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Groundwater Management


Sustainable Groundwater Management

The district has managed groundwater resources in Santa Clara County since 1929, and conditions have been sustainable for many decades due to district activities protect and augment groundwater supplies. In 2014, Governor Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to promote the local, sustainable management of groundwater supplies. For basins designated as medium and high priority by the state, SGMA requires the identification of local groundwater agencies and the development and implementation of plans to achieve sustainability. 

Decision to Become the Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA)

SGMA lists the district as the exclusive groundwater management agency within its statutory boundary, which includes all of Santa Clara County. Following public notice and a public hearing on May 24, 2016, the district Board of Directors adopted a resolution to become the GSA for the Santa Clara and Llagas subbasins, the primary subbasins within the county. The only other local basins that are currently subject to SGMA requirements are the Hollister and San Juan subbasins, which are centered in San Benito County with small portions extending into Santa Clara County. Following public notice and a public hearing on June 13, 2017, the district became the GSA for the portions of these subbasins within Santa Clara County.   

Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) or Alternative 

SGMA requires preparation of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) for all medium and high priority basins. Recognizing that groundwater is already well-managed in many areas, SGMA also allows specified Alternatives to a GSP. While GSPs must be completed by 2022 (or 2020 if the basin is in critical overdraft), Alternatives had to be submitted to DWR by January 1, 2017. 

The 2016 Groundwater Management Plan for the Santa Clara and Llagas Subbasins (GWMP) describes the district's groundwater sustainability goals, and the strategies, programs, and activities that support those goals. The GWMP was developed under authority granted by the Santa Clara Valley Water District Act. Following a public hearing and after considering public comments, the district Board of Directors adopted the 2016 GWMP on Nov. 22, 2016. The GWMP was submitted to DWR as an Alternative to a GSP on Dec. 21, 2016. 

For the Hollister and San Juan Bautista subbasins, the district is coordinating with the San Benito County Water District (SBCWD, the GSA for the San Benito portions) to develop a GSP by the 2022 deadline. Because the majority of these subbasins are in San Benito County, SBCWD is leading the GSP efforts.

Interested Parties

If you would like to receive information on groundwater management activities in the Santa Clara and Llagas subbasins, including SGMA compliance, please email us at [email protected].

If you would like to receive notifications on GSP development for the Hollister and San Juan Bautista subbasins (including the Santa Clara County portions), please contact Barbara Mauro, the SBCWD Board Clerk who is maintaining the interested parties list: [email protected]    

This webpage was last updated on August 30, 2018. For questions, please contact us at [email protected].