One third of California’s water supply comes from groundwater, but many basins are overdrawn or facing historic depletion levels. Effective groundwater management can help Californians plan for the future and ensure access to a sustainable, resilient supply of water.

The 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was enacted for that purpose. It requires local water agencies, agricultural groups, municipalities, and special districts in California to collectively manage their water resources to help protect against the effects of drought and climate change.

SGMA requires stakeholders in medium- and high-priority groundwater basins are required to form groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) to manage their resources collaboratively. Each GSA must prepare a groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) to establish long-term balanced pumping and recharge. This will help preserve and sustain basin resources by preventing overdraft, maintaining water quality, and protecting riparian ecosystems and surface water flows.

Our SGMA team

GSI has a team of highly skilled groundwater specialists with the technical expertise needed to tackle the complex issues that are arising as part of the SGMA process. Our SGMA experts help GSAs by evaluating the complexities of water in the subsurface, developing water budgets that can achieve sustainability, identifying undesirable results of continued pumping, and identifying and implementing solutions to achieve sustainability goals.

Here’s how our SGMA team helps our clients:

Stakeholder collaboration: We work collaboratively with basin stakeholders to develop acceptable goals, objectives, and strategies for achieving sustainability.

Funding solutions: We help our clients obtain funding to develop plans and programs.

Local groundwater expertise: We use our knowledge of local hydrogeology and groundwater conditions to develop water budgets, groundwater models, monitoring programs, and sustainable yield estimates.

Realistic management plans: We combine technical, political, and legal elements into economically and technically realistic sustainable groundwater management plans and programs.

Featured SGMA Projects

Our hydrogeologists and water resources consultants have been tracking and implementing various aspects of SGMA since it was first enacted. Here are a few of our SGMA-related projects:

Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency: We provided the technical work on the basin settings and water budget as part of the effort to develop the first set of groundwater sustainability plans in the state. These plans are for four basins in Ventura County.

Castaic Lake Water Agency: GSI helped identify the type and location of groundwater basin boundary adjustments to meet SGMA regulations for boundary modifications. We are now helping CLWA with formation of the GSA in the east Santa Clara River sub-basin.

Atascadero Mutual Water Company: GSI is supporting the effort to prepare a groundwater sustainability plan for the Atascadero sub-basin.

Newhall Land & Farming Company: GSI is helping to conduct a review of historical water use and providing SGMA consulting as stakeholders begin the process of forming a GSA.