More Information and Resources
This webpage contains additional information and resources related to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which is a landmark law that empowers local agencies, known as Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs), to manage groundwater resources. SGMA, which took effect January 1, 2015, is based on the premise that groundwater is best managed locally. However, SGMA is different than other prior groundwater laws in that it requires, in areas where local agencies are unable or unwilling to sustainably manage their groundwater, that the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) determine whether it should temporarily intervene through a process known as state intervention to manage groundwater resources until local agencies are able to do so adequately. State intervention is additional to local management and is intended to be temporary. The State Water Board has developed resources and provides information below to help interested parties better understand SGMA.
Other SGMA Links
More SGMA Information for Well Owners
The California Department of Water Resources' Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Website
Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), high- and medium-priority basins in the state, as designated by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), formed Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) and developed Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) to locally manage groundwater. The GSAs submitted their plans to DWR via their online SGMA Portal for evaluation and assessment. After DWR decides that a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) is inadequate, or part of a basin is not managed under a GSA (known as an unmanaged area), the State Water Board may intervene.
The Department of Water Resources' Dry Well Reporting System
Well owners can use this online portal to submit a report that their private well is dry and learn about resources for homeowners. Additionally, the portal provides statistics and maps showing reported dry wells in California.
More SGMA Information for State Agencies, Local Agencies, and Others Involved with SGMA Implementation
SGMA Water Quality Visualization Tool
SGMA's Groundwater Quality Visualization Tool
Developed in collaboration with the Board's Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA) program, the SGMA Groundwater Quality Visualization Tool helps GSAs and other interested parties identify which groundwater quality constituents (pollutants) should be addressed in their GSPs. The State Water Board encourages GSAs and other interested parties to explore the Groundwater Quality Visualization Tool. This tool provides a review of water quality constituents specific to all high- and medium-priority groundwater basins. The constituents listed in this tool are known to be influenced by basin-wide groundwater management and exceed regulatory thresholds (i.e., water quality criteria or objectives) within the selected high- or medium-priority groundwater basins. This tool does not interpret the cause of those exceedances.
State Water Board Comment Letters Provided to the California Department of Water Resources
Staff of the State Water Board provided the following comment letters to the Department of Water Resources. These letters are also posted to DWR's online SGMA portal. State Water Board staff reviewed GSPs in preparation for any potential consultation with DWR on plan adequacy as required by SGMA. The State Water Board prepared the letters below to support DWR’s review of GSPs since the Board has long-standing regulatory authority and expertise in areas such as drinking water, water quality, and water rights.
- Cuyama Valley Basin (12/08/2022)
- Indian Wells Valley Basin (12/08/2022)
- Groundwater Quality Considerations for High and Medium Priority Groundwater Basins (11/22/2022)
- Antelope Subbasin (09/13/2022)
- Los Molinos Subbasin (09/13/2022)
- Ojai Valley Basin (07/01/2022)
- San Joaquin Valley – Madera Subbasin (03/21/2022)
- San Joaquin Valley – Kaweah Subbasin (11/19/2021)
- San Joaquin Valley – Kings Subbasin (11/19/2021)
- San Joaquin Valley – Merced Subbasin (08/23/2021)
- San Joaquin Valley – Tulare Lake Subbasin (08/23/2021)
- Sacramento Valley – North Yuba and South Yuba subbasins (08/23/2021)
- San Joaquin Valley – Chowchilla Subbasin (08/23/2021)
- San Joaquin Valley – Eastern San Joaquin Subbasin (08/23/2021)
- Salinas Valley – 180/400-Foot Aquifer Subbasin (12/08/2020)
- Salinas Valley – Paso Robles Area Subbasin (12/08/2020)
- Santa Cruz Mid-County Basin (12/08/2020)
State and Regional Water Board Programs
The Water Boards’ programmatic areas below may assist and inform interested parties and Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) on water quality, drinking water, funding, and water rights.
- Water Rights: Capturing surface water to recharge groundwater can help achieve groundwater sustainability and compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Capturing and storing surface water generally requires an appropriative water right. Parties can apply to obtain new water rights or change existing water rights to authorize groundwater recharge projects.
- Water Quality: SGMA hosts a water quality visualization tool (see above for more information) specific to selected groundwater basins and constituents (pollutants) known to be influenced by groundwater management processes. The Water Board's Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA) Program hosts on-line maps and databases that show the concentration of many groundwater constituents over time. The State Water Board also maintains a searchable Water Quality Goals database, containing a compilation of numeric water quality thresholds from state and federal regulations, and from literature for hundreds of chemical constituents and water quality parameters.
- Drinking Water: The State Water Board regulates public drinking water systems in the state for the protection of drinking water supplies Field operation branches throughout the state are responsible for the enforcement of the federal and California Safe Drinking Water Acts and the regulatory oversight of approximately 7,500 public water systems to assure the delivery of safe drinking water to all Californians.
- Financial Assistance: The State Water Board’s financial assistance programs include loan and grant funding for projects including the construction of drinking water treatment and distribution systems, municipal sewage conveyance and treatment systems, water recycling facilities, remediation for underground storage tank releases and groundwater contamination, and technical assistance for small communities.
- Regional Water Quality Control Boards: There are nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards (Regional Water Boards) located in California. Each Regional Water Board makes critical water quality decisions for its region including setting water quality standards, issuing waste discharge requirements, determining compliance with those requirements, and taking enforcement actions. These nine Regional Water Boards exercise rulemaking and regulatory activities by basins.
- Probationary Designation and Groundwater Regulation by the State Water Board (2019)
Designación de Probatoria y Regulación del Agua Subterránea por parte de la Junta Estatal del Agua
- Water Quality Frequently Asked Questions (2019)
Preguntas Frecuentes de la Calidad del Agua
- Resources for GSAs to Consider when Complying with SGMA (2019)
Recursos para las Agencias de Sustentabilidad del Agua Subterránea para Tomaren Cuenta al Cumplir con la Ley de Gestión Sustentable del Agua Subterránea
- Stakeholder Inclusion (2019)
Integración de los Interesados
- State and Regional Water Boards Basics (2019)
Fundamentos de las Juntas Estatal y Regionales del Agua
- Funding Opportunities for Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (2019)
Oportunidades de Financiamiento
- Purposes of Use for Underground Storage Projects (2019)
Finalidad de Uso para los Programas de Almacenamiento Subterráneo
The Frequently Asked Questions on Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (2017) provides general guidance on some frequently asked questions about GSA formation and will be updated as necessary. The information provided in this document supplements additional frequently asked questions about GSAs that the California Department of Water Resources has responded to on its Sustainable Groundwater Management Act GSA website.
If you have questions, please contact us at 916-322-6508 or email at SGMA@waterboards.ca.gov.