Sustainable Groundwater Management

While the YCWA has long been a steward of groundwater resources in Yuba County, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), enacted by legislation in 2014 for the first time in California history, requires the adoption of groundwater sustainability plans that are tailored to the resources and needs of their communities. Proper groundwater management helps provide a buffer against drought and climate change, and contributes to reliable water supplies regardless of weather patterns.

SGMA requires the formation of local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSA) to assess conditions in their local water basins and adopt management plans based on those assessments. It protects existing surface water and groundwater rights and does not impact current drought response measures.

SGMA is considered 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.

Any local agency or combination of local agencies overlying a groundwater basin with certain powers may be elected as a GSA for that basin. SGMA sets forth the procedures a local agency must follow to become a GSA.

Why Yuba County Water Agency is fit to be a GSA 

On August 11, 2015, the YCWA Board of Directors passed and adopted a resolution electing to become a GSA.

YCWA is well qualified to be the GSA for the portions of the North Yuba and South Yuba subbasins of the Sacramento Valley Groundwater Basin because of its boundaries and broad authority under the Yuba County Water Agency Act to ensure that sufficient water is available for present and future beneficial uses within Yuba County. In addition, YCWA has a long and successful history of managing surface water and groundwater within the county.

YCWA is taking the necessary steps to be a recognized groundwater sustainability agency for Yuba County, which will include the development of a groundwater sustainability plan.

Complying with SGMA

YCWA will coordinate efforts with five municipal water purveyors – California Water Service, Linda County Water District, the City of Wheatland, Olivehurst Public Utility District and Beale Air Force Base – and two other GSAs – the City of Marysville and Cordua Irrigation District – in developing a groundwater sustainability plan under SGMA.

Additionally, the Agency coordinates with Yuba County and the cities of Marysville and Wheatland to ensure that the Agency’s water management policies support and complement the county’s and cities’ local land-use policies.

YCWA integrates with Beale Air Force Base, which collects water quality data for both its groundwater remediation program and municipal water service purposes and regularly shares their water quality monitoring data with YCWA, and continues to coordinate with the review of monitoring activities.

Under Department of Water Resource’s California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring program, YCWA is the monitoring entity for Yuba County and coordinates with its member units and groundwater stakeholders to continually improve the accuracy of groundwater data reporting and develop opportunities for greater coordination in monitoring for potential adverse impacts.

YCWA tracks the studies and results published by the State Water Resources Control Board under its Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment program to identify specific applications to groundwater basins within Yuba County, in coordination with YCWA’s member units and other local water agencies.

YCWA is continuing its outreach to disadvantaged communities and Native American tribes within the county to achieve their consistent participation in developing sustainable groundwater management practices.

YCWA’s long history of cooperating and coordinating with various stakeholders in developing and implementing its groundwater management policies, actions and programs demonstrates that, as the GSA, it is capable of considering and protecting the numerous and diverse groundwater interests in the North Yuba and South Yuba Subbasins.