On August 29, 2014 the California Legislature passed comprehensive groundwater legislation contained in SB 1168, SB 1319 and AB 1739. Collectively, those bills, as subsequently amended, enacted the "Sustainable Groundwater Management Act" (SGMA). Governor Brown signed the legislation on September 16, 2014 and it became effective on January 1, 2015.
The Eastern San Joaquin Groundwater Authority was established as a public entity with the mission of the Authority providing dynamic, cost-effective, flexible and collegial organization to ensure initial and ongoing SGMA compliance within the Basin.
Public Involvement for Eastern San Joaquin’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan
SGMA requires Groundwater Sustainability Agencies identify and engage stakeholders to develop their Groundwater Sustainability Plans. The Eastern San Joaquin Groundwater Authority is committed to active stakeholder engagement and public outreach in the development of a GSP.
SGMA Requirements for Stakeholder Engagement
- Consider the interests of all beneficial uses of water and users of groundwater (Section 10723.2)
- Encourage the active involvement of diverse social, cultural and economic elements of the population within the groundwater basin (Section 10727.8)
- Establish and maintain a list of persons interested in receiving notices regarding plan preparation, meeting announcements and availability of draft plans, maps and other relevant documents (Section 10723.4)
- Make available to the public and the California Department of Water Resources a written statement describing the manner in which interested parties may participate in the development and implementation of the GSP (Section 10723.2)
SGMA Groundwater Management
On September 16, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a three-bill legislative package, known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). For the first time in its history, California has a framework for sustainable, groundwater management.
SGMA requires governments and water agencies of high and medium priority basins to halt overdraft and bring groundwater basins into balanced levels of pumping and recharge by 2022. For critically over-drafted subbasins including the Eastern San Joaquin Groundwater Subbasin, this deadline is accelerated to 2020. Under SGMA, subbasins should reach sustainability within 20 years of implementing their sustainability plans. For critically over-drafted basins, that will be 2040. For the remaining high and medium priority basins, 2042 is the deadline.
SGMA empowers local agencies to form Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to manage basins sustainably and requires those GSAs to adopt Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs).
The Eastern San Joaquin Groundwater Authority (GWA) provides a forum for the 17 GSAs of the eastern San Joaquin Subbasin to work together to develop and implement a single GSP.