SGMA in the News

Indian Wells Valley: Update on imported water provided

May 23, 2019

“A firm hired by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority is already in the initial phase to find sources of imported water for the valley, according to a progress report delivered at a Thursday board meeting.

IWVGA general manager Don Zdeba briefed the board of director that Capitol Core Group, which was retained in March, is looking at what water supply options are available and how to secure funding to ultimately purchase and develop infrastructure to deliver into the valley. … ”

Read more from the Taft Midway Driller here:  Indian Wells Valley: Update on imported water provided

Category: News Article

DWR SGMA NEWS: Draft basin prioritization for modified basins meeting video available; C2VSimFG BETA2 model released; Public comment period opens for SGM grant program; and more …

May 22, 2019

NEW Draft Basin Prioritization for Modified Basins Meeting Video Available

The recorded video of the Draft Basin Prioritization for Modified Basins Meeting held on May 13, 2019, and the PowerPoint presentation are now available online. The public comment period for 2019 Basin Prioritization Phase 2 remains open through May 30, 2019.

For questions, email sgmps@water.ca.gov.


NEW GSAs May Need to Update Posted Notifications

Many existing groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) need to modify posted notifications to align with new 2018 basin boundaries, reflect new basin names, or clarify groundwater management intent.

If your GSA has been affected by a basin boundary or basin name change you should update that information on the SGMA Portal. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) encourages GSAs to clearly define exclusive groundwater management boundaries on the SGMA Portal before adopting and submitting a groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) to certify that a basin has complete GSA coverage. A GSP Initial Notification may also need to be revised or re-submitted. To modify existing GSA information, an authorized user must log into the GSA Formation Notification System and follow the instructions on page 7 of this document.

DWR has updated its GSA Frequently Asked Questions and GSA Formation Notification Guidelines documents to help local agencies and GSAs make informed decisions when establishing or reorganizing basin-wide governance.

For more information, visit DWR’s Groundwater Management webpage.

For questions, please email sgmps@water.ca.gov.


NEW C2VSimFG BETA2 Released

The Beta 2.0 version of the Fine Grid California Central Valley Groundwater-Surface Water Simulation Model (C2VSimFG BETA2) is now available to assist GSAs during the development and implementation of GSPs. C2VSimFG BETA2 is a computer program that simulates water movement through the linked land surface, groundwater, and surface water flow systems in California’s Central Valley using the DWR-developed software, Integrated Water Flow Model Version 2015 (IWFM-2015). The new version is an update to the model released in May 2018. DWR spent the last year actively updating the newest model to incorporate additional data, feedback, and understanding of the complex hydrology, hydrogeology, and operations in California’s Central Valley. The C2VSimFG BETA2 includes updates to inflows, diversions, evapotranspiration, precipitation, land use, root zone parameters, urban per capita water use, and select aquifer parameters.


NEW Public Comment Period Opens for SGM Grant Program

DWR opened the 45-day public comment period for the Draft Proposition 68 2019 Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program Guidelines and the Planning – Round 3 Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) to make approximately $47 million available for competitive grants.

The public comment period began on May 3, 2019, and will close at 5 p.m., on June 17, 2019. DWR will release the final guidelines and solicit proposals following the review of public comments.

For more information on this solicitation and to view the full program schedule, click here. Email comments to SGWP@water.ca.gov.


NEW DWR Updates SGMA Data Viewer with Subsidence Information

DWR has updated the Sustainable Groundwater Management Program’s SGMA Data Viewer to include updated subsidence information to help GSAs, water managers and others implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

DWR is providing these standardized, statewide datasets to assist GSAs in the creation and ongoing development and implementation of GSPs. The new information is available on the SGMA Data Viewer mapping application under the land subsidence heading. It includes historical subsidence information from 1949 to 2005, and updated satellite based remote sensing InSAR subsidence data from January 2015 to June 2018. InSAR is a technique for mapping ground deformation using radar images of the Earth’s surface that are collected from orbiting satellites.

DWR has also created an online tutorial on how to use the SGMA Data Viewer and view the new information. For additional SGMA related data and tools, visit DWR’s Groundwater Data and Tools webpage and the California Natural Resources Open Data Platform.

For questions, email sgmps.water.ca.gov.


REMINDER Take a Survey to Help Plan the Next GSA Forum

DWR hosted a GSA Forum in March 2019 which brought together water planners and stakeholders from across the state to share experiences and strategies as they implement the SGMA. Based on the level of interest and comments received from attendees, the forum was a beneficial venue for building networks and sharing strategies associated with SGMA implementation. DWR plans to host additional GSA Forums to further communication among SGMA water managers and stakeholders. Please complete the survey so we can use your input to help plan and improve the next GSA Forum.


