The public will have an opportunity to learn about a new groundwater management law and its local implementation at an open house on Monday, December 12, 2016 from 4:00-7:00 PM in the City of Redding’s Community Room at 777 Cypress Drive, Redding.

SGMA Background

On September 16, 2014, the Governor signed into law a legislative package comprised of three bills (Assembly Bill (AB) 1739, Senate Bill (SB) 1168, and SB 1319). These laws are collectively known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). SGMA (pronounced sigma) defined sustainable groundwater management as the “management and use of groundwater in a manner that can be maintained without causing undesirable results.” SGMA requires critically overdrafted basins to be managed under a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) by January 31, 2020 and groundwater basins designated as high or medium priority to be managed under a GSP by January 31, 2022. SGMA requires basins to achieve sustainability in 20 years. The State has prioritized 127 basins that must comply with SGMA. The first critical deadline for all of these basins is the formation of a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) by June 30, 2017. Failure to locally implement SGMA will cause State Water Resources Control Board intervention.

The Anderson and Enterprise Subbasins within the Redding Basin are considered medium priority groundwater basins. Currently, they are the only subbasins in Shasta County that are required to comply with SGMA.

 Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) Formation

 SGMA requires the formation of locally controlled GSAs in the State’s high and medium priority groundwater basins and subbasins. A GSA is responsible for developing and implementing a GSP to meet the sustainability goal of the basin, to ensure that it considers all groundwater uses and users in the basin, and is operated within its sustainable yield, without causing undesirable results. SGMA identifies six indicators that impact a basin’s ability to achieve sustainability. SGMA refers to these indicators as undesirable results when they do not achieve locally-developed sustainability goals. These undesirable results include: chronic lowering of groundwater levels, significant and unreasonable reduction of groundwater storage, seawater intrusion, degraded water quality, significant land subsidence, and depletions of interconnected surface water that have adverse impacts on groundwater users. Currently, the Anderson and Enterprise subbasins do not show evidence of undesirable effects. Pat Minturn, Public Works Director for Shasta County characterized the subbasins in this way. “The Anderson and Enterprise groundwater basins are robust and healthy. With proper management they should be stable for the foreseeable future.”

GSA Eligible Agencies in the Anderson and Enterprise Subbasins

Under SGMA, local public agencies with water supply, water management, or land-use responsibilities are eligible to form GSAs. A single local agency, combination of local agencies, or county may establish a GSA.

Six local agencies in Shasta County have been meeting since the summer with the intent to form a GSA for the Anderson and Enterprise Subbasins. The participating agencies include: Anderson Cottonwood Irrigation District, Bella Vista Water District, Clear Creek Community Services District, the City of Anderson, the City of Redding, and Shasta County. David Coxey, General Manager for Bella Vista Water District, underlined the central reasons these local agencies are working together. He said, “Local agencies are coming together to manage groundwater sustainably and to comply with the law, while keeping the costs down.”

 How to Learn More

 Representatives from these six local agencies will be available to speak with the public at the open house. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) will also be there. SGMA identifies DWR as the regulatory and technical assistance agency and the State Board as the enforcement agency for SGMA.

The public is invited to attend the open house any time between 4-7 PM to receive informative materials and to have informal conversations with local and state agency representatives about implementation of SGMA in the Anderson and Enterprise Subbasins. For more information about SGMA visit: http://www.water.ca.gov/groundwater/sgm/