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Understanding the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

In the midst of our most recent and severe drought, perhaps the most significant legislative water initiative in California in half a century was passed and signed into law, it is entitled: the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGMA). The 2014 law provides a framework for sustainable management of groundwater resources by local authorities. Water sustainability efforts ensure that adequate amounts of high-quality water supply will continue to be available in the future. The integrated management of water resources is a delicate balancing act that aims to maximize the economic and social benefits that water resources provide while maintaining aquatic ecosystems.

OPINION: Groundwater Law Is Critical, But Will Be Baffling

A process is underway that’s extremely important, and likely to be way over most of our heads. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act was passed in 2014, which set deadlines for local agencies to come up with plans to manage the water beneath them “… without causing undesirable results.” Undesirable results include things like water quality deterioration, land subsidence and big drops in the water table. The state left it up to the local agencies to determine what their undesirable results were, but Sacramento reserved the right to reject plans that it felt were inadequate and impose their own.