Groundwater management law in California previously authorized certain local agencies to adopt and implement a groundwater management plan.  Local agencies seeking state funds from the Department of Water Resources (DWR) for groundwater projects and groundwater quality projects were required to prepare and implement a groundwater management plan that included basin management objectives.  

A concerted effort took place during the latter part of 2014 to develop and enact changes to California groundwater management law.  In the last days of the 2014 Legislative Session, the Senate and Assembly approved, and the Governor signed, a three-bill package to codify the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

SGMA provides a framework for sustainable management of groundwater supplies by local authorities, with a role for state intervention if necessary to protect the resource.  SGMA also required the formation of local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) that are responsible for the adoption and implementation of management plans to achieve long-term groundwater sustainability, by June 30, 2017.  It is estimated that over 95 percent of the affected basins met this deadline; the next milestones are in 2020 and 2022, when critically over drafted and over drafted basins must have adopted management plans to achieve sustainability by 2040.

RCRC will closely monitor and participate in the development of policy and regulations that implement the Groundwater Management Act. 

Staff:  Mary-Ann Warmerdam