The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) recognizes that groundwater provides a significant portion of California’s water supply and that groundwater resources are most effectively managed at the local or regional level. SGMA legislation is not determinative of existing surface water and groundwater rights.
This legislation took effect in January, 2015, and requires all groundwater basins designated as medium or high priority by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to form local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSA's) to assess conditions in their local water basins and adopt management plans based on those assessments. Montecito Groundwater Basin (DWR Basin Number 3049) is designated medium priority. Priority designation is based on several factors, including population, number of wells, irrigated area, and groundwater conditions.
SGMA sets forth the procedures a local agency must follow to become a GSA. Montecito Water District has long been a steward of groundwater resources, and as the local agency with water supply and water management responsibilities overlying the Basin, initiated the formation of a single entity Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) in compliance with SGMA in 2016.
In November, 2018 DWR approved formation of the Montecito Groundwater Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency, making it responsible for fulfilling the requirements of a GSA for the Montecito Groundwater Basin.
The Agency is focused on considering the interests of all beneficial uses and users of groundwater as it develops and implements a Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the long-term sustainable management of groundwater for the Montecito Groundwater Basin.