Groundwater is instrumental in slaking California's thirst. In average years, underground basins, known as aquifers, supply about 35% of the water used by the state's cities and farms, and in drought years, that figure can jump to 60% or higher.

Many areas of the state rely exclusively on groundwater for their supplies, while other areas use groundwater to supplement their surface supplies or to meet needs when surface water is not available.

As surface water deliveries continue to be constrained, California is relying more and more on groundwater to meet needs. The shift to greater reliance makes effective management a critical challenge as the state works to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGMA).

The SGMA is a comprehensive three-bill package that provides a framework for sustainable management of groundwater supplies by local authorities, with a limited role for state intervention only if necessary to protect the resource.

The SGMA is considered just one part of a statewide, comprehensive water plan for California that includes investments in water conservation, water recycling, expanded water storage, safe drinking water, wetlands and watershed restoration. The plan is intended to ensure a reliable water supply for California for years to come.

Ultimately, for sustainable groundwater management to succeed, California must also invest in conveyance improvements in the Delta, additional surface storage and groundwater storage to optimize both water supply reliability and ecosystem health, and substantial investments in local water resources development.

For more information on SGMA, please visit ACWA's groundwater spotlight page.

Latest News about Groundwater

The California Department of Water Resources today implemented new groundwater basin boundary regulations, a key provision of the state... read»
The California Department of Water Resources is hosting a webinar on Nov. 12 to discuss implementation of SB 13 (Pavley), which added new... read»
The California Department of Water Resources today released the guidelines it has developed for local agencies to follow when forming a... read»
A two-day course on the fundamental principles of groundwater and watershed hydrology will be offered Nov. 9 – 10 on the UC Davis... read»
The California Water Commission Wednesday approved the California Department of Water Resources' emergency regulations for modifying... read»

Latest Posts about Groundwater

The following ACWA 2015 Regulatory Summit PowerPoint presentations are available: read more»
Attached below are PDFs of presentations and materials from recent workshops held on local implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater... read more»
The agenda and other materials for the Sept. 3 meeting are available here. read more»
California enacted landmark legislation in 2014 known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The legislation provides a... read more»