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Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in Santa Barbara County

SGMA was signed into law by Governor Brown in 2014. Consisting of a package of three bills (AB1739-Dickinson, SB1168-Pavley, and SB1319-Pavley, as amended in 2015 (SB13-Pavley), SGMA provides a framework for the sustainable management of groundwater supplies by local agencies with provisions for state intervention if necessary to protect the resource. SGMA provides tools, authority, and deadlines for local agencies to achieve sustainability within a 20-year implementation period. The Act lays out a process and timeline that includes three steps:

1) Local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSA) must be formed by local agencies by June 30, 2017. Counties are the presumed GSAs in the absence of other entities assuming the role.

2) Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) must be adopted for basins deemed by the State to be medium or high priority by January 31, 2020 for critically overdrafted basins and by January 31, 2022 for all medium and high priority  basins.

3) Medium or high priority critically overdrafted basins much achieve sustainability by 2040 and all medium or high priority basins must achieve sustainability by 2042, subject to extension by DWR.

Basins that are subject to the legislation include all medium and high priority basins as defined by DWR that have not previously been adjudicated. Within Santa Barbara County, there are three such basins. They are the Cuyama Valley, San Antonio, and Santa Ynez Groundwater Basins. SGMA requires the completion of GSPs for each basin. Other plans, including county and city general plans will likely require updating to ensure consistency as well. 

Flyer:  California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
Presentation:  Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in Santa Barbara County

Basin Boundary Modification 

On November 17, 2015, the County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution to designate the County Water Agency as the Requesting Agency to conduct the basin boundary modification process pursuant to SGMA for the San Antonio and Cuyama Valley groundwater basins.     

Visit DWR's Basin Boundary Modification or Bulletin 118 webpage to see the final 2016 modifications.

Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in Santa Barbara County

In Santa Barbara County, basins that are subject to the SGMA include all medium and high priority basins as defined by DWR that have not previously been adjudicated. Under SGMA, these basins are required to form a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) by June 2017, and once approved by DWR may begin the process of drafting Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). 

Visit the County's Groundwater Sustainability Agencies webpage

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