California lagged many other states in groundwater management before passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014. Now, with careful implementation of the new law, California has an opportunity to transform into a model for the West and other water-challenged parts of the world.
EDF is providing guidance to groundwater agencies on how to navigate complex groundwater issues to comply with the new law in order to successfully bring groundwater supplies back into balance.
Reports and white papers
- Groundwater pumping allocations under California's Sustainable Management Act: Considerations for groundwater sustainability agencies [PDF]
This paper addresses one major dilemma facing Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs): how to comply with SGMA without changing groundwater rights. It provides background on groundwater rights priorities and then recommends one approach among four to develop an allocation scheme that is most likely to withstand a court challenge.
- Addressing regional surface water depletions in California: A proposed approach for compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act [PDF]
In this paper, Environmental Defense Fund proposes an approach for GSAs to address surface water depletions – also known as the “sixth deadly sin” or “Undesirable Result No. 6” – under SGMA.
- Groundwater trading as a tool for implementing California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act [PDF]
This report describes how groundwater trading can be a compelling, cost-effective tool to achieve the goals of SGMA. While trading is not a panacea, it can reward conservation, create new revenue streams for groundwater users, boost a community’s drought resilience and improve aquifer conditions.
- The groundwater manager's dilemma: How to comply with new California law without changing water rights
September 4, 2018
- How water managers can address surface water depletions - California's "sixth deadly sin"
August 15, 2018
- What can Nebraska teach the American West about managing water? A lot.
February 23, 2018
- California's rural water systems needs leaders. Who will step up next?
December 21, 2017
- Sunshine, beaches and...saltwater intrusion? Solving for groundwater decline on California's coast
December 11, 2017
- 7 lessons from a California water leader on managing for the future
January 23, 2018
- Water heroes emerge in California's Central Valley
December 19, 2016