SGMA News for 2/13: Updated pages at the Groundwater Exchange: New data and tools, new FAQS and Fact Sheets; SGMA presentations

Here’s the latest in SGMA News, brought to you by Maven and the Groundwater Exchange …

Updated pages at the Groundwater Exchange: New data and tools, new FAQS and Fact Sheets; SGMA presentations

Newly updated pages at the Groundwater Exchange:

FAQ, Fact Sheets and Brochures page updated: Looking for basic SGMA information handouts?  Fact sheets on GSP evaluations and State Water Board intervention?  Have questions about groundwater quality and SGMA?  Looking for funding opportunities?  Check out the newly updated FAQ, Fact Sheets, and Brochures page at the Groundwater Exchange.

New tools added to the Directory of Tools and Data:  Do you want to know if a well is close to a nitrate or TCP-123 impacted well?  Or want to explore domestic well water quality?  Maybe you want to dig in and use the trends analysis tool?  You can find all sorts of tools and data on the Groundwater Exchange’s Directory of Tools and Data.

Looking to learn more about SGMA implementation?

Check out the archive of SGMA implementation posts at Maven’s Notebook:  If you want to know more about GSP Evaluations, establishing groundwater production allocations, establishing sustainable management criteria, how the Fox Canyon groundwater markets work, or other deep dive SGMA topics, I invite you to browse the archive of SGMA posts at Maven’s Notebook.

DWR SGMA NEWS: View posted GSPs and make a public comment; DWR’s technical support projects; Written translation service now available; Draft Handbook for Water Budget Development released

NEW View Posted GSPs and Make a Public Comment

Groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) for critically overdrafted basins were due to the Department of Water Resources (DWR) by January 31, 2020. Twenty-four of those plans are posted on the SGMA Portal and are open for public comment through April 15, 2020. The remaining plans will be posted and open for public comment in the coming weeks. Public comments on the GSPs are welcomed and encouraged. Information about how to comment on a plan can be found in a new fact sheet in English and Spanish. DWR will provide regular updates on submitted plans and public comment periods. For questions, email

NEW Annual Reports Required by April 1, 2020

Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) which have submitted a GSP or Alternative to a GSP are required to submit an annual report to DWR by April 1. These reports will provide information on groundwater conditions and an update on implementation efforts for the prior water year. Information on what is expected in a report and how to submit these reports will be provided in the coming weeks.

NEW See the SGMA Workshop Video and PowerPoints

Earlier this year, DWR and the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) held regional workshops focused on evaluation of sustainability plans, the state’s role, annual reporting requirements and available resources.  DWR plans to hold additional SGMA Workshops in the future.  Many new tools are available online:

For questions, email

NEW Learn more about DWR’s Technical Support Projects

DWR is advancing eight new projects to provide GSAs, stakeholders, and the public with regional and statewide data, tools, and analysis aligned with the technical requirements of the GSP regulations and SGMA.

Below are fact sheets for each project:

These projects are funded by Proposition 68. For information, visit the Prop 68 tab on the Data and Tools webpage.

NEW Written Translation Service Now Available

DWR’s Written Translation Service is available to help with communication to non-English speaking constituents. Translation services for materials are available in Chinese, Hmong, Korean, Laotian, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Visit the Written Translation tab on the Assistance and Engagement webpage for details.

NEW SGM Grant Draft Awardees Announced

DWR recently announced draft recommended funding awards for approximately $46.25 million in Proposition 68 and $1.2 million in Proposition 1 grant funding. The grants will assist awardees in developing a GSP or updating an approved Alternative to a GSP. Funding priority was given to applicants who had not received the SGM Planning – Round 2 funding. For more information, visit the SGM Grant Program webpage.

NEW Draft Handbook for Water Budget Development Released

DWR has released a draft single-volume Handbook for Water Budget Development: With or Without Models, which presents existing information on various methods and data sources for developing water budgets. The Water Budget Handbook can help inform the development of water budgets for any geographic area and time period, using modeling and non-modeling approaches. For more information, check out the Frequently Asked Questions on the Water Budget Handbook. The comment period is now open on the draft document and closes on April 7, 2020. Email comments to, attention Abdul Khan. For information on the Water Budget Handbook visit the Reports tab on the Data and Tools webpage.

