Latest Western Water Article Examines How Groundwater Managers Are Reworking ‘Incomplete’ Plans to Meet Sustainability Goals
More than half of the most critically overdrawn basins, mainly in the San Joaquin Valley, are racing against a July deadline to retool their plans and avoid state intervention
Managers of California’s most overdrawn aquifers were given a monumental task under the state’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: Craft viable, detailed plans on a 20-year timeline to bring their beleaguered basins into balance. Altogether, they submitted plans for 20 basins for review by the California Department of Water Resources in January 2020. Earlier this year, DWR rendered its verdict: Most of the basin plans were incomplete.
Now groundwater agencies responsible for 12 of those basins are racing to meet a late July deadline to submit revised plans that measure up to SGMA’s requirements or risk the state stepping in to manage their groundwater basins. Despite the state’s verdict, some groundwater managers say they believe they’re well on their way to making the changes needed to ultimately win the state’s approval.
In our latest article, Western Water explored the array of challenges these groundwater managers face in getting their sustainability plans to fulfill the state’s requirements, how some agencies were able to largely meet the state’s expectations, and what lies ahead for those plans that fell short.
Western Water has been providing in-depth coverage of water resource issues in California and the West since 1977 — first as a print magazine and now published entirely online. The Water Education Foundation’s journalists — Jenn Bowles, who serves as executive editor of Western Water, editor Doug Beeman and writer Nick Cahill — bring deep experience covering natural resources in California and the West.
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