SGMA Overview, Paso Basin and Updates

SGMA Overview, Paso Basin and Updates

SGMA Overview

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was enacted into law by former governor Jerry Brown in 2014, its purpose to provide a framework for local agencies to manage groundwater basins in a sustainable way. 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. These basins should reach sustainability within 20 years of implementing their sustainability plans.
There are six sustainability indicators, listed below, tracked for undesirable results, minimum thresholds and measurable outcomes.
  • Chronic lowering of groundwater levels
  • Seawater intrusion
  • Reduction of groundwater storage
  • Degraded water quality
  • Depletion of interconnected surface waters
  • Land subsidence

The Paso Robles Area Sub-Basin (Paso Basin)

The Paso Basin in SLO County was designated as a high-priority basin as part of the SGMA law. This designation required the immediate formation of a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) for the management of the basin. The Paso Basin is comprised of four agencies, forming the Cooperative Committee. Links to their specific Groundwater Sustainability Agency websites are below:
Heritage Ranch CSD- although originally part of the Paso basin when forming the Cooperative Committee, SGMA regulations no longer apply and has been removed.

Updates: Where Are We Now?

The GSA is responsible for producing the Paso Basin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP), which is currently in the planning stage. On June 30th, 2017 the first milestone was completed by forming the GSA. The next deadline is January 31st, 2020 to formally submit the GSP.
A period of public comment on 4 chapters and 3 appendices (listed below) of the GSP closed on July 1st, 2019 and the committee will review and move forward at their next regular meeting.
  • Chapter 9: Project & Management Actions • Chapter 10: Plan Implementation
  • Chapter 11: Notice and Communication • Chapter 12: Interagency Agreements
  • Appendix H: Water Supplies • Appendix I: Technical Project Information
  • Appendix K: Memorandum of Agreement
A full draft of the GSP is expected for public review in August of this year.

Links & References

CA Department of Water Resources
Paso Robles Groundwater Communication Portal- website used by the Cooperative Committee to communicate with each other and with the public while creating the GSP. It tracks meetings and encourages the users of groundwater to participate.
County of San Luis Obispo- Paso Robles Groundwater Basin


Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA)

A local agency or combination of local agencies with water supply, water management or land use responsibilities. It is the GSA's responsibility to develop and implement a groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) that considers all beneficial uses and users of groundwater in the basin.

Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP)

GSAs must develop GSPs in accordance with the requirements of the California Department of Water Resources' GSP Regulations. The plan(s) must include measurable objectives and interim milestones that ensure basin sustainability within 20 years of GSP adoption.

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