REMINDER: IRWM Implementation Grants Proposal Solicitation Package Available

DWR released the final Guidelines and Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) for the Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Implementation Grant Program, which provides funding for projects that help meet the long-term water needs of the state and incorporate integrated regional strategies. Approximately $222.3 million in Proposition 1 grant funding is available for IRWM implementation projects, with $23.6 million designated for projects that provide support to Disadvantaged Communities. GSAs and SGMA stakeholders interested in IRWM Implementation funding should coordinate with their respective IRWM Region.


REMINDER DWR’s Guidance Documents Can Help with SGMA Communication and Engagement

SGMA requires GSAs to consider all beneficial uses and users when preparing GSPs. DWR has documents that provide clarification, guidance, and examples to help GSAs develop the essential communication and engagement elements of a GSP. These useful publications can be found on the Assistance and Engagement Webpage.

Guidance documents include: Stakeholder Communication and Engagement, Engagement with Tribal Governments, Stakeholder Engagement Requirements by Phase, and Communication and Engagement Plan Outline.


REMINDER Submit Your GSP Initial Notification

Before initiating development of a GSP, GSAs are required to notify DWR in writing. GSAs must submit all applicable GSP initial notification information to DWR using the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System. The SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System also allows edits to be made to a previously submitted Initial Notification, including the ability to withdraw a submittal.

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 monica.reis@water.ca.gov.


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.

For regional inquiries, please contact sgmp_rc@water.ca.gov.

For general inquiries, please contact sgmps@water.ca.gov.

Category: DWR Updates

CALIFORNIA WATER POLICY CONFERENCE: Tribal Groundwater Rights and SGMA: A New Underlying Tension?

May 15, 2019

Pauma Valley, North San Diego County. Photo by Michael Huey.

Panel discussion moderated by DWR Tribal Advisor Anecita Agustinez discusses tribal involvement in GSAs, the benefits of tribal participation in groundwater management, and tribal consultation

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (or SGMA), passed in 2014, set a course for sustainable management of the state’s groundwater aquifers by requiring Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) be formed for all high and medium priority basins in the state who then must develop and implement Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs).

The legislation provides that tribes “may voluntarily agree to participate in the preparation or administration of a groundwater sustainability plan” and are “eligible to participate fully in planning, financing, and management” – the first time this has been recognized in state law.  However, participation by tribes is voluntary; tribes are considered sovereign entities and their participation cannot be compelled.

Nonetheless, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act requires engagement with all stakeholders. Tribal interests are an important stakeholder in many basins, but most of the basins underlying tribal lands are exempt from SGMA as a consequence of relatively low intensity use of the groundwater. However, in those basins that are subject to SGMA that have tribal lands, the recent Aqua Caliente court decisions have put tribal interests front and center. What are the challenges for the tribes and non-tribe stakeholders in coming together to implement SGMA? Are tribal interests different than those of other stakeholders? How are financial inequities, if they exist, addressed?

At the 28thCalifornia Water Policy conference held in April of 2019, a panel discussed how tribal lands and tribal representatives, as independent nations, can be integrated into SGMA implementation, what some of the obstacles to doing so are, and how those hurdles might be transcended.

Seated on the panel:

The panel was moderated by Anecita Agustinez, Tribal Policy Advisor for the California Department of Water Resources.

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

OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT: Public Comment Period Opens for Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program

May 15, 2019

From the Department of Water Resources:

The California Department of Water Resources announced the opening of the 45-day public comment period for the Draft Proposition 68 2019 Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program Guidelines and the Planning – Round 3 Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP).

The public comment period began on May 3, 2019 and will close at 5 p.m. on June 17, 2019. Following the review of public comments, DWR will release the final guidelines and solicit proposals.

For more information on this solicitation and to view the full program schedule, visit the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program web page.

Comments can be submitted for the 2019 Draft PSP and Draft Guidelines by one of the following methods:

  1. Electronic Mail Transmitted comments should be sent to SGWP@water.ca.gov. Electronic files should be Microsoft Word compatible or PDF. PDF is preferred.
  2. Hard Copy via U.S. MailCalifornia Department of Water Resources
    Division of Integrated Regional Water Management
    Financial Assistance Branch
    Post Office Box 942836
    Sacramento, CA 94236
    Attention: Kelley List
  3. Hard Copy via Hand Delivery901 P Street
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Attention: Kelley List
  4. Public Meetings

A minimum of three public meetings will be held June 3 through June 11. The dates, times, and locations will be posted soon on the following website.

We also encourage you to subscribe to the SGM Grant Program’s mailing list for new solicitations, document releases, upcoming workshops, and other IRWM grant-related announcements.

