Historic legislation enacted by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. last year empowers local agencies to bring groundwater basins into sustainable patterns of pumping and recharge. Defining the boundaries of groundwater basins is crucial to implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. In another step forward in carrying out the law, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) today released for public review and comment draft regulations that establish a process for local agencies to follow should they seek to modify the boundaries of a groundwater basin.
The initial draft of the Basin Boundary Emergency Regulations are posted at http://water.ca.gov/groundwater/sgm/basin_boundaries.cfm, where they are available for public review. Public comments will be accepted through September 4, 2015. Beginning in late August, DWR will also hold three public meetings to solicit comments on the draft regulations.
DWR developed the Draft Emergency Basin Boundary Regulations after public listening sessions held earlier this year. The final Basin Boundary Emergency Regulations will also take public comment into consideration. The draft regulations are a result of a provision of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Water Code 10722.2, which established a process for local agencies to request that DWR modify the boundaries of a groundwater basin, including the establishment of a new subbasin.
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act established the initial groundwater basin boundaries in California based on Bulletin 118, a comprehensive report on California groundwater resources that is periodically updated by DWR.
By January 1, 2016, DWR is required to adopt emergency regulations that specify the information required to comply with Water Code 10722.2, which outlines the process that local agencies need to follow when requesting modifications to existing boundaries of groundwater basins and subbasins. The basin boundary regulations also identify the methodology and criteria that will be applied by DWR when reviewing and approving the modification requests.