The Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently announced the approval of groundwater sustainability plans for 10 non-critically overdrafted groundwater basins located across California. The approved basins are East Bay Plain, East Contra Costa, Ukiah Valley, Sierra Valley, North San Benito, North American, South American, Butte, Vina, and Wyandotte Creek. These basins provide a significant portion of water supply for nearly three million Californians.
“Local groundwater sustainability agencies have put a tremendous amount of work into these plans that will have long-term benefits for communities, agriculture, and the environment across California,” said DWR Deputy Director of Groundwater Management Paul Gosselin.
Sustainable groundwater conditions and targeted recharge help protect communities that are vulnerable to wells going dry, and these groundwater plans are addressing current issues and long-term solutions toward resiliency for communities, households, industries and the environment that are all dependent on groundwater.
The cornerstone of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is local management with state regulatory oversight. The release of these approved assessments provides direction to the local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs), including recommended actions, to ensure the basins remain on a path to long-term sustainability. DWR will also review annual reports from the GSAs and assess progress towards the basin sustainability goals every five years.
DWR has now made determinations for 46 groundwater basins. Of the 46, a total of 40 basins are approved. Six basins are deemed inadequate and have transitioned to the State Water Resources Control Board intervention process. Additionally, DWR approved nine basins with alternatives to groundwater sustainability plans in July 2017. The 10 basins approved today are among the non-critically overdrafted basins that submitted their plans to DWR in January 2022. The GSAs in 37 basins that were required to submit plans in 2022 and currently have plans under review by DWR should anticipate additional determination releases throughout 2023.