Agencies strive to comply with SGMA regulations

Local water agencies are under pressure from the State Water Resources Control Board to correct deficiencies in their groundwater management plans.

The Tulare Lake watershed recently became the first watershed in the state to be placed on probation by the water management board, According to California Farm Bureau.

Farm Bureau noted that other overdrafted watersheds deemed by the state to have inadequate plans include the Tule, Kaweah, Kern County, Delta-Mendota and Chowchilla watersheds. The water board is scheduled to consider suspensions in the Tule basin on September 17.

On April 16, the board voted unanimously to impose a suspension on the Tulare Lake basin in Kings County after a nine-hour hearing, Fresno Bee reported. According to Bee, the board will require flow meters to be installed on pumpers that use more than 500 acre-feet of groundwater per year.

The three-bill package, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, passed the Legislature and was signed into law by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014. Established regional groundwater catchment management and gave agencies until 2042 to sustainably manage aquifers.

University of California report from last year found that many obstacles remain in the implementation of the legislation, including new social and economic issues that have arisen in connection with the submission of sustainable development plans.

To help people understand groundwater sustainability plans for their area, researchers at the University of California created the file Database – SGMA demand management activities database.