SGMA in the News

Glenn Groundwater Authority approves operation fee increase for water service

July 10, 2019

“On Monday the Glenn Groundwater Authority passed an operation fee increase for water service, despite meeting some opposition.  Anyone within the Glenn County portion of the Colusa subbasin except for Willows and Orland will have to pay the fee.

The board set the operation fee at $1.61 per acre, per year for the fiscal 2019-2020 year. … ”

Read more from Action News Now here: Glenn Groundwater Authority approves operation fee increase for water service

Category: News Article
Keywords: Pumping Fees

Market-based program would encourage farmers to buy, sell local groundwater

July 8, 2019

“A local water district is developing a novel, market-based groundwater trading program that, if successful, could be expanded or copied to help Central Valley farmers cope with new state restrictions against over-pumping the region’s aquifers.

The Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District’s pilot program, set for testing later this summer or early fall, would allow certain landowners to buy or sell groundwater to or from another property owner within the district. … ”

Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Market-based program would encourage farmers to buy, sell local groundwater

Category: News Article
Region: Tulare Lake

Borrego Air Ranch: A desert community in peril

July 7, 2019

“The survival of a tiny, unique, desert neighborhood is threatened because more than 60 years ago the community decided to form a small water district instead of digging individual wells.

Borrego Air Ranch is built around a private air strip where residents’ garages double as airplane hangers. It’s located on the southeastern outskirts of unincorporated Borrego Springs, less than a mile from Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

For many years, Borrego Springs has been living on borrowed time, drawing far more water from the ground than its rains replace, a practice the state says can no longer continue. … ”

Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Borrego Air Ranch: A desert community in peril


CA WATER LAW SYMPOSIUM: Questions of common supply: SGMA requirements for interconnected surface water and groundwater

June 20, 2019
The Yuba River a tributary of the Feather River flows east to west from the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Sacramento Valley in Northern California. Dale Kolke / California Department of Water Resources

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), passed in 2014, is California’s first statewide law that explicitly reflects the fact that surface water and groundwater are frequently interconnected and that groundwater management can impact groundwater-dependent ecosystems, surface water flows, and the beneficial uses of those flows.

SGMA requires groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) to manage groundwater to avoid six undesirable results, one of which is significant and unreasonable adverse impacts on beneficial uses of surface water. While this aspect of SGMA is clearly important, significant uncertainties exist regarding how GSAs will actually define and achieve this goal.  At the 2019 California Water Law Symposium, a panel of experts discussed the structure of SGMA and how it addresses these water connections, particularly in relation to fisheries and the public trust doctrine.

Seated on the panel:

The panel was moderated by Kevin O’Brien, attorney and partner at Downey Brand and organized by students at Golden Gate University School of Law.

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

State distributes grants to help implement SGMA

June 20, 2019

“With some local agencies just months away from a deadline to complete groundwater management plans, local and state officials acknowledge there have been a few speed bumps in distributing grant funding for planning and implementation. But observers say they expect the grant process overall to benefit groups working to comply with provisions of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

“There’s the old adage that there’s no free money; you take the bad with the good and the bad is, these processes always take longer,” Northern California Water Association President David Guy said. … ”

Continue reading at Ag Alert here: State distributes grants to help implement SGMA

Category: News Article
Keywords: Funding

Exeter: Groundwater Sustainability Agencies still unsure over monitoring, nearing draft sustainability plan

June 20, 2019

“Measuring the water beneath our feet takes technology that looks out of this world, and pictures that actually are.  As the deadline for sustainable groundwater plans draws near agencies in charge are looking to NASA, foreign governments and top universities to figure out how much groundwater we have and how much we can use.

California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was signed into law in 2014, it has been a mad dash to identify what is sustaabinle. Five years later, Greater Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency (Greater Kaweah) general manager, Eric Osterling says that things are getting clearer as their Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) comes into focus. … ”

Read more from the Foothills Sun Gazette here: Exeter: Groundwater Sustainability Agencies still unsure over monitoring, nearing draft sustainability plan

Category: News Article

Kern County’s recharging basins come with a pesky price

June 20, 2019

“The recharging basins near Ming and Allen Rd. are filled with water. It’s a comforting reminder that we’ll be okay during the next drought, but with that security comes with a price.

“We have thousands of acres of surface water that can potentially breed mosquitoes,” Gene Abbott, the manager of Kern Mosquito and Vector Control (KMVC) said. … ”

Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Kern County’s recharging basins come with a pesky price

Category: News Article

Indian Wells Valley: PAC discusses modeling scenarios

June 16, 2019

“The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority Policy Advisory Committee talked more modeling scenarios during its May 6 meeting from its angle.

According to committee chair Dave Janiec, the IWVGA’s technical advisory committee received updates on the current three modeling scenarios being developed for groundwater pumping.  The scenarios reflect potential options of how the IWVGA could adopt once its groundwater sustainability plan is submitted to the Department of Water Resources.

The plan is currently being developed and is due by Jan. 31, 2020 as required under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. … ”

Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley: PAC discusses modeling scenarios

Category: News Article

SGMA IMPLEMENTATION: Groundwater sustainability goals and challenges

June 6, 2019

Groundwater managers working in four critically-overdrafted basins discuss how their planning efforts are going

In basins all over California, groundwater managers are focused on developing their groundwater sustainability plans to meet the deadlines set by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  For groundwater basins designated as critically-overdrafted basins, the 2020 is right around the corner.

At the spring conference of the Association of California Water Agencies, a panel discussion brought together groundwater managers in four critically overdrafted basins to discuss their near-term goals and regional challenges in complying with SGMA.

Seated on the panel:

The panel was moderated by John Woodling, ACWA Groundwater Committee Chair and Vice President of GEI Consultants.

During the session, the panel members were asked a series of questions.  Rather than writing it up chronologically as I generally do, I have instead assembled the information into a profile for each basin.

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


Putting a Tempest into a Teapot: Can California Better Use Winter Storms to Refill its Aquifers?

June 6, 2019

“The general long-term forecast for California as climate change intensifies: more frequent droughts, intermittently interrupted by years when big storms bring rain more quickly than the water infrastructure can handle.  This bipolar weather will have profound implications for the state’s $50 billion agriculture industry and the elaborate network of reservoirs, canals, and aqueducts that store and distribute water. A system built for irrigation and flood protection must adapt to accommodate conservation.

“The effects of climate change are necessitating wholesale changes in how water is managed in California,” the state Department of Water Resources wrote in a June, 2018 white paper. … ”

Read more from the Stanford’s Bill Lane Center for the West here: Putting a Tempest into a Teapot: Can California Better Use Winter Storms to Refill its Aquifers?