Friday, January 4, 2019

Local Agencies Launching Survey on Sub-basin Groundwater Usage

GALT, CA - Local agencies will soon be surveying property owners in the Cosumnes Sub-basin on their groundwater use, the first step in a concerted effort to ensure the sub-basin can comply with a new state law to manage groundwater sustainably.

Over the past two years, a number of local agencies have been working diligently to lay the groundwork for an ongoing analysis that will assess the extent to which groundwater usage in the Cosumnes Sub-basin is sustainable and, if not, what steps will be taken to make sure there is a long-term balance between groundwater use and supply. This effort has been sparked by a historic state law passed in 2014, known as the Sustainable Management Groundwater Act (SGMA)

To date, the conversations have centered on figuring out which agencies will help implement the law and how they will work together.  Seven different entities have stepped up to shoulder the burden:  Galt Irrigation District, City of Galt, Clay Water District, Omochumne-Hartnell Water District, Sloughhouse Resource Conservation District, Amador County and Sacramento County.  These agencies are referred to as Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs).  They are supported by the Water Forum, an organization of community and government leaders, non-profits, and businesses formed 25 years ago to mediate regional water issues.

Now the effort is broadening. In the coming weeks, local property owners should expect a mailer from their local GSA seeking input on their groundwater use. The GSAs encourage locals to fill out the voluntary survey as it will help EKI, the technical consultant who will be helping the sub-basin draft a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP), begin piecing together a better understanding of how and where groundwater is pumped and used throughout the sub-basin. 

This survey is just the start of a three-year process that will provide multiple opportunities for groundwater users to help shape the sub-basin’s approach to managing its groundwater.  A series of public workshops are expected in early 2019.  An earlier series was held in 2017 to provide a broad overview of the new law.

About SGMA
Effective January 1, 2015, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) establishes a robust framework for the sustainable management of groundwater resources for the first time in California’s history. SGMA’s intent is to achieve sustainable groundwater conditions statewide and to locally manage groundwater basins while minimizing state intervention.  SGMA mandates that all high and medium priority groundwater basins in California must be managed sustainably over a 20-year implementation period.  The Cosumnes Subbasin is a medium priority subbasin.

Cooperation and coordination among agencies, landowners, stakeholders and others concerned with groundwater usage in the subbasin is crucial to successful SGMA implementation and to maintaining local control over the subbasin’s groundwater resources. In order for SGMA implementation to be responsive to local interest, public involvement and input is key to ensuring a thoughtful, locally driven plan for the Cosumnes Subbasin.

Opportunities for public engagement
Visit to sign up for the interested parties email list.
Get in touch with your local GSA and attend their meetings.
Attend a monthly SGMA Working Group or Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting. Meetings, held from 9-12 p.m. on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at the Galt Police Department Community Room, are open to the public and have periods for public comment.
Request an organizational briefing from the Water Forum or a GSA.

A website,, includes up-to-date information on groundwater planning in the Cosumnes and the opportunity to sign up to receive more information.

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