SGMA in the News

Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency looking at user fee options

September 27, 2018

From the Soledad Bee:

“Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency is looking at two options to impose fees on groundwater users.

The fee options come as the next phase in the state’s goal to manage groundwater resources. The ultimate goal of the agency is to create sustainable management practices considering the next 20 to 40 years of groundwater.

The agency began with three options for a fee schedule to fund its operational costs.

The fee revenue is projected to start funding costs in July 2019. … “

Read more from the Soledad Bee here:  Groundwater agency looking at user fee options

Category: News Article

Blog: What California’s history of groundwater depletion can teach us about successful collective action

September 26, 2018

From EDF’s Market Forces blog:

California’s landscape will transform in a changing climate. While extended drought and recent wildfires seasons have sparked conversations about acute impacts today, the promise of changes to come is no less worrying. Among the challenges for water management:

These changes will make water resources less reliable when they are needed most, rendering water storage an even more important feature of the state’s water system.

Continue reading at the Market Forces blog here:  What California’s history of groundwater depletion can teach us about successful collective action


San Luis Obispo County claims a victory in ongoing legal battle with landowners over water rights

September 26, 2018

From the San Luis Obispo Tribune:

“A jury this week affirmed that public water suppliers in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin have established rights to use underground water supplies consistent with historical practice even during times of shortage, San Luis Obispo County officials said in a news release.

The jury reached the verdict Sept. 24 after a month-long trial, finding that public water suppliers —including the county, the city of Paso Robles, Templeton Community Services District and San Miguel Community Services District — have established a “prescriptive right.” … “

Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: SLO County claims a victory in ongoing legal battle with landowners over water rights

Category: News Article
Keywords: Water Rights

Jury reaches verdict in trial over Paso Robles Groundwater Basin rights

September 26, 2018

From KSBY:

“A Santa Clara County jury decided this week that public water suppliers in San Luis Obispo County have the right to use water from the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin to supply the communities they serve, county officials announced Wednesday.  Those suppliers include the City of Paso Robles, County of San Luis Obispo, Templeton Community Services District, and San Miguel Community Services District.

North County property owners filed the “quiet title” lawsuit in 2013. At issue was whether the landowners’ right to use groundwater takes precedence over the public water suppliers and if, during times of shortage, the public suppliers would have to cease pumping from the groundwater basin. … “

Read more from KSBY here: Jury reaches verdict in trial over Paso Robles Groundwater Basin rights

Category: News Article
Keywords: Water Rights

This week at the Groundwater Exchange …

September 26, 2018

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Groundwater Exchange’s weekly newsletter!  (Want to subscribe?  Click here.)

Each week, we’ll highlight new content, forum topics, and other website developments, along with a look at groundwater in the news across the state.

We’re still working on the basin pages, and soon through technical wizadry, there will be the integration with the California Water Library, but the resource pages are relatively complete – such as Developing a Groundwater Sustainability Plan , so I invite you to visit the main page or use the site index and explore.

Also note there is a calendar of groundwater events available on the main menu bar.

One section worth exploring is the Tools and Resources section located in the lower right-hand corner of the main page.   Do you have trouble getting around DWR’s website?  Check out the State Agency and USGS Resources page and hunt for the basin boundary modification page no longer.  Need to look at the monitoring requirements in the GSP regulations?  On the Legislation and Regulations page you can read and print out just the section you need.  DWR, NGOs, and academic institutions have developed numerous tools and data sources to support SGMA implementation.  Visit the Tools and Data Directory where you can view all the available tools and data sources and filter for just the information you are looking for.

Be sure to sign up for our webinar on October 11 where we’ll give a full website tour.  Click here for details and to register.

Lastly, this website was built to support successful implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  We hope it will be a useful tool for everyone participating in the sustainable management of the state’s groundwater basins.  If you have documents, resources, events to share, or suggestions on how this website could be improved, please let us know.

Category: This week

Marin cedes supervision of water basin to Sonoma County

September 23, 2018

From the Marin Independent Journal:

“Marin County is modifying the boundaries of two of its five groundwater basins to avoid having to create a new agency to monitor one basin and make a plan for recharging it, as mandated by state law.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday authorized modifying the boundaries of the Sand Point Area Basin, which is adjacent to the Wilson Grove Basin, underlying the Dillon Beach and Lawson’s Landing area. The Sand Point Area Basin has been designated as low priority.

Sand Point Area Basin’s boundaries will be adjusted to encompass the portion of the Wilson Grove Basin that extends into Marin, thereby relieving the county of its responsibility to form an agency and develop a plan. … “

Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Marin cedes supervision of water basin to Sonoma County

Category: News Article

Kern County downsizes groundwater management role, raising concerns of state intervention

September 22, 2018

From the Bakersfield Californian:

“Concerns are rising Kern might lose local control over groundwater pumping — an activity vital to farmers, ranchers, oil producers and others — after county officials moved to scale back their own oversight role.

The county informed property owners Aug. 24 it does not have the expertise or the money to actively manage groundwater use in portions of Kern where no other management authority exists. It encouraged them to join a local water district or form their own management organization, either of which would be expected to come up with a plan for making the practice sustainable. … “

Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Kern County downsizes groundwater management role, raising concerns of state intervention

Category: News Article

Stanislaus County appeals ruling that would make it harder for farmers to dig wells

September 22, 2018

From the Modesto Bee:

“Stanislaus County will ask the state Supreme Court for a ruling on whether environmental review is a necessary step for a new water well.

In August, a state appeals court overturned the Stanislaus Superior Court’s decision in the Protecting Our Water lawsuit, which sought an injunction against county well permit approvals. The plaintiffs claimed the county was violating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in approving well permits without considering environmental harm.  … “

Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Stanislaus County appeals ruling that would make it harder for farmers to dig wells

Category: News Article
Keywords: Governance

Guest Commentary: SGMA – What’s a Farmer to Do?

September 22, 2018

Guest commentary by Don A. Wright at WaterWrights.net:

“Just when things are starting to get back to normal after the recent drought, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 has sucked all the oxygen out of the room. It’s common for irrigation and water district general managers to spend at least half their time and talent on dealing with the requirements of this law. Many have said this is the most impactful piece of water legislation since 1914 when the Water Commission Act formalized the appropriation system and centralized appropriative water right records at the state level (now the State Water Resources Control Board). Under the act, the state required new appropriators to obtain a permit from the state prior to diverting water but left groundwater alone.

The Valley’s aquifer is showing the stress of over pumping and some very real dangers lie ahead if this trend isn’t reversed. While there is plenty of room to blame misguided water policy from Sacramento – the blame won’t correct the problem. In fact most experts and laymen alike don’t see a way for business to return to usual. …

I asked some people whose opinions I respect; what can a farmer do to protect his assets? Here are some of the answers.

To read the full commentary, click here: GUEST COMMENTARY: SGMA – What’s a Farmer to Do?

Category: Water Wrights

Avoiding ‘Adverse Impacts’ of Groundwater Pumping on Surface Waters

September 21, 2018

From Stanford’s Water in the West:

“Local agencies in critically overdrafted groundwater basins in California have less than a year and a half to draft their plans to achieve sustainable groundwater management. These Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs), formed under California’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), will need to avoid six specified “undesirable results” ranging from seawater intrusion and degraded water quality to land subsidence.

A new report by Water in the West visiting scholar Letty Belin guides these agencies through how to understand and comply with the requirement that GSAs must not cause “significant and unreasonable adverse impacts on beneficial uses of surface water.” … “

Read more from Stanford’s Water in the West here: Avoiding ‘Adverse Impacts’ of Groundwater Pumping on Surface Waters.