .20 and .36 feet of subsidence).

Keywords: Land Subsidence

Sonoma County: Well owners looking at fees for their water usage

January 27, 2019

From the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

“Water well owners in Sonoma County may get billed for their annual water usage under a proposed water-conservation plan up for discussion next week at a community meeting in Santa Rosa.

The Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) is hosting the Jan. 30 meeting to hear feedback on its proposed “groundwater sustainability fee,” which would provide funding to support the new agency. … “

Read more from Sonoma West here: Well owners looking at fees for their water usage

Category: News Article
Keywords: Pumping Fees

Salinas Valley: A little fee to manage a lot of water

January 26, 2019

From Voices of Monterey Bay:

“Residents of the Salinas Valley will soon see their utility or water bills go up – but only a little. The new fee, which is likely to be passed by July 1, will add about $2.27 for non-agricultural residents, and $4.81 per irrigated acre for agricultural users. The fee is needed to fund the valley’s newest water agency — the Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency.

If the new fee schedule passes, residents in areas managed by the new GSA can expect to likely see the fee included in their property tax bill or their water utility bill by the end of the year. … ”

Read more from Voices of Monterey Bay here:  Salinas Valley:  A little fee to manage a lot of water

Category: News Article
Keywords: Pumping Fees

Oxnard prepares for changes in groundwater use

January 26, 2019

From the Tri County Sentry (Part 1):

“The Oxnard City Council discussed its water future in detail during the Jan. 15 Oxnard City Council meeting as the group learned about how it may allocate groundwater over the next 20 years.  The group learned that it needs to make some adjustments and use less water moving forward, which will be a challenge.

Assistant City Attorney Khiri Klima made the presentation and said the Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency’s (GMA) groundwater allocation ordinance would significantly affect the city’s groundwater pumping for the next 20 years. … ”

Read more the Tri County Sentry here:  Oxnard prepares for changes in groundwater use (Part 1)

Read Part 2 here:  Water rates in Oxnard may rise in the future

Category: News Article

With the clock running for SGMA, Indian Wells Valley Water District’s workshop plans and prepares

January 26, 2019

From the Ridgecrest Independent:

“The Groundwater Authority has a little over a year left to create the Groundwater Sustainability Plan, and the Indian Wells Valley Water District is doing everything it can to ensure that happens.  The IWV Water District had its first workshop of the year on Wednesday morning, where future plans and goals of the water district were discussed.

The main objective was to ensure that every decision and action that the water district makes is in tune with what the GA is trying to achieve.  “I want to make sure that the GSP reflects our inputs,” director Stan Rajtora said. … ”

Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  With the clock running for SGMA, Indian Wells Valley Water District’s workshop plans and prepares

Category: News Article

Vignettes on Local Groundwater Management in the Sacramento Valley

January 26, 2019

The NorCal Water Association blog writes,

“Local leaders on the Sacramento Valley floor are well organized and coordinated with respect to groundwater management and the efforts to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) are all working hard to manage groundwater in a sustainable manner with a focus on completing the initial Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) by January 2022.

With the emphasis on local agency implementation of SGMA, we have asked many of the local leaders to provide their perspective on local groundwater conditions and the management necessary to manage water resources in a sustainable manner. … “

Continue reading at the Northern California Water Association blog here:  Vignettes on Local Groundwater Management in the Sacramento Valley


How Driscoll’s, the world’s largest berry company, is becoming a leader in water conservation

January 26, 2019

“Even in the depths of winter it’s easy to bite into a plump blackberry or a delicate red raspberry, thanks to Driscoll’s, the world’s largest berry company.

In late 2018, I traveled to the Pajaro Valley, west of Santa Cruz, for a tour of a Driscoll’s research facility, which provided an eye-opening view into how this family-owned company has become an agriculture leader selling berries every month of the year, and why they are so committed to water conservation. … “

Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  How Driscoll’s, the world’s largest berry company, is becoming a leader in water conservation

Keywords: Agriculture