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Groundwater Sustainability Plan Emergency Regulations

New!California Water Commission Approved Groundwater Sustainability Plan Emergency Regulations (May 18, 2016 - Clean version)
New!California Water Commission ApprovedGroundwater Sustainability Plan Emergency Regulations (May 18, 2016 - Strikeout version)

The legislative intent of the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is for groundwater to be managed sustainably in California’s groundwater basins by local public agencies and newly-formed groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs). In the basins designated by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) as medium and high priority, local public agencies and GSAs are required to develop and implement groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) or alternatives to GSPs (Alternatives). Pursuant to Water Code Section 10733.2, DWR is required to draft and adopt emergency regulations for the evaluation of GSPs and Alternatives, the implementation of GSPs and Alternatives, and coordination agreements by June 1, 2016.

Although not subject to SGMA, local public agencies in basins designated as low and very-low priority are encouraged and authorized to form GSAs and develop GSPs, update existing groundwater management plans, or coordinate with others to develop a new groundwater management plan in accordance with Water Code Section 10750 et seq. Groundwater management plans that were developed in California prior to SGMA are shown here.

Timeline for Adopting GSP Emergency Regulations

The following is the anticipated schedule and next steps for adopting the GSP Emergency Regulations:

Events Schedule*
Release of Draft GSP Emergency Regulations for public review and comment February 18, 2016
Public meetings to consider comments on Draft GSP Emergency Regulations March 21-25, 2016
Public comment period for Draft GSP Emergency Regulations ends April 1, 2016
Public release of the proposed GSP Emergency Regulations May 10, 2016
Presentation of proposed GSP Emergency Regulations to California Water Commission for consideration and adoption May 18, 2016
Submission of adopted GSP Emergency Regulations to Office of Administrative Law Late May, 2016

*All dates are subject to change.

Approach for Developing GSP Emergency Regulations

DWR established a comprehensive, multi-phased outreach approach to: (1) educate the public about groundwater science and the regulatory requirements of SGMA; (2) better understand important regional and local issues; and (3) collect statewide information to assist with the development of GSP emergency regulations. Throughout 2015 and into 2016, DWR regularly met with numerous SGMA advisory groups and conducted public meetings and webinars to gather perspectives from other statewide stakeholders, partners, and local agencies, which have been considered in the Draft GSP Emergency Regulations.

Phase 1 – Scoping (Collection of Issues)

There are many complex issues associated with managing a basin to comply with the requirements and legislative intent of SGMA. As such, DWR divided the GSP issues into ten separate, though related, themes and prepared topic papers for the purpose of having meaningful and focused discussions with advisory groups, stakeholders, State agency partners, and the public. The ten topic papers that DWR used to solicit input during its GSP outreach efforts are included below.

Phase 2 – Discussion Papers and Public Informational Sessions

Outreach related to the ten GSP topic papers were conducted in three batches between June 2015 and September 2015. DWR also held a public informational session and webcast for each batch of topics in July, August, and September 2015. The public comments received on the topic papers are available here.

     Batch 1 GSP Information Meeting and Webcast: Announcement, Agenda, Presentation, and Webcast
     Batch 2 GSP Information Meeting and Webcast: Announcement, Agenda, Presentation, and Webcast
     Batch 3 GSP Information Meeting and Webcast: Announcement, Agenda, Presentation, and Webcast

Phase 3 – Draft GSP Emergency Regulations and Required Public Meetings

Local agencies, interested parties, and the general public were provided the opportunity to comment on the Draft GSP Emergency Regulations between February 18, 2016, and April 1, 2016. In addition to many advisory group meetings and stakeholder engagements, DWR held three required public meetings and a webinar in March 2016. In accordance with Water Code Section 10733.2(e), the Draft GSP Emergency Regulations were posted on this website at least 30 days before the required public meetings. Informational items related to the Draft GSP Emergency Regulations are provided below.

Phase 4 – GSP Emergency Regulations

New!California Water Commission Approved Groundwater Sustainability Plan Emergency Regulations (May 18, 2016 - Clean version)
New!California Water Commission Approved Groundwater Sustainability Plan Emergency Regulations (May 18, 2016 - Strikeout version)

The proposed GSP Emergency Regulations were presented to the California Water Commission on May 18, 2016, for consideration of approval. The California Water Commission unanimously approved the proposed regulations, as written, on May 18, 2016. DWR will submit the Final GSP Emergency Regulations and the Notice of Proposed Emergency Rulemaking to the Office of Administrative Law, and will make that information available on this website by June 1, 2016..

In accordance with the provisions of SGMA, GSAs and local public agencies must comply with the adopted GSP Emergency Regulations to sustainably manage California’s high- and medium-priority groundwater basins. Pursuant to Water Code Section 10733.2, DWR was required to draft and adopt emergency regulations for the evaluation of GSPs and Alternatives, the implementation of GSPs and Alternatives, and coordination agreements by June 1, 2016. These regulations were developed after DWR conducted an extensive public engagement process.

More Information

For additional information please contact Trevor Joseph at Trevor.Joseph@water.ca.gov or 916-651-9218.

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