Best Management Practices and Guidance Documents

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), Water Code Section 10729, directs DWR to “publish on its internet Web site best management practices for the sustainable management of groundwater,” and authorizes DWR to provide technical assistance to Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs). DWR has developed and published 2 categories of information – Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Guidance Documents – to assist GSAs when implementing,or updating their Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs)

BMPs and Guidance Documents are not substitutes for GSP Regulations or the statutory provisions of SGMA, but information in these publications is intended to assist GSAs with developing appropriate approaches to complying with SGMA and the GSP Regulations when developing and implementing groundwater management programs in their basins that will protect groundwater resources and advance the sustainable management of groundwater. DWR may develop additional BMPs and Guidance Documents, or make revisions to the existing publications, as needed. 

 

The Groundwater Sustainability Plan Emergency Regulations (GSP Regulations) define BMPs as “the practice, or combination of practices, that are designed to achieve sustainable groundwater management and have been determined to be technologically and economically effective, practicable, and based on best available science.” 

In brief, BMPs provide:

  • Clarification
  • Guidance
  • Examples to help GSAs develop the essential elements of a GSP

DWR has developed these BMPs based on technical information from other groundwater management efforts, existing standards, and other guidance or reference reports.

BMP 1
BMP 1 Monitoring Protocols Standards and Sites ( PDF) | (Publish Date:
Tags: Groundwater-Management, Sustainable-Groundwater-Management-Act
BMP 2
BMP 2 Monitoring Networks and Identification of Data Gaps ( PDF) | (Publish Date:
Tags: Groundwater-Management, Sustainable-Groundwater-Management-Act
BMP 3
BMP 3 Hydrogeologic Conceptual Model ( PDF) | (Publish Date:
Tags: Groundwater-Management, Sustainable-Groundwater-Management-Act
BMP 4
BMP 4 Water Budget ( PDF) | (Publish Date:
Tags: Groundwater-Management, Sustainable-Groundwater-Management-Act
BMP 5
BMP 5 Modeling ( PDF) | (Publish Date:
Tags: Groundwater-Management, Sustainable-Groundwater-Management-Act
View BMP
BMP 6 Sustainable Management Criteria DRAFT ( PDF) | (Publish Date: Version: DRAFT
Tags: Groundwater-Management, Sustainable-Groundwater-Management-Act
BMP Framework
BMP Framework ( PDF) | (Publish Date:
Tags: Groundwater-Management, Sustainable-Groundwater-Management-Act

BMP Resources

Guidance Documents address topic areas relevant to SGMA for which no established standards in the water management industry exist and provide clarification on issues that may not have been specifically identified in the GSP Regulations, with the intent to promote water conservation, protect groundwater resources, and advance the sustainable management of groundwater.

New and In Development:


 Guidance on Interconnected Surface Water

DWR will release a series of papers giving a general overview of the technical aspects of interconnected surface water (ISW). These papers will discuss the quantification of depletions of ISW due to pumping. View DWR's Fact Sheet (updated February 2024) for more details on the information to be included in these documents. To download documents that have been released and for the most current information about project status, see below.

  • Paper 1: Depletions of ISW: An Introduction (PDF | Draft Published February 2024)
  • Paper 2: Techniques for Estimating Depletions of ISW (Expected Spring 2024)
  • Paper 3: Examples of Approaches for Estimating Depletions of ISW (Expected Spring 2024)

Using the technical basis provided in these three papers, DWR will develop guidance for Groundwater Sustainability Agencies to consider when establishing ISW sustainable management criteria (SMCs) to manage depletions of ISW for their groundwater basin.

  • Guidance for Establishing SMCs for Depletions of ISW (Expected Late Summer 2024)

Groundwater Sustainability Plan Implementation

A guide to Annual Reports, Periodic Evaluation, and Plan Amendments

 

These documents provide guidance to GSAs preparing Annual Reports, Periodic Evaluations, and GSP Amendments for GSP implementation and compliance with SGMA and the GSP Regulations.

Published: October 30, 2023


Additional Guidance Documents:

Considerations for Identifying and Addressing Water Well Impacts Cover
Considerations for Identifying and Addressing Drinking Water Well Impacts ( PDF) | (Publish Date:
The purpose of this document is to support and assist GSAs in fully considering and developing appropriate ways to monitor and address impacts to drinking water well users as GSAs implement their plans and prepare periodic evaluations for submittal to DWR.
Tags: Groundwater-Management, Sustainable-Groundwater-Management-Act, SGMA, Groundwater-Sustainability-Plans
Climate Change Resource Guide Cover
Resource Guide for Climate Change Data and Guidance ( PDF) | (Publish Date:
The Resource Guide gives GSAs and other stakeholders a high-level overview of the climate change resources including datasets provided by DWR, tools for working with the DWR-provided datasets, and guidance for using DWR-provided data and tools in developing GSPs. The datasets and methods can provide technical assistance to GSAs for developing projected water budgets.
Tags: Groundwater-Management, Sustainable-Groundwater-Management-Act, Climate-Change, Groundwater-Sustainability-Plans, Sustainable-Groundwater-Management-Act, Hydrology, Data
Climate Change Guidance Document Cover
Guidance for Climate Change Data Use During Sustainability Plan Development ( PDF) | (Publish Date: Version: Final
The objective of this Guidance Document is to provide Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) and other stakeholders with information regarding climate change datasets and related tools provided by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) for use in developing Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). The datasets and methods are provided as technical assistance to GSAs to develop projected water budgets.
Tags: Groundwater-Management, Sustainable-Groundwater-Management-Act, Climate-Change, Groundwater-Sustainability-Plans, Sustainable-Groundwater-Management-Act, Hydrology, Data
Stakeholder Communication and Engagement - SGMA GSP Guidance Doument
Stakeholder Communication and Engagement ( PDF) | (Publish Date: Version: Final
This guidance document provides GSAs information to aid with stakeholder communication and engagement for GSP preparation and to provide examples and existing resources related to public engagement and effective communication for SGMA implementation.
Tags: SGMA, Groundwater-Sustainability-Plans
SGMA Guidance - Engagement with Tribal Governments
Engagement with Tribal Governments ( PDF) | (Publish Date: Version: Final
This guidance document conveys information, as provided by California’s Tribal governments, by which local agencies can engage Tribal governments as part of an effort to identify interested persons, and consider the interests of beneficial users of groundwater; including those users on Tribal lands not subject to SGMA.
Tags: Groundwater-Management, Sustainable-Groundwater-Management-Act
GSP Outline
GSP Annotated Outline ( PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date: Version: 1
The objective of this Guidance Document is to provide Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) and other stakeholders an example Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) Annotated Outline to aid in GSP development and standardize future reporting.
Tags: SGMA, Groundwater-Sustainability-Plans
GSP Checklist
Preparation Checklist for GSP Submittal ( PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date: Version: 1
The objective of this Guidance Document is to provide Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) and other interested stakeholders a checklist of Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) content requirements for the purpose of verifying a GSP is complete and is ready for submission to DWR.
Tags: SGMA, Groundwater-Sustainability-Plans