SGMA in the News

UPCOMING EVENTS: Free webinar on streamlined permitting for underground storage; DWR and SWB to host SGMA Workshops in January

December 11, 2019

Free ACWA webinar to highlight new state water board streamlined groundwater permit

In November the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Water Rights announced a new permitting process that provides a streamlined approval approach for diverting and capturing water from high flow events for the purposes of recharging groundwater basins.

The streamlined process is intended to directly assist Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) and other local agencies working to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Replenishing groundwater basins is an important management activity that GSAs will need to consider for inclusion on their groundwater sustainability plans and as part of basin sustainability.

ACWA is hosting a free informational webinar with the State Water Resources Control Board to share the new streamlined water rights permitting process for underground storage. The webinar will be held on Dec. 13 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. PST. Interested parties can register here.

DWR and SWRCB to Host SGMA Workshops in January

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) are hosting educational workshops in January for Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) submitting Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) for DWR evaluation. The purpose of these workshops is to discuss the following:

      1. GSP evaluation and assessment process.
      2. DWR and SWRCB interaction during GSP evaluation.
      3. Annual reporting requirements and process.
      4. DWR and SWRCB assistance programs that will support GSP implementation and future GSP updates.

In addition, DWR and SWRCB staff will be available to answer questions and provide web-tool demonstrations. Workshop dates and locations are listed below. These locations were strategically selected to be near groundwater basins with the January 31, 2020, GSP submittal deadline. A condensed version of the workshop content will be presented, and broadcasted via web, at the January 15, 2020, California Water Commission meeting in Sacramento. The workshops are free to attend, but to assist with planning, please RSVP by clicking on the “RSVP” link next to the workshop date.

January 8, 2020, 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM – RSVP

    • Paso Robles City Hall – Council Chambers
    • 1000 Spring Street, Paso Robles, CA

January 9, 2020, 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM – RSVP

    • Clovis Veterans Memorial District—Veterans Room
    • 808 4th St, Clovis, CA 93612

If you have any questions, please email

Category: Announcement

New tools added to the Groundwater Exchange

December 11, 2019


The Department of Pesticide Regulation maintains the well inventory database (WIDB) of wells sampled for pesticides by DPR and other agencies.  This database includes information about the well, the study name, the sampling agency, sample date, analysis date, analyzing laboratory, chemical analyzed, concentration reported, reporting limit, analytical method notes, legal agricultural use determination (point or non-point source determination), and the year the record was included in the database. Testing done for other water parameters (i.e. pH, salt, calcium) is not included in the database.

Click here to access the database.


RAS REALtime Aquifer Services and Dewey Data provides geophysical logs with electrical resistivity profiles that are available in an area including the broader Central Valley.  When a new well is drilled, logs are acquired to identify water bearing locations and geologic parameters.  We have logs from approximately 30,000 wells which have been drilled over periods of drought and flood.  Reviewing these logs can potentially help evaluate larger aquifer parameters.  Some wells also have hydrophysical logs, which indicate the specific flow at different depths in a particular well.  Logs can also indicate saltwater intrusion and other water quality.

Click here for more information.


The Central Valley Water Tracker is an automated system that provides up-to-date and accurate data on surface water distributions in the Central Valley. The tool has information on surface water, habitat types, crop types, and wetlands.

Click here to view this tool.


FASS represent stream systems where the State Water Board has determined that there is insufficient water supply to allow any new water right applications/registrations.  The FASS Web Map Tool provides interactive geospatial mapping of FASS along with information specific to the particular stream system, such as seasonal diversion limitations and relevant court and Board decisions.

Click here to view this tool.

Looking for more tools and data sources?
Click here to view the Directory of Tools and Data at the Groundwater Exchange.

Category: Announcement

DR. MICHAEL KIPARSKY: Can Recharge Net Metering contribute to sustainable groundwater management?

December 11, 2019

Dr. Michael Kiparsky is the founding director of the Wheeler Water Institute within the Center for Law, Energy, and Environment at the UC Berkeley School of Law and has worked at the intersection of the technical and policy aspects of water resources management for 15 years. In this presentation from GRA’s 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, Dr. Kiparsky discussed a pilot project in the Pajaro Valley that is designed to incentivize private landowners to do groundwater recharge.

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

Perspectives on Groundwater Sustainability: Q&A with Susan Harvey, North County Watch, Paso Robles

December 11, 2019

“Q: How did you get involved with sustainable groundwater management issues?

