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What is Groundwater?

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Groundwater is found beneath the Earth’s surface in the spaces between soil, sand, gravel, or rocks. These underground reservoirs, called aquifers, range in size from small pockets of water to vast underground formations. Groundwater is the world’s largest source of freshwater and supports 40 to 60% of California's freshwater needs. 

Groundwater provides essential support to agriculture, industries, and communities while playing a crucial role in sustaining rivers, wetlands, and habitats. Furthermore, California's groundwater is critical in mitigating the impacts of drought because it is available even during dry years; however, long periods of drought or overextraction can lead to groundwater depletion. 

SGMA

El 16 de septiembre de 2014, el gobernador Jerry Brown promulgó un paquete legislativo de tres proyectos de ley, compuesto por AB 1739 (Dickinson),SB 1168 (Pavley)ySB 1319 (Pavley), coleccionarnively conocido como el Ley de Gestión Sostenible de las Aguas Subterráneas (SGMA)

El objetivo de SGMA es detener el sobregiro y lograr objetivos de sostenibilidad definidos localmente en las 94 cuencas de agua subterránea de prioridad alta y media de California. SGMA empodera a los gobiernos locales y agencias de agua dentro de estoscuencas de prioridad alta y media para formar Agencias de Sostenibilidad de Aguas Subterráneas (GSA).  Las GSA deben desarrollar e implementarPlanes de Sostenibilidad de Aguas Subterráneas (GSP) que proporcionan el marco sobre cómo se gestionan los recursos locales de aguas subterráneas para lograr la sostenibilidad a largo plazo.

 

Las GSA deben lograr la sostenibilidad dentro de los 20 años posteriores a la implementación de sus respectivos GSP. Los GSP para cuencas críticamente sobreexplotadas (es decir, donde los niveles de agua subterránea están experimentando una tendencia a la baja significativa) debían presentarse en enero de 2020; mientras que los GSP para cuencas de prioridad media y alta debían presentarse en enero de 2022. El Departamento de Recursos Hídricos de California (DWR) es la agencia de supervisión que brinda asistencia técnica y revisión de los GSP para evaluar si los planes cumplen con la SGMA. Los GSP que no cumplen con la SGMA se remiten a la Junta Estatal de Control de Recursos Hídricos, que trabaja con estas GSA para resolver problemas de fallas de cumplimiento y cumplir con los requisitos de la SGMA.

https://gis.water.ca.gov/app/bp-dashboard/final/

Las GSA deben llevar a cabo proyectos y acciones de gestión para alcanzar los objetivos de sostenibilidad de su cuenca. Esto puede incluir proyectos de recarga de aguas subterráneas y estrategias de gestión adaptativa para gestionar de forma sostenible los recursos de aguas subterráneas. Las GSA deben presentar informes de actualización anuales al DWR para documentar el suministro y el uso de agua, y para actualizar el progreso logrado por cualquier proyecto y/o estrategia de gestión implementado desde la adopción del GSP. Los GSA deben realizar una actualización cada cinco años del GSP evaluando el éxito de los proyectos y las acciones de gestión implementadas, y si las condiciones proyectadas en el momento del desarrollo del GSP son precisas en comparación con las condiciones observadas. La revisión quinquenal podrá incluir una reevaluación del rendimiento sostenible y la confirmación de los umbrales de sostenibilidad establecidos en el SGP. DWR espera que los planes se adapten con el tiempo a medida que cambien las condiciones, especialmente cuando California experimenta condiciones climáticas extremas y períodos de sequía severa.

The Yucaipa Groundwater Sustainability Agency

The Yucaipa Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) was formed in 2017 by a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between local water purveyors, municipalities, and regional water agencies to jointly develop and implement a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP).   The following members of the GSA decided to  refer to the organization as the Yucaipa Sustainable Groundwater Management Agency, or Yucaipa SGMA to directly link the organization with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

 

Members of the Yucaipa Sustainable Groundwater Management Agency include:

City of Redlands

City of Yucaipa

San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District

San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency

South Mesa Water Company

South Mountain Water Company 

Western Heights Water Company

Yucaipa Valley Water District

The roles and responsibilities of the Yucaipa SGMA were set forth in bylaws adopted in May 2018. The Yucaipa SGMA is controlled by a governing board composed of one representative of each of the parties to the Memorandum of Agreement. The officers of the governing board include a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. The officers and one alternate are chosen at the first regular meeting held each calendar year. The voting structure for matters pertaining to the establishment and implementation of the administrative components of the Yucaipa GSA are by simple majority (51%) of the voting parties, wherein each member agency holds a single vote. A majority of the board is considered a quorum for purposes of meeting and decision making.

The Plan Manager for the Yucaipa GSA is:

Mark Iverson, President Yucaipa GSA (m.iverson@westernheightswater.org)

Yucaipa Groundwater Sustainability Agency

c/o San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District

380 East Vanderbilt Way, San Bernardino, California 92408

A Sustainable Groundwater Basin

The SGMA defines sustainable groundwater management as the “management and use of groundwater in a manner that can be maintained during the planning and implementation horizon without causing undesirable results” (California Water Code, Section 10721). Undesirable results, as defined in the SGMA, are any of the following effects caused by groundwater conditions occurring throughout the basin: 

  • Chronic lowering of groundwater levels indicating a significant and unreasonable depletion of supply if continued over the planning and implementation horizon

  • Significant and unreasonable reduction of groundwater storage

  • Significant and unreasonable degradation of water quality, including the migration of contaminant plumes that impair water supplies

  • Significant and unreasonable seawater intrusion

  • Significant and unreasonable land subsidence that substantially interferes with surface land uses

  • Depletions of interconnected surface water that have significant and unreasonable adverse impacts on beneficial uses of the surface water

 

The sustainability goal for the Yucaipa GSA is to manage groundwater resources for sustainable, long-term use in the Yucaipa Subbasin. Long-term sustainable management includes: 

  • Maintaining sufficient groundwater in storage to allow for ongoing groundwater production that meets the operational demands of the water purveyors and private well users, and the regulatory commitments established in the Yucaipa GSP Plan Area.

  • Ensuring that groundwater production does not result in significant and unreasonable loss of groundwater-dependent ecosystems.

Of the six sustainability indicators outlined by the SGMA, four apply to the Yucaipa Subbasin:

(1) chronic lowering of groundwater levels 

(2) significant and unreasonable reduction of groundwater storage

(3) significant and unreasonable land subsidence

(4) depletions of interconnected surface water

Sustainability criteria were established in the Yucaipa GSP for each of these four sustainability indicators to evaluate when management actions would need to be implemented to prevent undesirable conditions in the Yucaipa Subbasin.

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