Stakeholder engagement and outreach

SGMA requires GSAs to consider the interests of many beneficial users and uses of groundwater, including overlying groundwater rights holders (both agricultural users and domestic well owners), municipal well owners, public water systems, local land use planning agencies, environmental users of groundwater, surface water users, the federal government, Native American tribes, and disadvantaged communities (DACs).

Key publications and resources

Stakeholder Communication and EngagementGetting involved in groundwater: A guide to GSPsCollaborating for Success: Stakeholder Engagement for Sustainable Groundwater Management Act ImplementationStakeholder InclusionEngagement with Tribal GovernmentsThe Groundwater GameExcerpts from SGMA legislation pertaining to Stakeholder OutreachGSP Regulations pertaining to stakeholder outreach

Stakeholder Communication and Engagement (DWR)

Examples and resources to engage stakeholders in Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) preparation.

Link to this content.

DWR Stakeholder-Communication-and-Engagement

Getting involved in groundwater: A guide to Groundwater Sustainability Plans

This guide helps stakeholders get involved in developing a local groundwater sustainability plan​.

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Collaborating for Success: Stakeholder Engagement for Sustainable Groundwater Management Act Implementation

The results of stakeholder engagement strongly depend on the nature of the engagement process. Therefore, the manner in which SGMA’s engagement and participation requirements are incorporated into the process will ultimately determine the degree to which these efforts further the goal of achieving sustainable groundwater management.

For local agencies and, later, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies to maximize the impact of stakeholder engagement, engagement needs to be institutionalized so that stakeholder contributions tangibly shape outcomes. Additionally, the level of and mechanisms for engagement need to be suited to the needs, desires, and interests of the stakeholders.

The intent of this paper is to convey the value of stakeholder engagement to sustainable groundwater management and to provide tools that will help maximize its benefits. Section One considers the question, what is stakeholder engagement and why is it important? Section Two then outlines the statutory requirements for stakeholder engagement in SGMA. Finally, Section Three, drawing on best practices and examples of collaborative management from around the state, provides a recommended roadmap for effective stakeholder engagement drawn specifically for SGMA implementation.

Click here to download this document from Clean Water Action.

State Water Board Fact Sheet: Stakeholder Inclusion

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Engagement with tribal governments

Resources for GSAs  to engage California’s Tribal governments, including those on Tribal lands not subject to SGMA.

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The Groundwater Game

The Groundwater Game provides players with an interactive opportunity to experience the challenges of managing increasingly scarce groundwater when there are competing needs. The game also provides players with a greater understanding of different management tools, including groundwater trading.

Publicaciones clave en español

Documento Guia para el GSP - Comunicacion y Participacion de los InteresadosParticipe en el manejo de su cuenca: Guía para entender los planes de sustentabilidad de aguas subterráneas de CaliforniaHoja de datos de la Junta Estatal del Agua: Inclusión de las partes interesadasLey de Gestión Sustentable del Agua Subterránea (SGMA)

Documento Guia para el GSP – Comunicacion y Participacion de los Interesados

Este documento guía ofrece a las agencias de Sostenibilidad del Agua Subterránea (GSA) información útil para la comunicación y participación de los interesados en la elaboración del Plan de Sostenibilidad del Agua Subterránea (GSP).

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Guía para entender los planes de sustentabilidad de aguas subterráneas de California

Esta guía está diseñada para ayudarle involucrarse en el desarrollo de un plan local de sustentabilidad de agua subterránea, que requiere la Ley de Manejo Sustentable de Aguas Subterráneas de California.

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Un folleto que explica los conceptos básicos de la Ley de gestión Sustentable del Agua Subterránea (SGMA).

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Organizations active in SGMA outreach

Organizations active in SGMA outreach

Community Water Center

The Community Water Center is a catalyst for community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy in California.  They work to build strategic grassroots capacity to address water challenges in small, rural, low-income communities and communities of color.  Visit the Community Water Center online by clicking here.

Self Help Enterprises

Self-Help Enterprises is providing a multi-disciplinary technical assistance program to assist severely disadvantaged communities (SDACs) to engage in groundwater sustainability planning to become viable partners in regional groundwater projects.  Learn more online at Self Help Enterprises.

Other stakeholder engagement resources

Inclusive public engagement

From the Institute for Local Government:

Local governments throughout California have experienced a variety of benefits thanks to inclusive public engagement. ILG provides tipsheets and resources to effectively plan and implement inclusive engagement strategies.

These resources range from the benefits of, and steps for planning successful engagement and specialized approaches to issues such as budgeting, land use, immigrant engagement, and economic development.

Whether its supporting and connecting with local leadership programs as a pipeline to engage specific populations, or partnering with local community-based organizations to reach beyond the small slice of the public that most frequently attends meetings, ILG’s inclusive public engagement resources will point you in the right direction.

Click here to learn more from the Institute for Local Government.

Open and Public: A guide to the Brown Act

Groundwater Sustainability Agencies are local public agencies that are subject to the Brown Act, which governs their deliberations and guarantees the right of the public to participate in the proceedings.

The key to the Brown Act is a single sentence. In summary, all meetings shall be open and public except when the Brown Act authorizes otherwise.  In addition to requiring the public’s business to be conducted in open, noticed meetings, the Brown Act also extends to the public the right to participate in meetings. Individuals, lobbyists, and members of the news media possess the right to attend, record, broadcast, and participate in public meetings.

The public’s participation is further enhanced by the Brown Act’s requirement that a meaningful agenda be posted in advance of meetings, by limiting discussion and action to matters listed on the agenda, and by requiring that meeting materials be made available.

This guide prepared by the League of California Cities explains the current provisions of California statutes and case law as of April 2016 and includes an annotated copy of the Brown Act.

Click here for the guide from the League of California Cities.

Click here for more information on DWR's facilitation and translation services.

Facilitation Services

The Department of Water Resources offers the following services at no cost to eligible GSAs:

      • Stakeholder assessments
      • Governance development
      • Stakeholder communication and engagement planning and support
      • Public outreach
      • Targeted outreach to underrepresented groundwater users
      • Tribal government outreach and engagement
      • Identification and engagement of interested parties
      • Meeting facilitation
      • Intra-basin and inter-basin coordination support
      • Interest-based negotiation/consensus building

More information from the Department of Water Resources available ​by clicking here. and scrolling down to Facilitation Services tab.


DWR’s Written Translation Service is available to help GSAs, or other groups assisting in local SGMA implementation efforts, to communicate the groundwater planning activities with their non-English speaking constituents.

GSAs, or other groups, may submit written notices, letters, forms, presentations, fact sheets, pamphlets, leaflets, and brochures to DWR for translation into one or more of the following languages:

      • Chinese
      • Hmong
      • Korean
      • Laotian
      • Punjabi
      • Spanish
      • Tagalog
      • Vietnamese

More information from the Department of Water Resources available ​by clicking here  and scrolling down to the Translation Services tab.