2016 NGWA Groundwater Summit

Implementing SGMA — California's Foray into Groundwater Regulation

Monday, April 25, 2016: 12:00 p.m.
Confluence Ballroom C (The Westin Denver Downtown)
Leslie Dumas, P.E., D.WRE , RMC Water and Environment, Walnut Creek, CA

In November of 2014, the California governor signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), 100 years after the passing of the Water Commission Act of 1914 which established California’s surface water rights and permitting process. Effective January 1, 2015, SGMA establishes a new structure for sustaining groundwater in California and, for the first time, attempts to manage groundwater use in the state outside of the legal courts. While the goal of SGMA is unmistakable, the Act itself provided a clear timetable for implementation along with a mixed bag of useful tools for sustainable groundwater management and conflicting directions which have the potential to stymie implementation. Now almost one year into the process, state regulators are scrambling to develop guidelines and regulations while water agencies and public entities grapple with the implications of the Act and initiate tentative steps towards meeting key deadlines. In general, SGMA compliance consists of four key steps: (1) designation of basin priorities and identification of basins that are in critical overdraft; (2) determining if groundwater basin or subbasin boundaries require modification and addressing these changes; (3) development of Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs); and (4) preparation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). Presented herein are summaries of progress made to date relative to complying with SGMA, problems that have arose and solutions suggested, and an assessment of what SGMA implementation will really mean for the state of California as it tries to achieve groundwater sustainability by the year 2040.

Leslie Dumas, P.E., D.WRE, RMC Water and Environment, Walnut Creek, CA
Leslie Dumas is a hydrologist and senior project manager with RMC Water and Environment. She graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech, and an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. In her 15+ years of practicing engineering, Dumas has provided hydrogeologic, hydrologic, environmental, and scientific consultation for projects throughout the United States. She has managed multidisciplinary teams on a wide variety of projects including water resources planning, groundwater investigation and modeling, resource planning, environmental permitting, and site remediation.