Sustainability from the Ground Up: A Framework for Groundwater Management in California

ACWA released a major policy document on groundwater management in April 2011. The document, “Sustainability from the Ground Up: A Framework for Groundwater Management in California,” provides an in-depth look at current efforts to manage groundwater basins in California and recommends proactive steps to advance sustainable management.

Following the release of the Framework, an implementation subcommittee started working on an action plan for 2012‐'13. The final plan, completed in January 2012, includes two elements: (1) a matrix of each recommendation in the Framework with status and timeline for action, and (2) a narrative document, which expands upon several areas that will be the focus for 2012‐2013.
The subcommittee chose the priorities based on complexity of issue, existing and potential partnerships, and resource requirements. ACWA intends to collaborate with stakeholder organizations from many different interest areas on the various priorities to ensure timely and successful implementation.
Organizations interested in additional details regarding the action plan are encouraged to contact Danielle Blacet, ACWA senior regulatory advocate.

Groundwater Survey

As part of the Framework implementation, ACWA is partnering with the Department of Water Resources to conduct a survey on groundwater management activities in California.

Read more on the survey here.

Background on the Framework

The ACWA Groundwater Framework was developed over 18 months by a task force of ACWA members and groundwater managers with extensive regional input and review. It highlights examples of successful local groundwater management programs around the state, identifies impediments to success at the local level, and recommends specific actions and policies to help ensure the sustainability of California’s locally managed groundwater resources.

As the Framework notes, California has a long history of managing groundwater resources through locally controlled programs. Though many of these programs have been very effective, the array of challenges on the horizon will demand even more of local agencies and require a greater commitment to sustainable management – especially as California relies more and more on groundwater as surface water deliveries continue to be constrained.

Tools for Members

ACWA has developed several tools, including a fact sheet, talking points, frequently asked questions, and local contacts, to familiarize members with the document and help them respond to any inquiries they may receive. Those tools are available below.

Groundwater Framework Fact Sheet

Groundwater Framework FAQ

Local Contacts

Groundwater Framework Briefing [VIDEO]

April 4 Briefing in Sacramento

In conjunction with the release of the Framework, ACWA hosted a briefing April 4 in Sacramento. A video of the briefing may be viewed here.

Materials from the briefing include:

Briefing Agenda

Central Valley Groundwater Storage Graphic

Conjunctive Use in the Santa Clara Valley

Case Study Graphic: Upper Kings River Basin

Case Study Graphic: Sacramento Groundwater Authority

Case Study Graphic: Orange County Water District 

News Release

Framework and Executive Summary

The Framework and Executive Summary may be downloaded below: 

Groundwater Framework

Executive Summary

To order printed copies of the Framework or the Executive Summary, please click here.


For questions on the Framework, please contact ACWA Regulatory Advocate Danielle Blacet.

ACWA Groundwater Framework.pdf2.16 MB
Executive Summary.pdf1.29 MB
Groundwater Framework Action Plan 2012-2013--FINAL.pdf115.79 KB
Groundwater Framework Implementation Matrix 2012-2013--FINAL.pdf107.49 KB