January 21, 2016
SACRAMENTO,CA – The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has identified 21 groundwater basins and subbasins in which excessive groundwater pumping has resulted in significant overdraft. Overdraft impacts can include seawater intrusion and land subsidence, in addition to chronically lowered groundwater levels. As a result, those basins and subbasins fall under the earliest deadlines required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
Under the package of historic groundwater management laws enacted by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. in September 2014, the basins identified by DWR as significantly overdrafted must have groundwater sustainability plans in place by January 31, 2020. The SGMA requires all basins designated as high – or medium -priority and subject to critical conditions of overdraft to be managed under a groundwater sustainability plan or coordinated groundwater sustainability plans two years earlier than the other high-and medium-priority basins.
This is not the first time DWR has identified basins in critical overdraft. Working with local agencies, DWR identified such basins in 1980 and 2003, as described in Bulletin 118 reports issued those years. Bulletin 118 is a comprehensive report on California groundwater resources that is periodically updated by DWR. The latest list of basins subject to critical conditions of overdraft will be published in the next update of Bulletin 118, expected in late 2016.
DWR released a draft list of basins in critical overdraft last August, holding a public meeting in the Central Valley, a statewide webcast, and 30-day public comment period in which local agencies had the opportunity to ask questions and offer guidance. DWR evaluated the comments and additional data supplied before releasing the final list.
View the final list of critically overdrafted basins and the statewide map of critically overdrafted basins here: http://www.water.ca.gov/groundwater/sgm/cod.cfm
For more information regarding California’s groundwater please visit: http://www.water.ca.gov/groundwater/index.cfm
While the early winter rain and snowpack are promising, this may yet prove to be a fifth consecutive year of drought in California. To learn about all the actions the state has taken to manage our water system and cope with the impacts of the drought, visit Drought.CA.gov. Every Californian should take steps to conserve water; find out how at SaveOurWater.com.
Timothy M. Ross Ph.D., PG, CHG