A: I have been a volunteer activist in the county for 20 years. As irrigated agriculture came in and started planting in the region it started to become obvious that we needed to pay attention to how much groundwater there was. In 2005, the County published a study they’d done of the groundwater aquifer and they published a second one in 2009 or 2010, and then a third one. As irrigated agriculture grew and we faced this drought, residents’ wells started to go dry. … ”

Read more from the We All Live Downstream blog here:  Perspectives on Groundwater Sustainability: Q&A with Susan Harvey, North County Watch

SGMA in the news …

December 11, 2019

Groundwater: A firehose of paperwork is pointed at state water officials:  “The onslaught of paperwork will be mind boggling. Eye popping. Elephant choking. Pick your metaphor and it still won’t capture the situation.  When the calendar strikes Jan. 31, 2020, water agencies around the state will have sent hundreds of thousands of pages of technical data, plans and comments meant to shore up groundwater levels in our most overdrafted areas.  Officials at the state Department of Water Resources are expecting about 45 groundwater sustainability plans to be filed by the deadline. They’ll come from 19 water basins bunched mostly in the Central Valley that are considered critically overdrafted per the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Groundwater: A firehose of paperwork is pointed at state water officials

Trading water: Can water shares help save California’s aquifers? California is by far the United States’ most populous state, as well as its largest agricultural producer. Increasingly, it is also one of the country’s most parched places. But Edgar Terry, a fourth-generation farmer in Ventura County, just outside Los Angeles, thinks he has a key to reversing worsening water stress: establishing tradeable rights to shares of fast-depleting groundwater aquifers. … ” Read more from Reuters here: Trading water: Can water shares help save California’s aquifers?


Sonoma County: Groundwater monitoring wells: a ‘picture’ of underground water connections for groundwater sustainability plans:  Ann DuBay writes, “During the months of October and November, up to  21 groundwater monitoring wells will be drilled near Sonoma County creeks   to provide new information to managers and the public on the link between groundwater and stream flows. Coordination and construction of the wells are a technical service provided by the   California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to Sonoma County’s three Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs).  Each well will be about 50 feet deep, and will be designed specifically for measuring water levels throughout the year. … ”  Read more from the Sonoma Gazette here: Sonoma County: Groundwater monitoring wells: a ‘picture’ of underground water connections for groundwater sustainability plans


San Joaquin County: Water in the bank: Coalition of agencies develops ‘historic’ sustainable groundwater plan:  “There’s progress to report in the momentous task of ensuring that San Joaquin County and surrounding communities have enough water to meet anticipated needs for the next 20 years.  Earlier this month, the Eastern San Joaquin Groundwater Authority — or ESJGWA, comprised of 16 area agencies including cities, counties and water districts — recommended that each of its member agencies adopt a mutually agreed upon Groundwater Sustainability Plan by Jan. 8. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: Water in the bank: Coalition of agencies develops ‘historic’ sustainable groundwater plan

Some farmers sell off fields ahead of groundwater law:  “Even with his eyes closed, Doug Martin can recognize the sound of every tractor on his Hanford ranch. There’s the big silver work horse, and the 40-year-old Oliver that can still run his backup generator, but the one he looks at with love is a tiny green thing from 1958. “The first time I plowed ground with it, I was seven years old,” he says, recalling how he mishandled the plow and feared he had ruined the fields. He hadn’t; his father simply re-plowed them. “This little tractor did a lot,” he says, laughing. … ”  Read more from KVPR here:  Some farmers sell off fields ahead of groundwater law


Ridgecrest: Water district board discusses GA budget:  “Discussion over groundwater authority finances once again dominated discussion at the Indian Wells Valley Water District board of directors meeting Monday night.  Board member Ron Kicinski provided fellow directors with an update on the IWV Groundwater Authority and its upcoming public workshop Thursday night at Kerr McGee Center. During the update, he noted that finances for the young agency continue to be a concern. … ”  Read more from the Taft Midway Driller here: Ridgecrest: Water district board discusses GA budget

Ridgecrest:  Proposed pump fee raise delayed:  “A proposed pump fee increase to help bolster the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s budget in 2020 fell somewhat flat at the Nov. 21 board meeting.  The recommended fee hike would have elevated the rate from a monthly $30 per-acre foot pumped to $75/acre-foot, according to IWVGA acting general manager Don Zdeba. It would turn the tables on the IWVGA ending 2020 fiscal year with $465,000 in the red to ending in the positive by $209,000. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Proposed pump fee raise delayed

Ridgecrest: Groundwater Sustainability Plan workshop set for December 12:  “The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority will hold a public workshop regarding its draft groundwater sustainability plan on Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. at the Kerr McGee Center, 100 W. California Ave.  A summary of the GSP will be presented before accepting public comments. All interested persons are invited to attend workshop.  The draft GSP is available in its entirety online at The Public Workshop will be video recorded and posted online at “” after the workshop. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Indpendent here: Groundwater Sustainability Plan workshop set for December 12


Golf course, CVWD cooperation key to keeping groundwater control local:  “Everyone knows the proverb about the man who falls off the Empire State Building and half way to the sidewalk below concludes, “so far, so good.” It’s the story we use to describe the most foolish of complacencies. The proverb is much too extreme to describe the Coachella Valley golf community’s relationship with water. Our complacency is not nearly as irrational, but it too is a complacency unsupported by fact or circumstance. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here: Golf course, CVWD cooperation key to keeping groundwater control local

Category: News Article

GROUNDWATER MARKETS: A case study of the Fox Canyon Groundwater Market

November 30, 2019
The Nature Conservancy’s Sarah Heard goes through the mechanics of the market, the first to be formed since the passage of SGMA

A water market is much like a stock market for water​, but instead of ​trading stocks and bonds, sellers in water markets offer short- or long-term ​transfers of water.  Water ​trading can be an effective tool for water managers to provide flexibility in the allocation and use of water by moving water to where it is needed most, especially during times of drought. Water transfers can also help accommodate shifts in water demand over the long-term.  However, water markets must be carefully designed so they function effectively while avoiding adverse impacts to other water users or unreasonable impacts on the environment.

