On September 16, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a three-bill legislative package (AB 1739, SB 1168, and SB 1319) collectively known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). For the first time in its history, California has a framework for sustainable, groundwater management.
In his signing statement, the governor emphasized that “groundwater management in California is best accomplished locally.” SGMA empowers local agencies to form Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to manage basins sustainably and requires those GSAs to adopt Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) for medium- and high-priority groundwater basins in California. GSPs for critically over-drafted basins are due by January 31, 2020. GSPs for other high- and medium-priority basins are due by January 31, 2022. All high- and medium-priority basins should reach sustainability within 20 years of implementing their GSPs. For critically over-drafted basins, that will be 2040. For the remaining high and medium priority basins, the deadline is 2042.