The Clean Water Blog

Sustainable Groundwater Management in California Depends on You!

SGMA_Stakeholder_Engagement_White_Paper_Page_01By Jennifer Clary, California Water Program Manager. Follow Jennifer on twitter- @JenClary_Water

Today, Clean Water Fund, in partnership the Union of Concerned Scientists and Community Water Center released its first guide to groundwater planning. Collaborating for Success follows the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), and provides a roadmap for local agencies to ensure that communities, environmental advocates, tribes and other stakeholders are effectively engaged in local groundwater management efforts.

The 2014 SGMA legislation created a roadmap to ensure that local groundwater basins are sustainably managed so that they continue to be a resource for future generations. It also contains specific and substantial requirements for public involvement and stakeholder engagement. This is extremely important for everyone who depends on local groundwater supplies, but is especially important for residents who rely on domestic wells (more than 2000 of which have gone dry in this drought) and for communities and tribes that rely upon local streams that are fed by groundwater.  

Collaborating for Success uses examples from around the state to showcase how local agencies are already successfully working with their local communities, tribes, business, and other stakeholders to manage water successfully for both communities and for the environment.

As the drought intensifies, many Californians are asking for more and faster action to protect water supplies and the environment. In the case of SGMA that answer will be found locally. As our members know well, there is nothing like public oversight and pressure to keep the wheels of democracy turning.

This is what the law says: “The groundwater sustainability agency shall establish and maintain a list of persons interested in receiving notices regarding plan preparation, meeting announcements, and availability of draft plans, maps, and other relevant documents. Any person may request, in writing, to be placed on the list of interested persons.”

If you want to be listed as an “interested stakeholder” you should contact one or all of the following:
a.    Local water agency (if groundwater is a source) – check your water quality report to find out your source of water, and your water bill to get contact information
b.    Board of Supervisors for your county
c.    Current groundwater management agency  - The state maintains a list on the Department of Water Resources website so you can check to see if you have a local agency

Take the time to review our report – and then get involved!