SGMA in the News

ONLINE RESOURCES to help with virtual engagement

May 28, 2020

Having difficulty how to best engage with stakeholders online?  You’re certainly not alone.  We’re all trying to figure it out.

Below are some helpful resources.

FREE ONLINE CONFERENCE: Building Our Skills Together Online

The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) have partnered to produce a series of online sessions The Building Our Skills Together Online Conference during June 2 – 4, 2020, on community engagement and equity during the COVID-19 crisis.

You Are Invited to Join Us in these free online sessions to hear from state, local, Tribal and community leaders as well as international experts in the field of public participation and engagement. Integrated simultaneous interpretation in Spanish will be available. Please see the conference flyers below, available in English and Spanish.

Although this is a three day conference of online sessions, there is no expectation that you must participate in all three days or in all sessions.  Many of the topics covered are intended to assist anyone who would like to learn more about:

• Using digital engagement tools effectively to plan and participate in virtual online meetings
• How organizations are adapting engagement practices during the COVID-19 crisis
• What it all means for equity and environmental justice

Please register at this link:
All sessions are free and online.

For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Sarah Rubin at or call  (916) 214-5731.

The Building Our Skills Together Conference is rooted in the experience that many people are going through during this crisis—the struggle to maintain connection in the face of the COVID-19 crisis and the even more pressing challenge to do better when it comes to authentic engagement. The crisis has highlighted once again, the pattern of deepening racial and ethnic inequities across health, the environment and the economy.

Local Government Commission’s New Virtual Engagement Best Practices Guide

From the Local Government Commission:

The current COVID-19 shelter-in-place conditions are shifting much of our work and engagement to virtual settings.

To help you and your community adapt to these new circumstances, LGC has developed the following guide to Virtual Engagement Best Practices.

This 12-page guidebook walks you through some of the most important considerations in developing your virtual engagement event, highlighting some of LGC’s lessons learned through our 35+ years experiencing connecting leaders and engaging communities.

We hope this guide will help you and your community develop more effective, interactive virtual events during this unprecedented time. Please share this resource broadly with your networks.

Click here for the Guide to Virtual Engagement Best Practices.

NEW REPORT: Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Water Security through Resilience

May 28, 2020

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Institute for Water Resources (IWR) released a report titled Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Water Security through Resilience.

With the water needs of society increasing and becoming increasingly diverse, water management and planning are more challenging than ever. Water security in all its forms is as important, but seems progressively difficult to achieve. Additional water storage and flood risk management is needed, but major new surface infrastructure projects seem unlikely.  Water storage underground (managed aquifer recharge, or MAR) is an alternative to augment surface storage and increase resilience of USACE projects while improving the Nation’s water security.

MAR is a term that covers artificial recharge, aquifer storage and recovery, riverbank and riverbed filtration, groundwater banking, and other mechanisms of purposeful water recharge to aquifers for later recovery.  MAR use has grown rapidly over the last two decades, progressing from an often-experimental concept to a management tool used in over 1000 sites around the world.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and its partners have engaged, or considered engaging, in the use of MAR in a variety of settings and purposes, throughout the United States. These purposes include:

      • Flood risk management -Recharge of floodwaters, in combination with surface storage, can dampen the flood peak.
      • Aquatic ecosystem restoration – Discharging stored groundwater may help maintain timely environmental flows.
      • Drought resilience – MAR can provide back-up storage for multi-year droughts without losses due to evaporation.
      • Salt-water intrusion prevention – Replenishing coastal aquifers can provide additional agricultural and potable water supply while keeping salt water at a safe distance.
      • Multi-purpose projects – Urban water projects can combine wastewater reuse, wetlands restoration, recreational and educational opportunities, and MAR.

This report examines how MAR has been, is being, or could be used in conjunction with USACE Civil Works water resources projects. The report summarizes some of USACE’s authorities for using MAR, provides numerous examples of USACE activities involving MAR, reviews the experience of other US government agencies and Departments, and considers how MAR can be integrated into the USACE civil works planning process and new initiatives.

The report is available for free download from the IWR Library.

Learn More

For more information, visit:

Category: New reports

NEW RESEARCH: Shrub encroachment on grasslands can increase groundwater recharge

May 28, 2020

From the University of California Riverside:

Grasslands across the globe, which support the majority of the world’s grazing animals, have been transitioning to shrublands in a process that scientists call “woody plant encroachment.”

