The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act provides that if locals are unable or unwilling to sustainably manage their basin, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board or Board) can step in to protect groundwater using a process called state intervention.
State intervention is triggered by one of the following events:
- July 1, 2017: Entire basin is not covered by GSA(s) or Alternative
- Feb. 1, 2020: Basin is in critical overdraft and there is no plan or DWR fails plan
- Feb. 1, 2022: No plan or DWR determines plan is inadequate and basin is in long-term overdraft
- Feb. 1, 2025: DWR determines plan is inadequate and basin has significant surface water depletions
If locals fail to form a GSA, fail to develop an adequate sustainability plan, or fail to implement the plan successfully, the Board may designate the entire basin probationary. Anyone who extracts groundwater from a probationary basin must file an extraction report with the State Water Board unless the Board decides to exclude certain types of extractions. The Board may require the use of a meter to measure extractions and reporting of additional information.
The Board will allow local agencies time to fix the issues in the basin that led to probation. If local agencies are unable to fix the deficiencies, the Board will develop an interim plan to directly manage groundwater extractions. An interim plan will contain corrective actions, a timeline to make the basin sustainable, and a monitoring plan to ensure corrective actions are working. Fees will be charged.
Fees associated with state intervention
The State Water Board is responsible for setting and collecting fees to recover the costs associated with state intervention. On June 29 2017, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the State Water Board’s Emergency Regulation for Implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGMA), which contains those fees.
FACT SHEET: Probationary designation and groundwater regulation by the State Water Board
This fact sheet offers summary information regarding how the state will regulate groundwater use if local management is found to be inadequate under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).