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The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act challenges the diversity of California farms

Jessica Rudnick, Linda Estelí Méndez-Barrientos, Alyssa DeVincentis | November 16, 2016
Summary

California’s agricultural sector, a major groundwater user, finds itself in the midst of the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The law mandates the formation of local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) and adoption of groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) for all overdrafted groundwater basins across the state by 2020. Each GSA will be unique, with its own governance structures and rules, including the size and composition of the governing board, mechanisms for representing different interests, opportunities for stakeholders to participate, and rules concerning the allocation of pumping “rights” and the use of economic instruments, such as pumping permits, pumping taxes or tiered pricing, to incentivize pumping curtailments (DWR 2016). This new water management landscape may threaten the diversity of the state’s farming operations.

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Product Description

California’s agricultural sector, a major groundwater user, finds itself in the midst of the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The law mandates the formation of local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) and adoption of groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) for all overdrafted groundwater basins across the state by 2020. Each GSA will be unique, with its own governance structures and rules, including the size and composition of the governing board, mechanisms for representing different interests, opportunities for stakeholders to participate, and rules concerning the allocation of pumping “rights” and the use of economic instruments, such as pumping permits, pumping taxes or tiered pricing, to incentivize pumping curtailments (DWR 2016). This new water management landscape may threaten the diversity of the state’s farming operations.

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Keywords:

Groundwater Exchange, Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)