'Tiny Steps' Toward Groundwater Management

Mar 17, 2015

This map shows the four biggest groundwater basins in Sonoma County. Of them, only the Alexander Valley (in yellow) will not be required to develop a Groundwater Sustainability Plan.
Credit Sonoma County Water Agency

For the first time ever, California is moving to protect and monitor groundwater resources and ensure their sustainability. But it will be up to local governments to implement the measures—with a threat of state intervention if they fall short.

  ut as the regulatory roll-out gets started, there is a big question looming over the whole long-range process, points out David Keller of Friends of the Eel River:  how much more water will be allocated to additional users, such as wineries and residential developments, in the meantime.

Credit Sonoma County Water Agency

  As drafted and approved by the California legislature last year, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act directs local agencies to take the lead in implementing the new protections. But they also held back the right to step in and take over, if the locals fail to act effectively, notes Jay Jasperse of the Sonoma County Water Agency.