SGMA in the News

DWR SGMA Newsletter: Draft basin prioritization for modified basins, Survey for next GSA Forum, Stakeholder engagement resources, and more …

May 1, 2019

DWR Announces Draft Basin Prioritization for Modified Basins

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced the draft results of Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) 2019 Basin Prioritization Phase 2 for the 57 modified basins affected by the 2018 Basin Boundary Modifications. Today’s announcement begins a 30-day public comment period to allow input from the public and local agencies. DWR will also hold a public meeting to explain the results and accept public comment.

Updated Frequently Asked Questions on Basin Prioritization

Answers to frequently asked questions are provided in the Frequently Asked Questions on Basin Prioritization document.

Public Comment

A public comment period on SGMA 2019 Basin Prioritization Phase 2 Draft results for modified basins is open now through May 30, 2019. All public comments received through the process will be reviewed and evaluated.

Submit public comments.

Public Meeting

Public comments can also be provided at the following public meeting:  Draft SGMA Basin Prioritization for Modified Basins Public Meeting

Monday, May 13, 2019, at 1 p.m.
Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board
11020 Sun Center Drive, Suite 200
Rancho Cordova, CA

Agenda

Live webcast: On meeting day, click the link and scroll to “DWR Draft Basin Prioritization for Modified Basins Meeting.” You can view live video or listen to live audio.

RSVP: The meeting is free, but please let us know if you will be attending in person so we can have enough materials.

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


NEW Take a Survey to Help Plan the Next GSA Forum

DWR hosted a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) Forum on March 21, 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:

Take the GSA Forum Survey.


NEW DWR Releases IRWM Implementation Grants Proposal Solicitation Package

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. For more information, visit the IRWM Implementation Grant Program page.


NEW State Water Resources Control Board Fact Sheets Available

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announced the release of new and updated fact sheets on SGMA which include Probationary Designation and Groundwater Regulation by the State Water Board, Stakeholder Inclusion, State and Regional Water Boards basics, Funding Opportunities for Groundwater Sustainability Agencies, and Beneficial Use and Underground Water Storage Projects. These fact sheets can be found on the SWRCB’s SGMA webpage.


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

SGMA requires GSAs to consider all beneficial uses and users when preparing groundwater sustainability plans (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.


California groundwater management, science-policy interfaces, and the legacies of artificial legal distinctions

May 1, 2019

Dave Owen and Michael Kiparsky write,

“One of the many noteworthy features of California’s  Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is that it requires local government agencies to consider and address the effects of groundwater management upon interconnected surface water. That requirement is an important step towards rationalizing California water management, which has long treated groundwater and surface water as separate resources.

The requirement also is part of a larger story about evolving science and policy in a changing world. … ”

Read more from the Legal Planet here: California groundwater management, science-policy interfaces, and the legacies of artificial legal distinctions

Category: Legal Planet
Keywords: Governance

Experts tell how water availability affects land values

May 1, 2019

“One of the most frequently recurring themes of last week’s business conference of California agricultural appraisers was the impact the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, known as SGMA, is having on land values.

A packed audience of rural appraisers and other related professionals attended the three-day conference of the California Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers in Sacramento, where they heard a detailed presentation on agricultural land values by appraisers Janie Gatzman and Tiffany Holmes.

“Everything is all about SGMA these days,” said Gatzman, who runs an appraisal business in Oakdale. … ”

Read more from Ag Alert here:  Experts tell how water availability affects land values

Category: News Article

Coachella Valley groundwater levels show`significant increases’

May 1, 2019

“Groundwater levels throughout most of the Coachella Valley have increased significantly over the past decade, according to an annual analysis released today by the local water district.

The Coachella Valley Water District submitted two annual reports for the 2017-18 water year to the California Department of Water Resources, one on the Indio Subbasin and the other on the Mission Creek Subbasin, which make up most of the valley’s aquifer. … ”

Read more from Channel 3 here:  Coachella Valley groundwater levels show`significant increases’

Category: News Article

Seawater Intrusion: Understanding a Growing Threat to Freshwater

April 24, 2019

A crucial source of water for arid regions around the world faces a threat that has remained very difficult to predict or manage, until now. A Stanford-led team of researchers used remote sensing to identify areas of saltwater intrusion, a common cause of drinking water contamination in coastal areas – home to approximately 40 percent of the global population. Their novel solution, published in the Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, could provide valuable insight into aquifer systems, and increase the likelihood of freshwater security worldwide.

“Saltwater intrusion can have huge ecological and economic impacts. Accurately mapping and monitoring where saltwater is in the subsurface is critical for managing freshwater resources in coastal systems. With this new research, we aim to provide water managers with another tool to understand and manage these systems,” said Meredith Goebel, lead author and Environmental Geophysics Ph.D. candidate in Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

Continue reading at Stanford News here:  Understanding a Growing Threat to Freshwater


California groundwater management, science-policy interfaces, and the legacies of artificial legal distinctions

April 24, 2019

“One of the many noteworthy features of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is that it requires local government agencies to consider and address the effects of groundwater management upon interconnected surface water.

That requirement is an important step towards rationalizing California water management, which has long treated groundwater and surface water as separate resources.  The requirement also is part of a larger story about evolving science and policy in a changing world. … “

Continue reading at the Legal Planet Blog here:  California groundwater management, science-policy interfaces, and the legacies of artificial legal distinctions

Category: Legal Planet

Cooperation Preserves Pauma Valley Groundwater

April 24, 2019

Instead of waiting for Yuima Valley’s precious groundwater supplies to dry up, the Yuima Municipal Water District and local farmers are working cooperatively to create a sustainable long-term strategy for maintaining the region’s economy and quality of life by proactively managing the valley’s aquifer. …

Yuima farmers also have relied on groundwater supplies for decades. Crops such as citrus and avocado flourish in the valley, nestled between Palomar Mountain and Valley Center.

But Yuima farmers want a different kind of future than they see unfolding in other groundwater-dependent areas of arid West. … “

Read more from the Water News Network here:   Cooperation Preserves Pauma Valley Groundwater

Category: News Article

Community Participation in Groundwater Sustainability: The City of Weed

April 24, 2019

Angelina Cook is an environmental activist based in Siskiyou county. She advocates for including the City of Weed in the Shasta Valley Groundwater Sustainability Plan and working to protect the city’s groundwater from expanded pumping by private bottling companies. Clean Water Action’s communications manager interviewed Angelina about her experiences.

1. What basin/basins are you currently working in/involved with?

Shasta Valley Groundwater Basin

2. What has been your experience of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) process?

Read more at the We All Live Downstream blog here:  Community Participation in Groundwater Sustainability: The City of Weed


Can sensor data save California’s aquifers? 

April 24, 2019

“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. But until now there has been no reliable way to know where this type of remedy will be most effective. … ”

Read more from Futurity here:  Can sensor data save California’s aquifers?


Mission Springs Water District representative: “We’ve been hijacked by Desert Water Agency”

April 23, 2019

“A report from a citizen advisory committee in Desert Hot Springs is asking lawmakers in Sacramento to “re-work” a state law, which went into effect in 2015, that allowed the Desert Water Agency in Palm Springs to take over management authority of the groundwater distributed by the Mission Springs Water District, to people living in Desert Hot Springs and surrounding areas.

That 2015 law, called the “Sustainable Groundwater Management Act” is designed to use local water agencies for the first time, to help the state control and account for the use of groundwater in California. … “

Read more from KESQ here:  Mission Springs Water District representative: “We’ve been hijacked by Desert Water Agency”

Keywords: Governance