NEW New SVSim Model Data Posted

The Future Water Supply program has posted the model mesh (node, element, and layer) data on the Sacramento Valley Groundwater-Surface Water Simulation Model (SVSim). These data are ASCII-formatted input for the Integrated Water Flow Model, which is the numerical model-code used for SVSim. Also available are the following technical memoranda:

For questions or more information, contact Linda Bond at or Chris Bonds at

REMINDER Statewide 2016 Crop Mapping Data is Online

The 2016 Statewide Crop Mapping data is now available online. This new dataset represents the 2016 main season agricultural land use, wetlands, and urban boundaries for the same time period for all 58 counties in California. For many years, DWR has collected land use data at the county level at different times across the state. Land use and crop mapping information is essential for regional analysis and decision making, which has become increasingly important as DWR, other state and local agencies, and landowners seek to manage the state’s water resources for longterm sustainability. For questions, email

REMINDER SGMA 2019 Basin Prioritization Finalized

DWR announced in December 2019 the completion of a multi-year process to prioritize California’s 515 groundwater basins. SGMA 2019 Basin Prioritization identifies 94 basins as medium or high priority. The plans for the 21 critically overdrafted basins were due January 31, 2020, while the remainder of the plans are due beginning on January 31, 2022. No future basin prioritization projects are planned at this time. For more information, visit DWR’s Basin Prioritization webpage. For questions, email

REMINDER Submit Your GSP Initial Notification

Before initiating development of a GSP, GSAs are required to notify DWR in writing. GSAs must submit all applicable GSP initial notification information to DWR using the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System. The SGMA Portal also allows edits to be made to a previously submitted Initial Notification, including the ability to withdraw a submittal. For more information, contact the Regional Coordinators in DWR’s four Regional Offices. For assistance with the system, email

Connect with Your Basin Point of Contact

DWR has designated Basin Points of Contact to assist local agencies and GSAs as GSPs are developed and implemented and to assist with applications for Technical Support Services and Facilitation Support Services.

For regional inquiries, contact For general inquiries, contact

SGMA in the News

A roundup of articles on SGMA from news outlets around the state


Local agencies file management plans for aquifers:  “The deadline passed at the end of January for local agencies representing 19 of the state’s most stressed groundwater basins to submit plans for how the basins will reach sustainability during the next 20 years. It’s a milestone in implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  Speaking during the annual California Irrigation Institute conference in Sacramento last week, Tim Godwin of the California Department of Water Resources said the department is now reviewing the submitted plans. DWR will ultimately grade the plans as adequate; incomplete, which gives agencies 180 days to submit clarifying information; or inadequate, which requires DWR to consult with the State Water Resources Control Board on next steps. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Local agencies file management plans for aquifers

500,000 acres of San Joaquin cropland [could] go fallow as groundwater management goes into effect over 20 years:  “Last month, many regions passed a major milestone in implementation of state legislation that has the potential to transform the way crops are farmed in the state.  At the end of January, big regions of the San Joaquin Valley had to turn in their plans for how residents and growers would comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  Although the deadline for Sacramento area basins isn’t until two years from now, there are things local growers should start doing now to prepare, said David Orth, principal at New Current Water and Land LLC. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Business Journal here:  500,000 acres of San Joaquin cropland to go fallow as groundwater management goes into effect over 20 years

Water management in California is crossing a major milestone, and we still have more work to do, say Eric Averett, general manager of the Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District, and Christina Babbitt, senior manager of the California Groundwater Program at the Environmental Defense Fund:  “Jan. 31 marked a major milestone for building groundwater sustainability and climate resilience into California’s complex and increasingly stressed water systems.  It was the first major planning deadline for implementing the state’s historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. State leaders passed the law in 2014 to ensure California manages its groundwater sustainably for people, agriculture and wildlife for generations to come. On Jan. 31, the 21 regions with the most depleted groundwater supplies were required to submit plans to balance their groundwater supply and demand within 20 years. When successfully implemented, these plans will prevent a repeat of many of the impacts we experienced during the last drought: wells drying up and land sinking, resulting in rural residents running out of water and millions of dollars of infrastructure damage. … ”  Read more from here:  Water management in California is crossing a major milestone, and we still have more work to do


City of Willits invites public input on Groundwater Management Plan:  “The public is invited to provide input on the Little Lake Valley Groundwater Basin Management Plan during a workshop held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 at Willits City Hall. The goal of the plan is to collect information and compile a comprehensive summary regarding the groundwater in the Little Lake Valley in order to manage the City’s resources for generations to come.  According to the City of Willits website, “The preparation of a Groundwater Management Plan is required as part of the conditions of the half million-dollar Proposition 1 grant funding that the City will receive from California Department of Water Resources to construct the next phase of the groundwater project.” … ”  Read more from the Willits News here: City of Willits invites public input on Groundwater Management Plan

