In September 2014, Governor Brown signed a package of measures collectively referred to as the “Sustainable Groundwater Management Act” (SGMA). These measures created the framework for local agencies to organize themselves and develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) tailored to the needs of the basins/sub-basins in their region.

To implement their obligations under SGMA, local agencies, including many counties, formed Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) and, generally, are focused on developing GSPs to reach “sustainability” of the underlying basins within 20 years. For those basins/sub-basins designated as critically over-drafted, the GSPs were due to the Department of Water Resources (DWR) by January 31, 2020; for basins designated as high- or medium-priority, basin plans are due on January 31, 2022.

In a demonstration of the seriousness of not meeting obligations required under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), last Friday, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that Madera County will not be receiving the $500,000 grant it had requested to assist with well installation for groundwater monitoring on behalf of groundwater sustainability agencies in the Madera sub-basin. As recently as 24 January 2020, the DWR staff had recommended awarding the full amount. However, with the inability of one sub-basin GSA in Madera County to achieve a signed coordination agreement, as required under the SGMA, DWR reversed its recommendation for funding. The draft funding list is available here.