SGMA in the News

Marin County may redraw water basin boundary

October 5, 2018

From the Point Reyes Light:

“In an effort to sidestep the need to form a new governmental agency and management plan, Marin County has filed an application with California’s Department of Water Resources to reconfigure the boundary of the water basin below Tomales and Dillon Beach.

The move, which supervisors authorized last month, will save the county “a lot of time and a lot of money,” Rebecca Ng, deputy director of Environmental Health Services, said. … “

Read more from the Point Reyes Light here:  Marin County may redraw water basin boundary

Category: News Article

Streamflow availability ratings identify surface water sources for groundwater recharge in the Central Valley

October 4, 2018

From California Agriculture:

“In California’s semi-arid climate, replenishment of groundwater aquifers relies on precipitation and runoff during the winter season. However, climate projections suggest more frequent droughts and fewer years with above-normal precipitation, which may increase demand on groundwater resources and the need to recharge groundwater basins. Using historical daily streamflow data, we developed a spatial index and rating system of high-magnitude streamflow availability for groundwater recharge, STARR, in the Central Valley.

We found that watersheds with excellent and good availability of excess surface water are primarily in the Sacramento River Basin and northern San Joaquin Valley. STARR is available as a web tool and can guide water managers on where and when excess surface water is available and, with other web tools, help sustainable groundwater agencies develop plans to balance water demand and aquifer recharge. However, infrastructure is needed to transport the water, and also changes to the current legal restrictions on use of such water. … “

Continue reading from California Agriculture here:  Streamflow availability ratings identify surface water sources for groundwater recharge in the Central Valley

Category: Journal article

Groundwater sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley: Multiple benefits if agricultural lands are retired and restored strategically

October 4, 2018

From California Agriculture:

“Sustaining the remarkable scale of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley has required large imports of surface water and an average annual groundwater overdraft of 2 million acre-feet (Hanak et al. 2017). This level of water demand is unsustainable and is now forcing changes that will have profound social and economic consequences for San Joaquin Valley farmers and communities. Land will have to come out of agricultural production in some areas. Yet, the emerging changes also provide an important opportunity to strike a new balance between a vibrant agricultural economy and maintenance of natural ecosystems that provide a host of public benefits — if the land is retired and restored strategically.

Once characterized by widespread artesian wells, the San Joaquin Valley now averages groundwater depths of over 150 feet below the surface, exceeding 250 feet in many areas. Decades of groundwater withdrawals have led to the declining reliability and quality of groundwater (Hanak et al. 2015; Harter et al. 2012), widespread land subsidence exceeding 25 feet in some areas (CADWR 2014; Farr et al. 2017) and degradation of groundwater-dependent ecosystems (The Nature Conservancy 2014). … “

Continue reading from California Agriculture here:  Groundwater sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley: Multiple benefits if agricultural lands are retired and restored strategically

Category: News Article

Paso Robles: Worried about North County water? Here’s how to speak your mind on groundwater levels

October 4, 2018

From the San Luis Obispo Tribune:

“Water management agencies in North County are making big decisions about the future of the Paso Robles Basin — including setting future targets for groundwater levels.

That matters because the agencies will eventually propose restrictions to cut back demand — or projects to increase supply to meet those targets in the aim of sustainability, said Carolyn Berg with San Luis Obispo County Public Works Department.

When the rate of pumping is greater than the rate of infiltration, the water table drops and shallower wells run dry. This bureaucratic process will determine what is an acceptable level for the water table. … “

Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Worried about North County water? Here’s how to speak your mind on groundwater levels

Category: News Article

Is Groundwater Recharge a ‘Beneficial Use’? California Law Says No.

October 4, 2018

From Water Deeply:

Groundwater depletion is a big problem in parts of California. But it is not the only groundwater problem. The state also has many areas of polluted groundwater, and some places where groundwater overdraft has caused the land to subside, damaging roads, canals and other infrastructure. Near the coast, heavy groundwater pumping has caused contamination by pulling seawater underground from the ocean.

But if you wanted to obtain a permit from the state to manage these problems by recharging groundwater, you could be out of luck. … “

Read more from Water Deeply here:  Is Groundwater Recharge a ‘Beneficial Use’? California Law Says No.

