The Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) recent release of draft emergency regulations for developing and evaluating groundwater sustainability plans marks continued progress toward implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), California’s comprehensive groundwater regulatory framework enacted in 2014. SGMA and its implementing regulations are likely to impact availability of groundwater throughout California, especially for users in basins that have historically experienced overdraft conditions. A copy of the new draft regulations can be accessed here.
The draft regulations are important for private landowners and developers because they provide a role for public participation during the groundwater sustainability plan development and adoption process and during DWR’s approval of the plans. Additionally, California Public Utilities Commission-regulated water corporations and mutual water companies that hope to participate in their basin’s groundwater sustainability agency (GSA) should view these regulations as an opportunity to preview the kinds of issues likely to arise during development of groundwater sustainability plans