Sustainable Groundwater Management Program News

From the Department of Water Resources, Sustainable Groundwater Management Program:

Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) Formation

As of May 2, 2017:

  • 188 local agencies (including coordinated efforts by a combination of local agencies) have submitted GSA formation notifications.
    • Many local agencies have submitted multiple notifications in multiple basins.
  • The 188 local agencies account for 301 separate areas in 115 basins.
  • Of the 301 separate areas:
    • 127 are exclusive GSA areas;
    • 71 have a non-overlapped notification within a 90-day period; and
    • 103 have overlap to resolve.
  • Of the 115 basins that are partially or completely covered by GSA notifications:
    • 31 basins are low or very-low priority.
    • 84 basins are medium or high priority and are subject to SGMA requirements.
  • Most of the overlapping GSA notifications are expected to resolve the overlap prior to June 30, 2017.
  • Most counties have stated they will become the GSA in the unmanaged areas of a high- or medium-priority basin if needed.
  • All GSA notifications can be submitted, viewed, and managed within the SGMA Portal:

Mark Nordberg: or (916) 651-9673

Facilitation Support Service

DWR provided facilitation support services through professional facilitators to help local agencies address pivotal issues in GSA formation. Professional facilitators can actively manage a process to support stakeholders’ desired outcomes through mediation, negotiation, and consensus building. Provided here is a map of the basins with DWR funded facilitation.

DWR is seeking input on facilitation support service for better understanding of the local needs as the GSAs progress towards Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) development. Please help us understand the successes and challenges by completing a quick survey.

To find out about facilitation service opportunities that may be available,

A Newsletter about Funding and Technical Assistance

In line with DWR’s commitment to support Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) and stakeholders throughout SGMA implementation, DWR will be providing periodic SGMA Implementation Assistance Updates.  Click here for the Spring 2017 issue of Implementation Assistance Newsletter.

Hong Lin,  or (916) 653-6353

Technical Assistance

Providing technical assistance to GSAs will be crucial to enabling their success in sustainably managing their groundwater basins. The goal of the technical assistance program is to comply with requirements in SGMA (10729 and 10733.2) and the GSP regulations (353.2, 354.8, 354.16, and 354.18) for DWR to provide education, data, and tools at both regional and statewide scales to aid GSAs with development and implementation of GSPs and inform water resource planning decisions. DWR’s update on technical assistance can be found on the California Water Commission website .


Steven Springhorn  or (916) 651-9273

Basin Reprioritization

SGMA requires DWR to reassess the priority of the state’s groundwater basins when the basin boundaries defined in Bulletin 118 are modified. Water Code Section 10933 (b)(8) was amended adding adverse impacts on local habitat and local streamflows to the list of factors to be used for the prioritization of California’s groundwater basins.  DWR is in the process of updating the basin priorities.  This process involves collection and analysis of best available information for 517 groundwater basins within the state. It is anticipated that DWR will release the draft basin reprioritization this Fall (2017) for public comments.  A series of public workshops will be available to discuss the re-prioritization results.

If a basin is elevated from a low- or very low priority to a medium- or high-priority basin, a local agency will have two years from the date of reprioritization to establish a GSA and five years to develop a GSP (Water code 10722.4 (d)).

Hong Lin, or (916) 653-6353

Basin Boundary Modification

Pursuant to SGMA, DWR developed regulations for a process to modify Bulletin 118 groundwater basin boundaries. In November 2016, DWR reviewed the requests and finalized the boundary modifications, which are posted on the Basin Modification Boundary web page at

Tentative Schedule

  • July 1, 2017 – Initial Notification period opens – Basin Boundary Modification Request System (BBMRS)

o   This period allows GSAs or local agencies to begin the required meetings and coordination to support modifications.

o   Please reach out to DWR during this period for any assistance with the process, we want to help.

  • January 1, 2018 – Submission Period opens

o   During this 3 month window, GSAs and local agencies can submit the required information to support a Basin Boundary Modification in the BBMRS on the SGMA Portal

  • March 31, 2018 – Submission Period Closes and 30-day Public Comment Period opens

o   All information to support a boundary modification should be submitted to the BBMRS

  • April 1, 2018 – Public Comment Period Closes

o   DWR begins boundary modification requests and public comments

  • Approximately July 2018 – Draft Basin Boundary Modifications released
  • Approximately August 2018 – Final Basin Boundary Modifications released

Tim Godwin or (916) 651-9223

SGMA Definitions and Groundwater Glossary

SGMA provided California with a roadmap for sustainably managing our groundwater, and it also came with its own lexicon. Looking for the definition of “Undesirable result” or “De minimis extractor”? It’s right here. Additional important groundwater terms and definitions are included in the Groundwater Information Center’s Groundwater Glossary.

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