The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 creates an opportunity to establish standards for the way California accounts for its stores of groundwater, which provide up to 60 percent of the state’s water supply during droughts.
The new law requires regional agencies to prepare Groundwater Sustainability Plans for “high” and “medium” priority groundwater basins, as designated by the California Department of Water Resources .
Earlier this year we suggested an outline for developing the plans in an orderly, scientific and transparent fashion. Central to each plan will be a water budget analysis, which catalogs the conceptual framework and available data on the hydrologic function of groundwater basins. The water budget serves as a summary of knowledge on a basin and a potent screening tool to evaluate approaches for sustainable management.... (continued)