DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Program Management News for July 12

From the Department of Water Resources:

Basin Boundary Modification

The initial notification period for Basin Boundary Modification Requests opened on July 1, 2017. This period allows GSAs or local agencies to begin the required meetings and coordination to support modifications. If you need any assistance with this process, we are here to help.

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 http://water.ca.gov/groundwater/sgm/basin_boundaries.cfm.

Tentative Schedule

  • 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 http://sgma.water.ca.gov/portal/#intro.

  • 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 Timothy.Godwin@water.ca.gov or (916) 651-9223

Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) Formation
SGMA passed a significant milestone on July 1st, when all high and medium-priority basins were required to be covered by a GSA. DWR and the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) are coordinating to identify areas that did not form a GSA by July 1st.  Our preliminary assessment shows that local agencies have been overwhelmingly successful in forming GSAs, and so far it looks as though there are limited unmanaged areas.  It will take DWR a few more weeks to confirm whether an area is unmanaged. DWR has 15 days to post complete notices on the SGMA Portal, so notices submitted near the June 30 deadline may not be posted until they are reviewed and determined to be complete. Ongoing efforts during this time include outreach to counties, which are presumed to manage groundwater basins when no other local governmental agency has elected to form a GSA.

All GSA notifications can be submitted, viewed, and managed within DWR’s SGMA Portal: http://sgma.water.ca.gov/portal/#gsa
If you have questions related to SGMA compliance, please contact the State Water Resources Control Board at groundwater_management@waterboards.ca.gov.

Visit the State Water Board’s Groundwater Management Program website and GSA Compliance Map.
Mark Nordberg Mark.Nordberg@water.ca.gov or (916) 651-9673

Draft Guidance Documents for Engagement and Communication

DWR is seeking public comments on two draft guidance documents, Guidance Document for Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) Stakeholder Communication and Engagement (C&E) and Engagement with Tribal Governments. The C&E document offers guidance on communication with stakeholders for GSP development through a transparent and inclusive process.  The Engagement with Tribal Governments document is to help local agencies engage with a Tribal government in the planning, financing and management of a GSA, or with the development and implementation of a GSP.

Please send your comments via Email: sgmps@water.ca.gov  Subject: Comments to Guidance Documents
or by U.S. Postal Service to:
P.O. Box 942836
Sacramento, California 94236-0001
Attn: Lauren Hersh, Rm 201
The deadline for submitting public comments is by 5 pm Monday, August 28.

Facilitation Support Service Offers Online Application

Under the requirements of SGMA, all beneficial uses and users of groundwater must be considered in the development of GSPs, and GSAs must encourage the active involvement of diverse social, cultural, and economic element of the population. The goal of the Facilitation Support Services related to GSP development is to assist GSAs in reaching consensus on potentially contentious water management topics arising from the diverse beneficial uses and users of groundwater. Priorities of this funding are given to the critically over-drafted basins.

Applications for FSS are being evaluated on a continuous basis as funding allows. Applications must be submitted through the DWR Facilitation Support Service online application. For more information, or to start a FSS application, contact DWR’s regional coordinators (visit the DWR website’s FSS page.)

Technical Assistance
The goal of the technical assistance program is 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. Watch for announcements of upcoming DWR webinars!  Update on technical assistance can be found on the California Water Commission website .

Contact:  Steven Springhorn  Steven.Springhorn@water.ca.gov  or (916) 651-9273

2017 Final Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) 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 final materials will be available on the SGWP Grant Program webpage in August 2017.

Here is the upcoming timeline for the Proposition 1 Groundwater PSP:

  • Final PSP – Aug 2017
  • Phase 1 Continuous Filing Opens – Aug 2017
  • Continuous Filing Closes – Oct 2017
  • Release of Phase 1 Funding Awards – Dec 2017

Contact: Heather Shannon Heather.Shannon@water.ca.gov 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 Hong.Lin@water.ca.gov  or (916) 653-6353

California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Prop 1 Restoration Grant Program
CDFW’s Proposal Solicitation Notice is now open for Fiscal Year 2017-18. GSAs may find groundwater recharge projects that restore floodplain connectivity and improve fish habitat eligible for funding. For more information visit their Restoration Grant Programs.

Measuring Groundwater Pumping for SGMA Compliance
An educational workshop program from the American Ground Water Trust – Organized in cooperation with the Center for Irrigation Technology
Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 8:30 a.m.  – 3:30 p.m. – Fresno, CA
Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT), California State University
The program will provide practical insight and guidance for Growers, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies, County & Municipal Planners, Irrigation Districts and Groundwater End-Users.
Click here for more information and to register.

Land Subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley

This free briefing will highlight the array of technologies available for subsidence measurement and monitoring, including information and technical support being provided by DWR.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017, Alice Peters Auditorium (PB 191) in the University Business Center at Fresno State. For more information and registration, visit http://www.watereducation.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/dwr_sjv_subsidence_aug16_flye.pdf

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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