Nathan Metcalf outlines the three stages of implementation for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
- Develop groundwater sustainability agencies
- Implementation of groundwater sustainability plans
- Showing sustainable groundwater management
Management at a local level means counties, cities, water districts, or a combination of those districts. This is complicated by the fact that the groundwater basin doesn't always overlie the jurisdictional boundaries of those agencies, requiring cooperative agreements such as Memorandums of Understandings or JPAs.
By default, the county is the managing agency if no other agency is formed by June 30, 2017 (high and medium priority basins). For basins in critical overdraft, the date is January 31, 2017. All other basins must have their plan in place by January 21, 2022.
Agencies already managing groundwater resources have until June 30, 2017 to submit an alternative plan. But all agencies must prove sustainability: managing groundwater resources in a sustainable manner, and dealing with issues such as saltwater intrusion, poor groundwater quality, or subsidence.