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Agencies scramble to meet SGMA regulations

Tulare Lake Subbasin placed on probation by state water board.

Farm Press Staff

May 9, 2024

1 Min Read
Trees are irrigated
Trees are irrigated.Todd Fitchette

Local water agencies are facing pressure from the State Water Resources Control Board to correct deficiencies in their groundwater management plans.

The Tulare Lake Subbasin recently became the first subbasin in the state to be placed under probation by the water board, according to the California Farm Bureau.

Other critically overdrafted subbasins deemed by the state to have inadequate plans included the Tule, Kaweah, Kern County, Delta-Mendota and Chowchilla subbasins, the Farm Bureau noted. The water board is set to consider probation for the Tule Subbasin on Sept. 17.

The board voted unanimously April 16 to impose probation on the Tulare Lake Subbasin in Kings County after a nine-hour hearing, the Fresno Bee reported. The board will require flow meters to be installed for pumpers who use more than 500 acre-feet of groundwater per year, according to the Bee.

A three-bill package, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act passed the Legislature and was signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014. It set up regional management of groundwater basins and gave agencies until 2042 to have sustainable management of aquifers.

A University of California report last year found that many obstacles remain in implementing the legislation, including new social and economic questions that have emerged as sustainability plans have been submitted.

To help people understand groundwater sustainability plans for their area, UC researchers created a database – the SGMA Demand Management Action Database.

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