Friday, December 23, 2016

Water Resources updates report on California groundwater

From the California Department of Water Resources:
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today issued an interim update to its Bulletin 118 series, California’s Groundwater, with key information to help local agencies meet requirements and deadlines under the historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) enacted in 2014.

SGMA requirements and deadlines made it necessary to provide an interim update rather than wait for the comprehensive update of Bulletin 118 scheduled for 2020. Information provided in this interim update – groundwater basins in critical overdraft, modifications to basin boundaries, and in 2017, the priority ranking of groundwater basins – is essential to the successful implementation of SGMA.

Reassessing the prioritization of California’s groundwater basins is currently underway. The Bulletin 118 interim update will be amended in 2017 to include the approach for, and results of, the basin prioritization at the completion of that effort. The basin priority update process will include public meetings and workshops to solicit input. More information about the reprioritization of California’s groundwater basins is available here.

Under SGMA, groundwater sustainability agencies must be established for all groundwater basins that DWR has identified as high- and medium-priority by June 30, 2017. SGMA also requires that basins subject to critical conditions of overdraft, as classified in Bulletin 118, be covered by groundwater sustainability plans or their equivalent by January 31, 2020. Groundwater sustainability plans, or their equivalent, must be established for all other high- and medium-priority basins by January 31, 2022.

Today’s update of Bulletin 118 is the latest in a series of reports about California’s groundwater that date to 1952, when DWR’s predecessor, the Division of Water Resources, published a first-ever base map showing California’s principal groundwater basins. A comprehensive update of Bulletin 118 is scheduled for 2020 in accordance with Water Code section 12924 and the California Water Action Plan. It will include an inventory and assessment of efforts by groundwater sustainability agencies and the state to implement SGMA, information on groundwater management successes and challenges, and recommendations for the future.
Local and state water officials held a meeting in Redding earlier this month to educate the public on the ongoing formation of local sustainable groundwater agencies. Here is my report.

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