If you have any questions during the public comment period, please contact us at (916) 651-9613 or at SGWP@water.ca.gov.

Category: DWR Updates

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Bureau of Reclamation makes up to $3 million available for 2019 Water Marketing Strategy Grants

May 15, 2019

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

The 2019 Water Marketing Strategy Grants funding opportunity is now available from the Bureau of Reclamation. This funding opportunity is available to water entities to establish or expand water markets or water marketing activities. Reclamation will make available up to $200,000 for simple projects that can be completed within two years and up to $400,000 for more complex projects that can be completed in three years. Up to $3 million is available for this funding opportunity.

“The water marketing strategy grants provide entities an opportunity to leverage their money and resources with Reclamation to develop a water marketing strategy to increase water supply reliability,” program coordinator Avra Morgan said.

The funding opportunity is available at www.grants.gov by searching for BOR-DO-19-F006. Applications will be due on July 31, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. MDT.

Those eligible to apply for these grants are states, Indian tribes, irrigation districts, water districts or other organizations with water or power delivery authority located in the western United States or United States territories. This includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands.

Water markets support the President’s memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West. They are between willing buyers and sellers and can be used to help water managers meet demands efficiently in times of shortage, helping prevent water conflicts. These planning efforts proactively address water supply reliability and increase water management flexibility. Learn more about water marketing at https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/watermarketing.

The funding is part of WaterSMART. WaterSMART is a Department of the Interior initiative that uses the best available science to improve water conservation and help water resource managers identify strategies to narrow the gap between supply and demand. For more information on the WaterSMART program, visit https://www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART.

Relevant Link:

Groundwater recharge in the SGMA era

May 15, 2019

Kathleen Miller writes,

“Implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was always going to be tricky. Part of the necessary growing pains of SGMA is determining how the revolutionary statute interacts with traditional tenets of water law.   As with any other sweeping legislative change, SGMA does not provide direct answers for every practical question which arises as the law is put into place.

Take SGMA’s so called “six deadly sins” – the undesirable results that newly formed groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) are tasked with avoiding, running the gamut from seawater intrusion to subsidence. One of the ways to combat undesirable results is to implement a more robust groundwater recharge program – diverting high surface water flows during wet years (as we just experienced) to aquifers. In fact, we’ve begun to see innovative projects, such as Recharge Net Metering andFlood-MAR, sprout up in the wake of SGMA to do exactly that. But how do we get water for those projects in the first place? … ”

Read more from the Legal Planet blog here:  Groundwater recharge in the SGMA era

Category: Legal Planet

Owens Valley groundwater basin goes low

May 14, 2019

“California’s Department of Water Resources came out with its latest prioritization of state groundwater basins and, tentatively, the Owens Valley basin is now low. Over the short life of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Owens Valley has gone from medium to high and now low priority.

That prioritization would have had an impact three years ago. Medium and high priority basins are required to form an agency and sustainability plan; low basins are not. The factor in the earlier ratings was water exports by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. LADWP’s portion of the basin is treated as adjudicated and not required to develop a plan. … ”

Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  Owens Valley groundwater basin goes low

Category: News Article

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board meets Thursday

May 10, 2019

“The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board of directors meets Thursday at 10 a.m. in the Ridgecrest City Council Chambers at Ridgecrest City Hall, 100 W. California Ave.

The board will hear an update from Steve Johnson, president of Stetson Engineers and the Water Resources Manager on the Plan of Action and Milestones, which outlines progress made on the IWVGA’s mandate to create a groundwater sustainability plan for the IWV basin. … ”

Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board meets Thursday

Category: News Article

LA/Inyo Standing Committee covers a lot of ground

May 9, 2019

“Here are the positive take-aways from Monday’s Standing Committee meeting: Los Angeles’s Green New Deal outlines a pathway for the City to source 70-percent of its water locally by 2035; both members of the Committee, Los Angeles and Inyo County, are open to a second look at changes to the document managing the Lower Owens River Project.

And, finally this one may put an end to rumors, or not, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power isn’t planning on using Owens Valley water to solve Indian Wells’ sustainable water problems. Water spreading in Rose Valley during the heavy 2017 run-off was a one-off. … ”

Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  LA/Inyo Standing Committee covers a lot of ground

Category: News Article

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority PAC talks water modeling

May 9, 2019

“The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority Policy Advisory Committee took a look at three water modeling scenarios currently being run for consideration by the groundwater authority and the Technical Advisory Committee on Thursday.

Specifically, the scenarios represent “straw man” hypothetical ways the GA could potentially meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act to form a Groundwater Sustainability Plan and bring the IWV groundwater basin closer to sustainability. … ”

Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority PAC talks water modeling

Category: News Article