SGMA in the News

License to pump: New web portal examines, compares and explains the permitting process of groundwater pumping across seven U.S. states:

June 6, 2019

“Overpumping groundwater poses a major threat to the availability of a critical resource, especially in the arid lands of the Southwestern United States. States across the region have sought to deal with this issue through a wide variety of regulations and permitting processes.

A new dashboard tool, created by affiliates from Stanford’s Water in the West program, compares groundwater withdrawal permitting – a common tool used by resource managers to limit groundwater pumping – to help plan for a more sustainable future.

“Western states have adopted a wide range of approaches towards regulating groundwater pumping, but information about these approaches are not always shared across the region. Our goal is to help parties in different states learn from what is happening elsewhere. This is particularly important in California, where local agencies are working to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act,” said Leon Szeptycki, executive director of Water in the West and a dashboard contributor. … ”

Continue reading at Water in the West here:  License to pump: New web portal examines, compares and explains the permitting process of groundwater pumping across seven U.S. states

Keywords: Governance

To Pump or Not to Pump: New Tool Will Help Water Managers Make Smarter Decisions

June 6, 2019

“The overpumping of groundwater in California has led to near environmental catastrophe in some areas – land is sinking, seawater is intruding, and groundwater storage capacity has shrunk.

But researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) believe machine learning could be part of the solution to restoring groundwater to sustainable levels and quality.  A team of computer and environmental scientists are developing a computational tool that will allow groundwater managers to plan and manage their precious water resources more sustainably, leading to improved resistance to droughts. … ”

Read more from Berkeley News here: To Pump or Not to Pump: New Tool Will Help Water Managers Make Smarter Decisions


Sacramento Valley Watersheds: Regional Collaborative Approaches to Maintaining and Improving Groundwater Quality for Multiple Benefits

June 5, 2019

Vicki Kretsinger Grabert writes,

“Understanding the status of California’s surface water and groundwater availability and sustainability are key goals of many programs. Sacramento Valley’s water resources managers and communities are proactively and collaboratively engaged in identifying and implementing strategies that support water resources sustainability. This includes protecting groundwater quality for multiple beneficial uses, which is being addressed through the following programs … ”

Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Sacramento Valley Watersheds: Regional Collaborative Approaches to Maintaining and Improving Groundwater Quality for Multiple Benefits

Keywords: Water Quality

SLO County set to extend Paso Robles groundwater restrictions

May 31, 2019

 “A 6-year-old county policy requiring farmers with new crops over the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin to offset their water use is poised for another extension.  San Luis Obispo County officials are concerned about a looming “gap” in regulation over the 780-square-mile basin, which has struggled in recent years with development and drought.

First adopted in 2013 amid drying wells over the basin, the county offset ordinance put a theoretical moratorium on agricultural pumping. … ”

Read more from New Times San Luis Obispo here: SLO County set to extend Paso Robles groundwater restrictions

Keywords: Governance

Stormwater recharge abilities enhanced at Seven Oaks Dam

May 31, 2019

“As Southern California’s most recent rainstorm was moving into the Inland Empire on Thursday morning, May 23, San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District celebrated the completion of an enhanced recharge project designed to enable the district to capture water from Santa Ana River during rainstorms, improving the district’s ability to recharge groundwater supply by 80,000 acre-feet a year.

The district hosted its partners Western Municipal Water District and Riverside Public Utilities as well as other local water agencies for the opening of a new diversion channel and sedimentation basin constructed south of Seven Oaks Dam and just north of Greenspot Road last year. … ”

Read more from Highland Community News here:  Stormwater recharge abilities enhanced at Seven Oaks Dam


ELLEN HANAK: Water and the Future of the San Joaquin Valley

May 29, 2019

Ellen Hanak delivers four priorities for managing the implementation of SGMA in the San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley is California’s largest agricultural region and an important contributor to the nation’s food supply, producing more than half of the state’s agricultural output.  Irrigated agriculture is the region’s main economic driver and predominant water user.

However, the San Joaquin Valley is at a pivotal point. It is ground zero for many of California’s most difficult water management problems, including groundwater overdraft, contaminated drinking water, and declines in habitat and native species.  The Valley has high rates of unemployment and pockets of extreme poverty, challenges that increase when the farm economy suffers.

