Managers of California’s most overdrawn aquifers were given a monumental task under the state’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: Craft viable, detailed plans on a 20-year timeline to bring their beleaguered basins into balance.
It was a task that required more than 250 newly formed local groundwater agencies – many of them in the drought-stressed San Joaquin Valley – to set up shop, gather data, hear from the public and collaborate with neighbors on multiple complex plans, often covering just portions of a groundwater basin.
Altogether, they submitted plans for 20 basins for review by the California Department of Water Resources in January 2020. Earlier this year, DWR rendered its verdict: Most of the basin plans were incomplete.
Earlier this year, DWR rendered its verdict: Most of the basin plans were incomplete. Now groundwater agencies responsible for 12 of the 20 basins are racing to meet a late July deadline to submit revised plans that meet SGMA’s requirements or risk the state stepping in to manage their groundwater basins.