State-Specific Water Laws and Regulations

California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“the Act”) passed by the California Legislature August 29, 2014, is composed of three separate bills: Senate Bill 1168 (Pavley), Senate Bill 1319 (Pavley), and Assembly Bill 1739 (Dickinson). The Act requires the designation of groundwater sustainability agencies (GSA) and the adoption of groundwater sustainability plans (GSP) for basins designated as medium- or high-priority by the Department of Water Resources (DWR). The GSP must set the basin on a course toward “sustainable management” and return the basin to a condition that assures its long-term sustainability within 20 years of GSP implementation (Brownstein, 2014; CA OPR, 2014).

The Act fundamentally changed management of California’s groundwater basins and contains a number of requirements with the goal of achieving sustainable groundwater management in the areas of California that most need it. DBS&A’s water resource professionals have groundwater management planning expertise to assist communities with complying with the Act.

DBS&A assists communities and agencies by:

  • Providing technical support for funding assistance
  • Providing technical hydrologic analyses, negotiation support, and expert testimony for water rights conflicts and transfer of groundwater allocations disputes within the frameworks of state adjudication and administrative processes and other operational protocols
  • Development or peer review of groundwater flow or solute transport models
  • Performing hydrogeologic analyses to establish well yields, water quality, operational safe yield, and sustainable yield of groundwater basins
  • Evaluating the feasibility of artificial recharge and conjunctive use projects as a component of GSP implementation
  • Performing groundwater monitoring, data collection, and data management needed to support GSP implementation in medium-, high-priority, and critically-overdrafted basins
  • Preparing annual sustainability progress reports for submittal to DWR following the submission of GSPs

Learn more through the DWR’s SGMA Portal.