Groundwater

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

ACWA has prepared a suite of informational materials on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014, the legislative package enacted... read»
ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn and California Water Foundation Executive Director Lester Snow co-wrote an op-ed that appeared in The... read»
Gov. Brown signs groundwater legislation at the Capitol on Tuesday.
During a press event at the Capitol this morning Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law an unprecedented three-bill legislative package, known as... read»
SACRAMENTO –Timothy Quinn, executive director of the statewide Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), issued the following... read»
A three-bill package aimed at advancing sustainable groundwater management throughout California was approved by the Legislature today and... read»

Latest Posts about Groundwater

The agenda and other materials for the Sept. 3 meeting are available here. read more»
On Sept. 16, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law an unprecedented three-bill legislative package, known as the Sustainable Groundwater... read more»
  We have one specific comment related to the draft regulations for groundwater replenishment with recycled water and a general... read more»
ACWA, DWR Survey Under Way to Compile Data on Local Groundwater Management Plans and Needs for Assistance The Association of California... read more»
ACWA released a major policy document on groundwater management in April 2011. The document, “Sustainability from the Ground Up: A... read more»

Upcoming Groundwater Events

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Free webinar discussion of the new groundwater legislation and a preview of the UCDE water resources course Groundwater Law and Hydrology....
Mon, 11/17/2014 - Tue, 11/18/2014
Introduction to Groundwater and Watershed Hydrology: Monitoring, Assessment and Protection Groundwater Resources Association Co-Sponsored...