Managed grazing of drylands is the most extensive form of land use on the planet, which has led to widespread efforts to reverse this trend and restore grass cover due to the belief that it results in less water entering streams and groundwater aquifers.

A new study led by Adam Schreiner-McGraw, a postdoctoral hydrology researcher at the University of California, Riverside, modeled shrub encroachment on a sloping landscape and reached a startling conclusion: Shrub encroachment on slopes can increase the amount of water that goes into groundwater storage. The effect of shrubs is so powerful that it even counterbalances the lower annual rainfall amounts expected during climate change.

Click here to continue reading this article.
Category: New reports

MONITORING WELLS: DWR Helps Locals by Installing ‘Eyes Underground’

May 28, 2020

From the Department of Water Resources:

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, passed in 2014, requires locally formed groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) to create 20-year plans, called groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs). These plans map out how GSAs will manage their groundwater for long-term sustainability, which can be challenging when there isn’t a clear understanding of the movement, depth, quantity, quality, and interaction of groundwater with surface water in a basin.

To help fill in this missing information, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) works with local water agencies to install groundwater monitoring wells. Unlike water production wells, monitoring wells do not remove groundwater, but instead use one or more small diameter pipes placed anywhere from 50 feet to 2,000 feet deep. The pipes house electronic equipment that continuously measures groundwater level information. Groundwater samples can also be manually collected from these wells to check for water quality.

Read more from DWR News here:  Monitoring Wells: DWR Helps Locals by Installing ‘Eyes Underground’

WANT TO KNOW MORE?  Check out DWR’s Technical Services, which includes monitoring well installation, geophysical logging, geologic logging, groundwater level monitoring training, borehole video logging, and other field activities – and can even be at no cost to qualifying GSAs.  Go to this page and click on the Technical Services tab.

Category: News Article

WATER WRIGHTS: Friant Water Authority, Westlands, Pixley Groundwater Commission, and more …

May 28, 2020

Water Wrights provides coverage of Central Valley water meetings.  All coverage written by Don Wright.

Read more meeting coverage and sign up for email service at

Category: Water Wrights

CALENDAR: Upcoming groundwater events

May 28, 2020

3rd Annual GSA Summit (Virtual Conference)

June 10-11

The Third Annual GSA Summit, now a virtual event held June 10-11, is an opportunity to celebrate a significant milestone with the first round of GSP submittals (due at the end of January) and to exchange information, ideas and best practices for successful GSP development and implementation.

This year’s discussion sessions will include new information and approaches to topics such as:

      • Lessons learned from 2020 GSPs
      • Best approaches for effective stakeholder engagement
      • How to coordinate GSA governance with other government agencies
      • Different ways to establish sustainable management criteria
      • Input on GSP development from various stakeholder groups
      • Data gap assessment and GSP implementation

Keynote speakers from State Board and DWR will provide reflections on the SGMA legislation development and implementation and provide insights on future program developments.

Click here to register.

WEBINAR: Resilience from Below: Proactively Managing Groundwater to Sustain Communities and Nature in an Uncertain Future

June 17, 12pm to 1pm

Presented By: Maurice Hall, Ph.D., Associate Vice President, Ecosystems-Water, Environmental Defense Fund

In his David Keith Todd Distinguished lecture for 2019, Maurice Hall will share his vision on how more holistic and inclusive groundwater management can increase the resilience of our water supply and sustain and enhance the services that groundwater basins provide for a wide range of stakeholders.

Maurice will share some suggestions on how the flexibility offered by California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act allows for innovative approaches that support multiple benefits and how engaging stakeholders beyond water interests in shaping groundwater management can lead to more resilient rural communities and strengthen regional cooperation.

Click here to register.

Principles of Groundwater Flow & Transport Modeling Course

September 21-23, UC Davis

This course introduces the conceptual principles and practical aspects of groundwater modeling in an intuitive yet comprehensive manner. The course objective is to demystify the use of groundwater models by providing solid understanding of the principles, methods, assumptions, and limitations of groundwater models, as well as hands on experience with the planning, preparation, execution, presentation, and review of a modeling project.

