Sustainable Groundwater Management Program News for May 19, 2017

From the Department of Water Resources Sustainable Groundwater Management Program:

Facilitation Support Service Survey

DWR provided facilitation support services through professional facilitators to help local agencies address pivotal issues in GSA formation. The goal of the Facilitation Support Service is to assist local agencies in reaching broad agreement on potentially contentious issues associated with revising groundwater boundaries, establishing new governance structures, and planning for water resource sustainability.

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.  This survey will be closed on May 31, 2017.

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

Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) Formation
As of May 17, 2017:

  • 201 local agencies (including coordinated efforts by a combination of local agencies) have submitted GSA formation notifications.

o   Many local agencies have submitted multiple notifications in multiple basins.

  • The 201 local agencies account for 320 separate areas in 119 basins.
  • Of the 320 separate areas:

o   137 are exclusive GSA areas;

o   80 have a non-overlapped notification within a 90-day period; and

o   103 have overlap to resolve.

  • Of the 119 basins that are partially or completely covered by GSA notifications:

o   32 basins are low or very-low priority.

o   87 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:

 Contact: Mark Nordberg or (916) 651-9673

$86.3 Million Available for Groundwater Sustainability Plans and Projects

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has announced the release of its 2017 Draft Proposal Solicitation Package for Groundwater Sustainability Plans and Projects. The Sustainable Groundwater Planning (SGWP) grant program is funded by Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond overwhelmingly approved by California voters in 2014.  Proposition 1 authorized the Legislature to appropriate $100 million for competitive grants for development of sustainable groundwater plans and projects, of which $86.3 million is available in fiscal year 2017-18.  The grants are intended to support groundwater management that furthers the goals of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, a historic 2014 law that requires local agencies to bring stressed groundwater basins into sustainable patterns of pumping and recharge.  Groundwater supplies a third or more of California’s water supply.

DWR will solicit proposals to award funding on a competitive basis in two funding categories:  projects that serve severely disadvantaged communities and Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). GSPs have two tiers: Tier 1 is for critically overdrafted basins and Tier 2 is for all other high- and medium- priority basins. The draft materials are available on the SGWP Grant Program webpage.

This release of the draft proposal solicitation package begins the public comment period. The public comment period will close June 19, 2017. DWR will hold three public meetings to review the contents of the package and to receive comments:

Meeting location Meeting time
Bonderson Building
901 P Street, Hearing Room
Sacramento, CA 95814
June 12, 2017, 10:00 AM
Fresno Irrigation District
2907 S. Maple Avenue, Boardroom
Fresno, CA 93725
June 13, 2017, 1:00 PM
Irvine Ranch Water District
15600 Sand Canyon Avenue, Sand Canyon Room
Irvine, CA 92618
June 14, 2017, 1:00 PM

Heather Shannon or (916) 651-9212

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 UpdatesThe Spring 2017 issue of Implementation Assistance Update is available on the DWR website.

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 .

Contact:  Steven Springhorn  or (916) 651-9273

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 30, 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

STORMS Seminar Series

Join the California Water Boards for an engaging conversation on “Enhancing Groundwater Recharge with Stormwater” with Andrew T. Fisher, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, UC Santa Cruz.

This event will be held on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 from 130pm to 230pm at 1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 (Klamath Room) and via webcast.

Stormwater is an under-utilized resource in California that has become increasingly important as demand for freshwater increases, land use and vegetation shifts, and precipitation becomes more intense.  The recent drought has exacerbated water management challenges in California, but has also provided rare opportunities through groundbreaking policy initiatives, such as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Professor Fisher, along with his students and colleagues, seek to investigate the potential of stormwater to address California’s water management challenges through several projects related to Managed Aquifer Recharge.

“Enhancing Groundwater Recharge with Stormwater” is part of the Water Boards’ STORMS SEMINAR SERIES and is free to attend.

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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