Presentation reviews the GSA fee authorities granted in SGMA, looks at the various fees enacted by some GSAs, and a case study of how one GSA set their fees
As Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) work to develop their Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs), funding the development of those plans will become essential. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) grants specific fee authorities to GSAs, making a distinction between fees that can be charged prior to adoption of a GSP, and those fees that can be charged after the GSP is adopted.
At the American Groundwater Trust conference held in February, 2019, Attorney Jena Shoaf Acos reviewed the statutory provisions of SGMA as it relates to GSA fee authorities; Attorney Mack Carlson reviewed the fees that have been put in place by other GSAs; and fee consultant Mark Hildebrand walked through a case study of how a GSA determined what fee they would charge.
“With deadlines looming, local agencies formed under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) are focused on creating plans to sustainably manage groundwater in basins throughout the state. As the January 2020 deadline for critically overdrafted basins (2022 for high and medium priority basins) approaches, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) are charged with developing plans to avoid six “undesirable results,” including avoiding “significant and unreasonable degraded water quality.”
A report released today from Stanford’s Water in the West program and funded by the Water Foundation provides GSAs with a resource to guide them through their responsibilities regarding groundwater quality under SGMA. … ”
Read more from Stanford’s Water in the West here: New guide on avoiding degraded water quality under SGMA
The State Water Board has released new fact sheets on the following topics to assist with implementation of SGMA:
- Resources for GSAs to Consider when Complying with SGMA (4/11/2019)
- Probationary Designation and Groundwater Regulation by the State Water Board (4/11/2019)
- Stakeholder Inclusion (4/11/2019)
- State and Regional Water Boards Basics (4/11/2019)
- Funding Opportunities for Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (4/11/2019)
- Purposes of Use for Underground Storage Projects (4/2019)
These fact sheets, as well as a cover letter transmitting this information to the groundwater sustainability agencies, are available at the following website: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/gmp/sgma.html.
“A team of Stanford University researchers believe they have identified the best way to replenish the shrinking aquifers beneath California’s Central Valley. The groundwater beneath the Central Valley has been steadily depleting, particularly as the state’s $50 billion agricultural industry relied on it during a series of droughts. Each year, more water exits the aquifer than goes into it.
The study from Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, published in the journal Water Resources Research, found that unless action is taken, the ground in that region will sink more than 13 feet over the next 20 years. … ”
Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: The Central Valley is sinking as farmers drill for water. But it can be saved, study says
“The Indian Wells Valley Water District took some time during its board meeting Monday night to discuss the Groundwater Authority’s feelings on the approaching deadline for the groundwater sustainability plan while giving general updates on public outreach and bulk water station upgrades.
During a meeting last week, the Groundwater Authority’s policy advisory committee expressed concern with the timing of the completion of the GSP — due to the state by the end of January 2020. … ”
Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Indian Wells Valley Water District talks GSP, updates on improvements
“Facing a wave of opposition over proposed fees for using well water, the directors of a little-known public agency backed away from a decision Thursday and agreed to consider an alternative plan that would exempt rural residents and cost other groundwater users far less overall.
Irate residents blistered the Santa Rosa Groundwater Sustainability Agency’s board of directors with complaints over the inequity and underlying principle of the plan to make residents, ranchers, businesses, towns and cities pay — for the first time — for water pumped out of the ground. … ”
Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Groundwater sustainability board backs off fees for rural well owners in Sonoma County
“While the city struggles with the final phase of a state ordered rezone for affordable housing, it’s tackling the first phase of a possibly more complicated state ordered project based on the “Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.”
City Engineer Josh Rogers explained the new project at the April 4 city council meeting. “There are a lot of moving parts and the costs have not really been worked out yet,” seemed to be the theme of the explanation. … ”
Read more from the Reedley Exponent here: Reedley: State ordered project will raise water bills
With the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, many groundwater basins are looking towards groundwater recharge as a tool to help bring their basins into balance. “Flood-MAR” is a resource management strategy that uses flood water for managed aquifer recharge (MAR) on agricultural lands, working landscapes, and managed natural landscapes.
At the March meeting of the California Water Commission, a panel discussed Flood MAR with a focus on using agricultural lands for groundwater recharge. First, Kamyar Guivetchi from the Department of Water Resources discussed the Department’s efforts to advance the Flood MAR strategy; next, researcher Dr. Helen Dahlke discussed her research on crop suitability, soil suitability, and streamflow availability; then Don Cameron of Terra Nova Ranch discussed his experiences with on-farm groundwater recharge; and lastly, researcher Dr. Laura Foglia discussed a pilot project in the Cosumnes River basin.
“In California, the amount of water exiting aquifers under the state’s most productive farming region far surpasses the amount of water trickling back in. That rampant overdraft has caused land across much of the region to sink like a squeezed out sponge, permanently depleting groundwater storage capacity and damaging infrastructure.
The trend – and a 2014 mandate for sustainable groundwater management in the state – has ignited interest in replenishing aquifers in California’s Central Valley through managed flooding of the ground above them. … ”
Read more from Stanford News here: Stanford study offers a way to map where flooded fields best replenish groundwater
“Imagine over 600,000 acres of wilderness. You are surrounded by blue sky, mountains, rock formations and a cornucopia of plants including creosote, palo verde, cacti, and ocotillo. As you walk around, you have the opportunity to see bighorn sheep, mountain lions, kit foxes, mule deer, coyotes, greater roadrunners, golden eagles, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, quail, prairie falcons, desert iguanas, chuckwallas, and red diamond rattlesnakes.
The place in question is Anza Borrego Desert State Park. The park is also a storied place that was inhabited for thousands of years by the Cahuilla, Cupeño, and Kumeyaay (Diegueño) Indian tribes, the members of which created petroglyph and pictogram rock art. … ”
Read more from the We All Live Downstream blog here: Community Participation in Groundwater Sustainability