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act requires local water users to bring their overdrafted groundwater basins into balance by the early 2040s.  With the largest groundwater overdraft in the State, the implementation of SGMA will have a broad impact on Valley agriculture in coming years, and will likely entail fallowing of significant amounts of farmland.

Water and the Future of the San Joaquin Valley” is the third installment of a research project by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Water Policy Center on solutions to the San Joaquin Valley’s water challenges. Ellen Hanak is director of the PPIC Water Policy Center and a senior fellow at PPIC. At the May meeting of the California Water Commission, she discussed the findings of their research and recommendations regarding the challenges facing the San Joaquin Valley.

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


SGMA Survival Tool Kit: Free event in Exeter tomorrow (May 30)

May 29, 2019

Join Water Wrights, the Tulare County Farm Bureau and the WET Center at Fresno State for the second SGMA Survival Tool Kit on Thursday, May 30th from 3:00-6:00 pm at the Exeter Memorial Building 324 N. Kaweah Ave, Exeter, CA 93221.

There is no charge and Gar Tootelian will be providing us BBQ beef sandwiches, the American Pistachio Growers Association will provide us pistachios and [Don Wright’s] 81-year old mother baked 300 homemade cookies. Tulare Farm Bureau is bringing bottled water and I’ve heard a rumor the California Milk Producers Council might show up with some milk or ice cream or who knows? butter squares and yogurt. There will be door prizes as well.

This is not a GSA meeting or a DWR or State or Regional Board meeting; there will be some DWR folks there to help with the interpretation of the law but not to tell us what to do. And of course GSAs will be a topic but the message about them will be – they are our neighbors doing some heavy lifting. They are not the enemy and need our support and input.

This meeting is about what farmers can do to prepare for SGMA before it’s implemented next year. Are their wells and irrigation systems operating optimally? Is their monitoring and record keeping up to speed? Do they have their legal and real estate ducks in a row? There are experts speaking on these subjects but we will be encouraging growers to speak as well.

For more information, click here.

Category: Public meetings

License to pump: New web portal examines, compares and explains the permitting process of groundwater pumping across seven U.S. states.

May 29, 2019

Overpumping groundwater poses a major threat to the availability of a critical resource, especially in the arid lands of the Southwestern United States. States across the region have sought to deal with this issue through a wide variety of regulations and permitting processes. A new dashboard tool, created by affiliates from Stanford’s Water in the West program, compares groundwater withdrawal permitting – a common tool used by resource managers to limit groundwater pumping – to help plan for a more sustainable future.

“Western states have adopted a wide range of approaches towards regulating groundwater pumping, but information about these approaches are not always shared across the region. Our goal is to help parties in different states learn from what is happening elsewhere. This is particularly important in California, where local agencies are working to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act,” said Leon Szeptycki, executive director of Water in the West and a dashboard contributor.

Click here to continue reading at Water in the West.

Category: New reports

DWR reverses Solano lowlands groundwater priority for now

May 23, 2019

“It appears Solano County and Vallejo have avoided a potentially costly state shift in the groundwater sustainability priority for the Napa-Sonoma Lowlands.  While the final decision by the Department of Water Resources has not been made, the state agency has for now backed off its proposal to increase the priority status from very low to medium for the lowlands.

“That would have required us, Napa County, possibly (the Solano County Water Agency), American Canyon and the city of Vallejo to form (Groundwater Sustainability Areas),” Misty Kaltreider, hydro-geological analyst for the Solano County Department of Resource Management, said in a phone interview. … ”

Read more from the Daily Republic here:  DWR reverses Solano lowlands groundwater priority for now

Category: News Article

Sonoma County approves a plan to offset Groundwater Fees in the Santa Rosa Plain

May 23, 2019

“On Tuesday, May 21, the Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Water Agency(Sonoma Water Board) and the  Sonoma County Board of Supervisors (County Board) approved a plan to offset a fee that is likely to be imposed on groundwater users in the Santa Rosa Plain (an area extending from Santa Rosa west to Sebastopol, north to Windsor and south to Cotati).

Under the plan, the County and Sonoma Water would contribute a total of up to $240,000 annually for three years to the Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA). … ”

Read more from the Sonoma Gazette here:  Sonoma County approves a plan to offset Groundwater Fees in the Santa Rosa Plain

Keywords: Pumping Fees