Friday, March 11, 2016

Groundwater Management for the Upper Ventura River

Formation of the "Upper Ventura River Groundwater Management Agency" began in 2015 in response to State legislation passed in response to the statewide water crisis.
  • Assembly Bill 1739 by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento)
  • Senate Bill 1168 by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills)
  • Senate Bill 1319 by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills)
"California will no longer be the only Western state that does not manage its groundwater. The cost of doing nothing is the biggest economic gamble. Thousands of homes and small farms cannot keep pace with the race to drill deeper and deeper wells. The bills take a balanced approach - they protect property rights and incentivze local control." 
- Senator Fran Pavley
The legislation allows local agencies to tailor sustainable groundwater plans to their regional economic and environmental needs. This will be accomplished through the Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) being formed by the local water districts.

A Groundwater Sustainability Agency has the following powers and authorities:
  • Management of Groundwater Extractions
  • Water Well Management
  • Groundwater monitoring and reporting
  •  Replenishment activities
  •  Fees
  •  Enforcement
  • Ongoing data collection, analyses, and reporting

A primary goal will be to develop a Groundwater Sustainability Plan to achieve sustainability within 20 years.   This will include determination of Sustainable Yield ( maximum that can be extracted without causing undesirable result) and associated Groundwater Allocations and Alternative Supplies.

The boundaries of the groundwater basin were a major topic of discussion at the stakeholder meeting on Jan 28, 2016.  A presentation described a rationale for re-drawing the boundaries based on an updated geological interpretation as shown below.  The blue line marks the proposed change from the previously established red line boundary.

The committee that is working to form the Upper Ventura River Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) has launched a website,

More information:
DWR Basin Boundary Modification Request website includes the documents and comments 
If you have questions regarding the new agency, or would like to be on an e-mail distribution list for future updates, call or e-mail Bert Rapp, general manager, Ventura River Water District at 805/646-3403,

Implementing California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act