Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

What is the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)?

A New State Law: The "Sustainable Groundwater Management Act" (SGMA) took effect on January 1, 2015. SGMA provides for the preparation and implementation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP) for High and Medium priority groundwater basins. Based on the 2014 Final Basin Prioritization by the State Department of Water Resources (DWR), there are five high and medium priority groundwater basins mapped in San Luis Obispo County:

  • Paso Robles (High Priority)
  • Atascadero (High Priority)
  • Santa Maria (High Priority)
  • Los Osos (High Priority)
  • San Luis Obispo (Edna) Valley (Medium Priority)
  • Cuyama Valley (Medium Priority)

Why is Heritage Ranch Community Services District involved in SGMA?

The Heritage Ranch Community Services District boundary overlaps the groundwater basin boundary recognized by the DWR. The "Paso Robles Area Subbasin" of the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin (locally referred to as the "Paso Robles Groundwater Basin"), DWR Bulletin 118 Basin No. 3-4.06, lies in northern San Luis Obispo County and extends into Monterey County. The subbasin is bounded by the Santa Lucia Range on the west, the La Panza Range on the South, and the Temblor and Diablo Ranges on the east. The basin overlies approximately 505,000 acres (790 square miles).

Paso Robles Area Subbasin

Groundwater Sustainability Agency

SGMA established a new structure for managing California's groundwater resources at a local level by local agencies. SGMA requires the formation of locally-controlled groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) in the State's priority groundwater basins.

Is Heritage Ranch Community Services District a GSA?

Yes. The Heritage Ranch Community Services District has formed a GSA. GSAs are tasked with assessing conditions in their local basins and adopting local management plans or "Groundwater Sustainability Plans" (GSPs). Each high and medium priority groundwater basin must be managed in its entirety by one or more GSAs in a coordinated manner. There is more than one GSA for the Paso Robles Area Subbasin.

Paso Robles Area Subbasin GSAs

Resolution authorizing formation of the Heritage Ranch Community Services District GSA

Paso Basin Cooperative Committee

What is the Paso Basin Cooperative Committee (PBCC)?

The Heritage Ranch Community Services District GSA worked collaboratively with the other local GSA's to form the Paso Basin Cooperative Committee. The purpose of the Cooperative Committee is to develop one single Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) for the entire basin that will be considered for adoption by each individual GSA and subsequently submitted to the Department of Water Resources for approval by January 31, 2020. The Paso Basin Cooperative Committee is comprised of the following GSA's.

  • City of El Paso de Robles
  • County of San Luis Obispo
  • Heritage Ranch Community Services District
  • San Miguel Community Services District
  • Shandon-San Juan Water District

About the Paso Basin Cooperative Committee.

Current news, information and agendas for the Cooperative Committee can be found here.

Groundwater Sustainability Plan

What is a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP)?

SGMA also requires that GSAs develop and implement a groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) to meet the sustainability goal of the basin or subbasin to ensure that it is operated within its sustainable yield, without causing undesirable results. The Heritage Ranch Community Services District via the Paso Basin Cooperative Committee and a Memorandum of Agreement, intend to write a single GSP for the entire basin.

Basin Boundary Modification Request

What is a Basin Boundary Modification Request (BBMR)?

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) implemented new basin boundary regulations on November 16, 2015. The basin boundary modification is anticipated to be finalized in the updated Bulletin 118 in early 2017. DWR anticipates another basin boundary modifications request opportunity in 2018.

The Heritage Ranch Community Services District (District) believes that a minor modification of the DWR Bulletin 118 should be considered based on science. If approved, the District's boundary would no longer overlap the groundwater basin boundary. The District submitted a BBMR in 2016; however, that request was denied by DWR. The District Board of Directors directed staff to further develop scientific justification, gather support from the other GSAs in the Paso Robles Basin, and re-apply for a boundary modification at the next available date.

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Additional SGMA Information

Additional SGMA information can be found on the DWR website.