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Calif. DWR approves first groundwater sustainability plans

June 4, 2021

California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released its first assessments of groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) developed by local agencies to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Among the earliest proposers, the Santa Cruz Mid-County Basin and the 180/400 Foot Aquifer Subbasin (in Monterey County) have received GSP approvals. These particular basins have been identified as “critically over-drafted;” on a local rather than state level, agencies will implement their plans to achieve groundwater sustainability within 20 years.

DWR also notified groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) in the Cuyama Valley Basin and Paso Robles Subbasin that their respective GSPs lack specific details. Their plans are yet to be approved. The state agency is committed to working with local agencies.

DWR is “providing technical and financial support to help them bring basins into balanced levels of pumping and recharge,” to “ensure Californians have a reliable water source during drought years and for generations to come,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth in a press release.

These assessments and notification letters, in addition to other pertinent groundwater management information, is available in the state agency’s SGMA Portal.

DWR evaluates GSPs within two years of their submittal and issues a written assessment. Refer to the GSP Evaluation fact sheet regarding GSP assessment outcomes.

Local, regional and states that share groundwater resources can better monitor water levels, water quality and withdrawals with sustainable water data management. Learn about a Santa Cruz Mid-County Basin GSA member that analyzes ground- and surface water interactions, the impacts of storm events, and the threat of seawater intrusion to underground freshwater sources.