Yuba Water Agency adopts groundwater plan:  “The Yuba Water Agency, along with other local groundwater sustainability agencies like Cordua Irrigation District and the city of Marysville, recently developed an official groundwater sustainability plan that outlines how to best utilize the county’s groundwater subbasins in a sustainable manner.  As part of the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, groundwater sustainability agencies across the state are required to prepare and submit plans that include measurable objectives and milestones to achieve sustainability. … ”  Read more from The Union here:  Yuba Water Agency adopts groundwater plan


Have thoughts about groundwater cuts in Merced County? The state wants to hear from you: “Do you have something to say about the state-mandated sustainability plan that will limit individual and agricultural groundwater consumption in Merced County?  Now is the time to say it.  The Jan. 31 deadline for local agencies to submit their 20-year sustainable groundwater management plan has passed, kicking off a 75-day public comment period before the Department of Water Resources reviews it. ... ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here: Have thoughts about groundwater cuts in Merced County? The state wants to hear from you

The McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency sued the James Irrigation District and James Groundwater Sustainability Agency in Fresno Superior Court, in a fight over groundwater management.  via Courthouse News Service.

Irrigation water prices under SGMA causing sticker shock:  “Reaction was hushed when Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District General Manager Eric Averett asked the small group of farmers Tuesday morning if any were interested in buying irrigation water at the previously unheard of price of $770 an acre foot.  No papers rustled. Keyboards went silent. And none of the growers raised a hand. ... ”  Read more from SJV Water here:  Irrigation water prices under SGMA causing sticker shock

Kings County groundwater plan raising questions:  “It’s hard to imagine state officials giving the thumbs up to a groundwater sustainability plan that potentially allows Corcoran – California’s subsidence epicenter – to sink another 6 feet.  Especially considering the tiny, rural town was forced to spend $14 million in 2017 to rebuild its levees following the 2012-16 drought when it suffered subsidence of up to 1.5 feet a year. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here:  Kings County groundwater plan raising questions


Paso Robles: Groundwater sustainability plan, first annual report available for review:  “The Paso Robles Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) has been posted to the Department of Water Resources Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Portal.  The public comment period for the GSP is open until April 15, 2020. Access the posted GSP and submit public comments here: … ”  Read more from Paso Robles Daily News here: Groundwater sustainability plan, first annual report available for review


Ventura vs Ojai water war:  “There is a legal battle between Ventura and the Ojai Valley. Thousands of people have been served with legal papers in a fight over water from the Ventura River.  While the Ventura River may be beautiful, a legal case over its water is turning ugly. Thousands of people like Jessica Colborn, born and raised in Upper Ojai, are being served legal papers. This is because of their wells that use water from the river.  “My parents got served on their property as well as their adjacent property that I am putting my home on,” said Colborn. “So they got served with two different actions because they have two wells on those properties.” ... ”  Read more from KEYT here:  Ventura vs Ojai water war

Thousands served, noticed in Ventura’s water lawsuit may get reprieve:  “More than 14,000 property owners recently noticed or served in the city of Ventura’s litigation over use of the Ventura River may get a bit of a reprieve.  The Ventura City Council announced Monday that it may request a six-month extension from the court for the thousands who were sent legal notices or served with a court summons in the case.  Without the delay, property owners have 60 days to file with the court to become a participant in the lawsuit, which would require them to pay $435 in court fees and, in some cases, hire an attorney. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Thousands served, noticed in Ventura’s water lawsuit may get reprieve

Clarifying Channelkeeper’s role in Ventura River watershed adjudication:  Ben Pitterle, science and policy director of Santa Barbara Channelkeeper writes, “I’m writing to the VC Reporter to offer clarification for property owners in the Ventura River watershed about Santa Barbara Channelkeeper’s role in the groundwater adjudication initiated by the city of Ventura.  Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that works to protect and restore the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds (including the Ventura River) through science-based advocacy, education, field work and enforcement. We are aware that residents throughout the Ventura River watershed recently received notice from the city of Ventura that the city has commenced an adjudication of water rights. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Reporter here: Clarifying Channelkeeper’s role in Ventura River watershed adjudication

Ventura County joins Carpinteria Groundwater Sustainability Agency:  “In a unanimous vote on Feb. 4, the Board of Supervisors of the County of Ventura provided the final decision needed to form a new agency in the form of a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) called the Carpinteria Groundwater Sustainability Agency made up of four local agencies: the Carpinteria Valley Water District, the city of Carpinteria, the Santa Barbara County Water Agency and the county of Ventura.  … ”  Read more from Coastal View here:  Ventura County joins Carpinteria Groundwater Sustainability Agency


Petition for comprehensive adjudication for the Borrego Springs groundwater basin:  The Borrego Water District sued Agri-Empire and 59 other entities in San Diego Superior Court, in a fight over the limited amount of groundwater in the Borrego Valley, northeast of San Diego.


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