Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
Significant efforts have been spent on implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Supervisor Vito Chiesa, Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors, convened a group in November 2015 to consider the common elements shared by counties. SGMA recognizes several county responsibilities including: the “front door” for well permits, providing backup as the organizing structure for areas that do not “self-form” into “groundwater sustainability agencies”; and to represent groundwater users within the scope of a sustainability agency that have no other agency to represent them. Finally, each county is a principal agency in the integration of land use planning and groundwater management. Given these issues, representatives of most of the eight counties met and discussed convening a process to work on the implementation issues within the water community. A proposal was developed for the staff in each of the counties. However, most of the counties had already become involved in local efforts and the joint program did not come to fruition. It is still under consideration by some; an additional outreach will be attempted to organize around the startup problems under the new law. Nonetheless, California Water Institute did become involved in the formation of a groundwater sustainability agency (GSA) and will use that experience to inform Partnership Board members about the scope of work needed to implement the new law.