Groundwater Management Program
SGMA Compliance: GSA Coverage, Unmanaged Areas, and Probationary Basins
Many groundwater basins subject to SGMA are managed by several groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs), each managing a portion of the basin. All parts of a SGMA groundwater basin need to be covered by a GSA. Groundwater basins without complete GSA coverage have unmanaged areas. Those unmanaged areas are subject to State Water Board intervention. Visit our State Intervention page for details.
An unmanaged area is a portion of a high- or medium-priority groundwater basin that is not within the management area of a GSA, an adjudication, or an alternative sustainability plan. The deadline to establish a GSA was June 30, 2017. Anyone that extracts groundwater from an unmanaged area, with the exception of small domestic well users, must file a groundwater extraction report with the State Water Board each year and pay associated fees.
If GSAs do not sustainably manage groundwater use in their basin, the Board can step in to manage the basin. If the Board’s authorities to intervene in a basin are triggered, the State Water Board may designate a basin probationary after providing notice and holding a public hearing. At the hearing, interested parties will have the opportunity to address the Board. A probationary designation will identify the deficiencies that led to intervention and potential actions to remedy the deficiencies. Once a basin has been designated probationary, the Board may require groundwater extractors to install meters, measure and report all groundwater extractions, and pay fees to cover the cost of Board activities. The Board may also conduct investigations and gather data necessary for sustainable groundwater management.
For questions and additional resources about GSA formation and coverage, please contact SGMA@waterboards.ca.gov.