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:
- 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.
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