Comprehensive California Groundwater Update Released to Provide Better Understanding of Groundwater Basins


Groundwater irrigation for a rice field in the agriculture region of Yuba County east of Marysville, California.

Groundwater irrigation for a rice field in the agriculture region of Yuba County east of Marysville, California.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – With California facing a severe drought and an increased reliance on the State’s groundwater basins, today the Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the final version of California’s Groundwater – Update 2020. The report, also known as Bulletin 118, contains critical information about the condition and use of the state’s groundwater, which is especially important as California faces the real-time impacts of climate change and drought.

“Groundwater plays a central role in sustaining our state’s ecosystems, businesses, agriculture, and people, with some Californians relying solely on groundwater for drinking water,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “The updated California’s Groundwater provides key information for the state and locals to better understand and manage groundwater as we adapt to variations in climate and navigate a historic drought.”

This version of California’s Groundwater provides a comprehensive look at statewide groundwater conditions and activities, including implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and the framework it provides to share information as locals work to improve groundwater management. It also focuses on emerging topics such as water markets and the impacts of climate change on groundwater and summarizes groundwater information for each of the state’s 10 hydrologic regions.

The report contains a Highlights overview section in English and Spanish, 10 Hydrologic Regional Summaries and a detailed Statewide Report, which features current knowledge of groundwater resources including information on the location, characteristics, use, management status and conditions of the state’s groundwater. The bulletin also presents findings and recommendations that support the future management and protection of groundwater.

This information also supports statewide actions being implemented as part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2020 California Water Resilience Portfolio.

California’s Groundwater is organized to share the growing amount of groundwater data that is available now and will continue to be submitted by local agencies in the future as part of the implementation of SGMA. 

New this year, DWR has developed a companion web-based dashboard, called California’s Groundwater Live, that leverages the California Natural Resources Agency’s Open Data Platform to improve the timeliness of statewide groundwater information and make it easily accessible for water managers and the public. California’s Groundwater Live is a dynamic platform with real-time data that will help generate greater awareness and improved understanding of groundwater to support more informed decisions over the long term.

To access California’s Groundwater – Update 2020 and associated documents, please visit the California’s Groundwater webpage.



Ryan Endean, Public Affairs Office, Department of Water Resources