California Turning Away From Traditional Imported Water Sources and Toward More Resilient Localized Water Supplies

In 2014 California enacted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which provides the framework for local water management agencies to develop and implement groundwater sustainability plans in order to sustainably manage the state’s groundwater within 20 years. This legislation was California’s first ever attempt to sustainably manage groundwater resources, a long overdue effort given that the state relies on groundwater for 40 percent of its total water supply in an average year. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act aims to ensure that groundwater basins are being managed in a way that achieves “sustainable yield”—the maximum quantity of water that can be withdrawn annually from a groundwater supply without causing an “undesirable result.”