The course reviews the concepts of groundwater flow and transport, and of finite difference and finite element methods. It then provides an overview of various software programs for groundwater flow and transport modeling and accompanying pre- and post-processing programs. The course includes hands-on exercises based on the USGS MODFLOW flow model and MODPATH and MT3D transport models.

The course is taught by experienced instructors familiar with many aspects of groundwater modeling and California hydrogeology. At the end of the course, participants should be able to understand and actively engage in planning, supervision, and/or review of groundwater modeling projects, whether in the context of basin planning, groundwater sustainability/SGMA, or for site investigations.

Click here to register.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES: Groundwater remediation, DWR’s Technical and Facilitation Support Services

May 28, 2020

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Proposition 68 Groundwater Treatment and Remediation Grant Program SDAC Solicitation

From the State Water Board:

The Division of Financial Assistance (DFA) is administering the Proposition 68 Groundwater Treatment and Remediation Grant Program. We are pleased to announce a new streamlined solicitation for Severely Disadvantaged Communities (SDAC).  For those interested, more information is available on the Proposition 68 Groundwater Treatment and Remediation Grant Program website.

This solicitation will close July 17, 2020 at 5:00 pm.

If you have any questions, please contact us at, Subject Line: Prop 68 Groundwater Treatment and Remediation Grant Program SDAC Proposal Solicitation.

SUPPORT FOR GSP DEVELOPMENT: DWR’s Technical and Facilitation Support Services

DWR’s Technical Support Services (TSS) supports Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) as they develop and implement their Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). TSSs goal is to provide education, data, and tools to GSAs at both regional and statewide scales to build the capacity needed to achieve sustainability. TSS is available to GSAs through our Region Offices or contractors pending funding availability.

Click here for a 2-page fact sheet on DWR’s technical services.

DWR’s Facilitation Support Services (FSS) help local agencies work through challenging water management situations. Under SGMA, groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) shall encourage the active involvement of diverse social, cultural, and economic interests and consider all beneficial uses and users of groundwater when developing and implementing groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs). Sometimes GSAs need the help of professional facilitators to foster discussions among diverse water management interests and local agencies.

Learn more about DWR’s Technical and Facilitation Support Services by going to this page and scrolling down to Technical and Facilitation tabs.

SGMA in the news

May 28, 2020

Mendocino City Community Services District Board adopts groundwater ordinance, contingency plan:  “The Mendocino City Community Services District Board held a special meeting May 18 to vote on their groundwater extraction permit and water shortage contingency plan ordinances.  The vote followed familiar lines, with Board President Harold Hauck, Vice President Jim Sullivan and board member Jean Arnold voting yes, and board member Otto Rice voting no.  Rice said that he agreed with the concept of managing groundwater and sharing resources but remained unhappy about the process the board has taken. The process is dictated by California Water Law. The reason the ordinances were voided last year is that the law was not followed when the ordinances were passed over a decade ago. … ”  Read more from the Mendocino Beacon here: Mendocino City Community Services District Board adopts groundwater ordinance, contingency plan


Feds say Tule groundwater could continue to sink:  “Without the construction of the 152-mile Friant-Kern Canal in 1951 at the cost of $61 million, many of the best producing ag areas along the east side of the San Joaquin Valley would be out of business. That’s because farmers had pumped themselves dry by the late 1940s. Productive citrus growing areas like Orange Cove, Lindsay and Terra Bella have little groundwater available to this day.  The canal serves farms and communities from Chowchilla in the north to Arvin Edison near the Grapevine in the south. Its waters boost the area’s economy to the tune of millions of dollars.  As the Valley moves forward on sustainable groundwater monitoring plans and proposed pumping restrictions by district, the gravity-fed canal that is key to survival for 15,000 east side farms continues to be impacted by subsidence. ... ” Read more from the Foothills News-Gazette here: Feds say Tule groundwater could continue to sink

ENVIRO DOCS: A look at the Friant Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project:  “On May 8, the Bureau of Reclamation and Friant Water Authority released a draft environmental impact statement/environmental impact report for the project to repair a 33-mile stretch of the Friant-Kern Canal in the eastern San Joaquin Valley which has been damaged by subsidence. This has reduced capacity of the canal, resulting in a reduction of water deliveries of up to 300,000 acre-feet in certain water years. The Friant Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project would restore capacity from the current estimated 1,600 cfs to the original design capacity of 4,000 cfs.  The release of the documents starts a public comment period that will end at 5 p.m. on June 22. The Bureau of Reclamation and the Friant Water Authority will host an online public meeting on June 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to collect public comments. ... ”  Continue reading at Maven’s Notebook here:  ENVIRO DOCS: A look at the Friant Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project

