Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

What is SGMA?

In September 2014, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed a three-bill package known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The legislation allows local agencies to customize groundwater sustainability plans to their regional economic and environmental needs. SGMA creates a framework for sustainable, local groundwater management for the first time in California history.

“A central feature of these bills is the recognition that groundwater management in California is best accomplished locally. Local agencies will now have the power to assess the conditions of their local groundwater basins and take the necessary steps to bring those basins in a state of chronic long-term overdraft into balance.” –Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act:

  • Provides for sustainable management of groundwater basins
  • Enhances local management of groundwater consistent with rights to use or store groundwater
  • Establishes minimum standards for effective, continuous management of groundwater
  • Provides local groundwater agencies with the authority, technical, and financial assistance needed to maintain groundwater supplies
  • Avoids or minimizes impacts for land subsidence
  • Improves data collection and understanding of groundwater resources and management
  • Increases groundwater storage and removes impediments to recharge
  • Empowers local agencies to manage groundwater basins, while minimizing state intervention

SGMA requires local agencies to establish a new governance structure, known as Groundwater Sustainability Agencies, prior to developing groundwater sustainability plans for groundwater basins or sub-basins that are designated as medium or high priority.

SGMA Timeline and Deadlines

SGMA Implementation in Tulare County

There are three groundwater sub-basins in Tulare County, they include: Kings Sub-Basin; Kaweah Sub-Basin; and Tule Sub-Basin. Multiple Groundwater Sustainable Agencies (GSAs) are currently being establish in each groundwater sub-basin.

Click on one of the groundwater sub-basins below for contact information.