Category: News Article

This week at the Groundwater Exchange …

October 3, 2018

Do you have questions about groundwater?  The Groundwater Exchange can help you find answers!  You can search the Groundwater Exchange using the search bar in the upper right hand corner of the main page, or search the California Water Library for documents.  If you can’t find an answer there, you can ask a question in the forum, or use the Ask an Expert feature, which will connect you with experts from the USGS and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Participate in the forum and share your knowledge, as well as ask questions.   An active forum with knowledgeable participants would be an incredible resource!  There’s a new question in the forum: Clark has a question on agricultural water reuse.  Can you help?  (Note: Registration is required to participate in the forum, but it’s easy and free.  Click here to register.) The State Water Board will hold a public workshop on Groundwater-Surface Water interactions on December 3rd in Sacramento.  The goal of the workshop is to provide water managers, including GSAs and others, with a menu of approaches to consider as they contemplate managing their own watersheds to prevent or manage depletions of interconnected surface water.  To attend, you’ll need to RSVP before October 21st.  Click here for more detailsView this event and other groundwater events at the Groundwater Exchange calendar (also available on the main menu bar). Do you have website suggestions or feedback?  Please let us know!  Feel free to email me at  Our hope is that the Groundwater Exchange will be a valuable tool for implementation of SGMA, so if you have an idea on how this website can be improved or if you have resources to share, do let us know!

Category: This week

Butte County: Comment taken on groundwater management area boundaries

October 2, 2018

From the Chico Enterprise-Record:

“Comment is being taken on proposed boundary changes related to the managing of groundwater beneath Butte County.

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act requires development of plans to manage groundwater beneath California to avoid undesirable results like land sinking or wells going dry.  The plans are required for defined subbasins of the larger aquifers underground.

The Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation has applied to change the subbasin boundaries locally in response to requests by involved agencies, and that’s what the public is being invited to comment upon. …. “

Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Comment taken on groundwater management area boundaries

Category: News Article

DWR SGMP News: Water quality survey, Basin Boundary Modifications, GSP Initial Notifications

September 27, 2018

From the Department of Water Resources, Sustainable Groundwater Management Program:

NEW Take Our Water Quality Survey

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) invites you to participate in a survey on water quality as it relates to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) regulations. The survey will provide DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Program (SGMP) with feedback on water quality concerns. The survey results will inform DWR’s continued assistance and guidance to Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) as they prepare and implement GSPs. The survey will be available until October 10, 2018, and can be accessed here .

If you have questions or comments, please email .

NEW Frequently Asked Questions Updated

The 2018 SGMA Basin Prioritization Frequently Asked Questions have been updated.

REMINDER Basin Boundary Modifications Submission Period Ends September 28, 2018

The submission period for Basin Boundary Modifications ends at 11:59 p.m., this Friday, September 28, 2018. All information to support basin boundary modifications must be submitted on the Basin Boundary Modifications Request System .

For more information, contact Dane Mathis at or (559) 230-3354.

REMINDER Basin Boundary Modifications Public Comment Period Ends Oct. 31

Public comment on Basin Boundary Modifications ends on Wednesday, October 31, 2018. Comments must be submitted using the SGMA Portal – Basin Boundary Modification Request System .

For questions or more information, contact Dane Mathis at or (559) 230-3354.

REMINDER Submit Your GSP Initial Notification

GSAs are required to notify DWR, in writing, prior to initiating development of a GSP. GSAs must submit all applicable GSP initial notification information to DWR using the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System . Once an Initial Notification has been submitted, if changes need to be made, the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System allows edits to be made from the GSA’s login account, including the ability to withdraw a submittal.

Also, remember, “If the geographic area to be covered by the plan includes a public water system regulated by the Public Utilities Commission, the groundwater sustainability agency shall provide the written statement to the commission.” See Water Code § 10727.8.

For more information, please see Frequently Asked Questions on GSP Initial Notification Requirements or contact the Regional Coordinators in DWR’s four Regional Offices. For assistance with the system, please email .

Connect with Your Basin Point-of-Contact

DWR has designated Basin Points-of-Contact to assist local agencies and GSAs as GSPs are developed and implemented and to assist with applications for Technical Support Services and Facilitation Support Services. To determine your basin point of contact, please see the following links that provide maps and contact information:

For regional inquiries, please contact .

For general inquiries, please contact .

Category: DWR Updates

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