Sarah Heard is Director of Conservation Economics & Finance with the California chapter of The Nature Conservancy where she does market-based work on strategies to support the biodiversity of the lands, waters, and oceans by incorporating economic and financial tools.  At the Groundwater Resources Association’s Western Groundwater Congress, Ms. Heard gave this presentation on the Fox Canyon Groundwater Market, the first groundwater market since the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Click here to read this article.

Keywords: Water Markets

CA WATER COMMISSION: An update on implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (or SGMA)

November 30, 2019
DWR’s Taryn Ravazzini updates the Commission on the Department’s activities, including major milestones, 2019 activities, and the Department’s technical and financial assistance

In September of 2014, Governor Brown signed a package of legislation known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) which created a framework for local agencies to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) tailored to their regional needs.

To date, SGMA implementation has included local agencies forming groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs), two rounds of basin boundary modifications and basin prioritizations, and alternative plan reviews.  Next, SGMA requires GSAs to prepare GSPs which will result in sustainable management of groundwater basins within 20 years.  For basins designated as critically overdrafted, the plans are due by January 31, 2020; other high and medium priority basin plans are due on January 31, 2022.

At the November meeting of the California Water Commission, Taryn Ravazzini, DWR Deputy Director for Statewide Groundwater Management, updated the Commission on DWR’s recent activities and milestones related to SGMA.

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

Managing Flood Water for Aquifer Recharge: Economic Considerations for Policy

November 30, 2019

Ellen Bruno, University of California Berkeley; Andrew Ayres, Public Policy Institute of California; and Emmanuel Asinas, California Department of Water Resources.

Groundwater is a critical source of freshwater. As of 2015, groundwater contributed almost 40% of the public water supply in the U.S.1 Many groundwater basins, however, have suffered from declining groundwater stocks due to sustained over pumping, leading to higher pumping costs, land subsidence, and other negative consequences.

California’s Central Valley overlays one such declining aquifer system. Amid an extreme drought, the state passed a law in 2014, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The legislation requires local public agencies to address groundwater overdraft and its negative consequences by 2040.

As shown in Figure 1, SGMA applies to over 100 basins that, in total, account for over 90% of the state’s groundwater pumping.2 To meet their goals, groundwater agencies may either require or incentivize users to pump less (demand-side approach), find additional water to recharge the groundwater (supply-side approach), or undertake some combination of both.

This article discusses one supply-side approach: using flood water for managed aquifer recharge (flood-MAR). First, we discuss the availability of flood water for managed aquifer recharge in California.  Then, we showcase how an auction mechanism for this scarce resource could promote its efficient and equitable allocation.

Click here to read this article at the Global Water Forum.

Providing ‘Overdraft’ Protection for Groundwater in California’s Pajaro Valley

November 30, 2019

While California’s recent drought is officially over, more intense rainfall means more rain is running off, rather than soaking into the ground. But what if some of this water could be collected to help recharge thirsty aquifers and mitigate the effects of overdraft?

At Driscoll’s, we’ve long advocated for responsible and collaborative solutions to groundwater management, and seek to grow in harmony with our communities. Water is a shared resource, and we all must work together at the local level to ensure it’s being managed well to keep our communities, businesses and ecosystems healthy for generations.

That’s why, over the past few years, we’ve been working with UC Santa Cruz, the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency, and an independent grower on the Bokariza-Drobac stormwater infiltration system — an innovative groundwater-recharge project in the Pajaro Valley.

Click here to read more from Sustainable Brands.

Category: News Article

Programs pursue groundwater quality goals

November 30, 2019

Pilot programs in two regions of the San Joaquin Valley will serve as templates for other areas developing plans to prevent fertilizer and irrigation runoff from entering groundwater supplies. The programs will also create plans to provide clean drinking water to disadvantaged communities.

The Turlock and Kings River groundwater subbasins are among six in the Central Valley designated as high priority due to nitrate levels that exceed 10 milligrams per liter. Affected stakeholders in the two subbasins are using grant funds from the State Water Resources Control Board for pilot programs to develop plans for compliance.

Wayne Zipser, a director of the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition, which works with irrigators in Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties, described the Turlock Subbasin Management Zone Pilot Program as “a proactive approach before this regulation even happens.”

Continue reading from Ag Alert by clicking here.

Category: News Article
Keywords: Water Quality