Feinstein introduces bill to restore San Joaquin Valley canals, improve water supply:  “Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced the Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act, a bill to authorize $800 million in federal funding to repair critical canals in the San Joaquin Valley damaged by land sinking from overpumping of groundwater, known as subsidence, and for environmental restoration.   If the canals are not restored to their original capacity, 20 percent of the farmland – approximately 1 million acres – might have to be retired in a region that produces $36 billion in crops annually, including a third of the nation’s produce.  Representatives Jim Costa and TJ Cox (both D-Calif.) have introduced similar legislation in the House. ... ”  Read more from Maven’s Notebook here: Feinstein introduces bill to restore San Joaquin Valley canals, improve water supply

NRCS partnership to enhance San Joaquin Valley water efficiency:  “The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is working with American Farmland Trust (AFT) to help enhance San Joaquin Valley water efficiency.   The San Joaquin Valley Land and Water Conservation Collaboration is being made possible through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program from NRCS, in coordination with state and local partners.  “We’re going to over the next five years, have some pretty sizable achievements,” said AFT California Regional Director Kara Heckert. “To protect our agricultural land in the valley to ensure resilience to climate change through healthy soils, high-quality surface and groundwater supplies, and environmentally sound habitats for fish and wildlife.” ... :  Read more from Ag Net West here: NRCS partnership to enhance San Joaquin Valley water efficiency

Ripon OKs groundwater JPA with SSJID, Escalon:  “The City of Ripon is now part of the South San Joaquin Groundwater Sustainable Agency.  The Ripon City Council recently approved the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement, partnering with the South San Joaquin Irrigation District and City of Escalon.  “The State requires we provide groundwater sustainability,” said City Administrator Kevin Werner on the Groundwater Sustainability Agency as a Joint Powers Authority at the May 12 meeting. ... ”  Read more from the Ripon Advance here: Ripon OKs groundwater JPA with SSJID, Escalon

Nut of the Future? With droughts inevitable, more farmers are switching from almonds to pistachios, but not everyone is happy about it:  “Rain scarcely fell in the San Joaquin Valley in 2013, the second year of California’s five-year drought and one of the driest years in the state’s recorded history. For Sarah Woolf and her family, growers of tomatoes, vegetables, grapes and almonds, these unprecedented conditions, coupled with new restrictions on groundwater pumping, prompted a shift of gears: They would plant drought-hardy pistachios. … ”  Read more from Comstock’s Magazine here:  Nut of the Future?

Category: News Article

WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: Developing a water budget

May 14, 2020

DWR’s draft water budget handbook provides step by step guidance and potential data sources for calculating a water budget – with or without models

With water availability being an important concern, water managers often use water budgets to quantify and manage water resources.  A water budget is an accounting of the rates of the inflows, outflows, and changes in water storage in a specific area; however, as simple as that might sound, developing an accurate water budget can be a difficult and challenging endeavor.

To address this problem, the Department of Water Resources has developed a water budget handbook, which is intended to demystify the process of developing a water budget by distilling the process down into specific steps, providing guidance as well as specific advice on how to determine a water budget, with or without the use of models.  In the spring of 2020, Department staff held a webinar to introduce water managers and interested stakeholders to the content in the water budget handbook.

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

Groundwater: The charge to recharge needs to be data driven

May 14, 2020

In the world of groundwater recharge, not all dirt is created equal.

Where, when, how much and how fast water can best be recharged into our depleted aquifers has become a critical question in the Central Valley.

A new tool aims to help answer those questions at the field-by-field level or up to an entire county.

The Groundwater Recharge Assessment Tool, or GRAT, was spearheaded by Sustainable Conservation, a nonprofit group that works to find collaborative solutions to some of California’s thorniest problems, including water and land use in the valley. It worked with Earth Genome, an environmental data crunching group, to develop GRAT.

Click here to continue reading at SJV Water. 
(Free registration required)