Public invited to workshop on sustainable Sierra Valley groundwater management
The public will have an opportunity to discuss and provide input on local implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in the Sierra Valley at a workshop to be held Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 4-6 p.m., at Sierra Christian Church, 81059 Highway 70, in Beckwourth.
Governor Brown signed into law a legislative package comprised of three bills (Assembly Bill (AB) 1739, Senate Bill (SB) 1168, and SB 1319) on Sept. 16, 2014. These laws are collectively known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act).
SGMA (pronounced sigma) defines sustainable groundwater management as the “management and use of groundwater in a manner that can be maintained without causing undesirable results.”
SGMA requires groundwater basins to be managed under a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) and to achieve sustainability in 20 years.
The state has prioritized 98 basins that must comply with SGMA, including the Sierra Valley Groundwater Basin, which is one of the basins that must develop a Plan by Jan. 31, 2022.
SGMA requires locally controlled Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to develop and implement a sustainability plan to meet the sustainability goal of the basin without causing undesirable results or impacts. SGMA identifies six indicators that impact a basin’s ability to reach sustainability which are referred to as undesirable results when they do not achieve locally developed sustainability goals. These undesirable results include: chronic lowering of groundwater levels, significant and unreasonable reduction of groundwater storage, seawater intrusion, degraded water quality, significant land subsidence, and depletions of interconnected surface water that have adverse impacts on uses of the surface water.
The Sierra Valley Groundwater Management District and Plumas County are the two GSAs in the Sierra Valley Basin and have begun working together to develop a GSP.
Over the next two years, local authorities will host periodic public workshops to ensure that groundwater users and the general public have an opportunity to be a part of the planning process and to provide both input and comments at key milestones during GSP development. Representatives from the Sierra Valley Basin GSAs will participate in the workshops.
The main goal of the workshop on Dec. 3 is to ensure that groundwater users learn more about current efforts and next steps that the GSAs are taking to implement this law and to manage groundwater in the basin. The workshop will include the presentation of results from a recent groundwater study. The public will have an opportunity to provide input on groundwater-related impacts informed by the results of the study.
How to learn more
For more information about local groundwater management in Sierra Valley visit: www.sierravalleygmd.org/sustainable-groundwater-management-act.
To learn more about SGMA, visit www.groundwaterexchange.org.