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 changes 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 can provide assistance to communities and agencies by:

  • Conducting stakeholder and public outreach at the outset of the GSP implementation in medium- and high-priority basins
  • Evaluating the feasibility of artificial recharge and conjunctive use projects as a component of GSP development and implementation
  • Performing groundwater monitoring, data collection, and data management needed to support GSP implementation in medium- and high-priority basins
  • Preparing annual reports on progress towards sustainability for submittal to DWR following the submission of GSPs
  • Providing assistance in developing technical information to support requests for basin boundary adjustments
  • Providing expert services for water rights conflicts between senior and junior water rights holders that may lead to additional basin adjudication of medium- and high-priority basins
  • Preparing annual extraction reports required for individual landowners that pump more than 2 acre-feet per year

Learn more through the DWR’s SGMA Portal.