DWR Awards $47 Million in Grants for Groundwater Sustainability

By on March 17, 2020

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today awarded $47 million in grant funding to 53 applicants to support local agencies in development of plans to manage groundwater basins for long-term sustainability. These grants will support various projects including facilitating community outreach efforts, preparing feasibility studies for proposed actions to restore groundwater supplies, and installing monitoring wells to oversee groundwater levels.

This funding will provide important assistance in successful local implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which establishes a framework for managing the state’s groundwater resources.

“Sustainable management of our groundwater basins is a critical aspect of making our communities more resilient” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “The investments we make today will ensure that groundwater, such a critical resource for our state, continues to be a part of California’s water portfolio long into the future.”

The grants were awarded to nearly 30 groundwater sustainability agencies for the installation of monitoring wells to better evaluate the needs of the groundwater basins in their area. Five other grant recipients will conduct aerial electromagnetic surveys to map aquifer conditions to better assess groundwater quality and storage conditions and to identify opportunities for recharge. These are just a few of the actions supported by this round of grant funding to further assist in developing groundwater sustainability plans.

Groundwater, which provides approximately 40 percent of California’s total water supply during an average year, often serves as a buffer in critically-dry years by providing a supplemental, clean water source when surface water resources are diminished. In the last decade, groundwater overdraft has severely depleted this valuable water source, impacting communities statewide.

Funding for these awards was made possible by Proposition 68, from which $46.25 million was made available for competitive grants, and an additional $1.2 million of Proposition 1 funds. DWR will begin working with grantees immediately to develop and execute grant agreements.

In 2022, DWR anticipates the launch of a competitive grant solicitation process to provide at least $88 million in grant funding for plan implementation and projects that support local water supply and groundwater resiliency investments.

Visit the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program webpage to learn more.