“California’s world-class economy – its unparalleled agricultural sector, diversity, and abundance of industry and communities of all sizes and geographies -- depends on water, and with the reality of climate change, that increasingly means groundwater,” DOC
Director David Shabazian
said. “Groundwater is a critical resource that we must manage more intently to meet today’s needs while also ensuring adequate water supply in the future. These grants, which support the goals of the
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)
, help us do that.”
Established by legislation in 2014 and managed by the Department of Water Resources (DWR), SGMA is California’s framework for sustainable groundwater management. SGMA requires governments and water agencies that overlie
high- and medium-priority basins
to halt overdraft and bring pumping and recharge of groundwater basins into balance.
Staff from DOC’s
Division of Land Resource Protection
-- which administers programs that conserve California’s agricultural land, support land-management efforts, and map and analyze land-use change -- coordinated with DWR in developing the grant program. Residual funds from the Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Act of 2002 supported the grants.
“DWR appreciates the opportunity to coordinate with the Department of Conservation and is very excited about these watershed coordinator grants,” said Steven Springhorn, acting deputy director of DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Office.
“SGMA emphasizes that groundwater is best managed at the local level, and DWR is administering a number of projects and programs to assist locals with SGMA implementation. These grants build upon these efforts and support the need for ongoing collaboration between local agencies and their communities.”
The watershed coordinator positions funded by these grants will build broad coalitions of government, stakeholders, and communities to develop plans and projects to improve watershed health, and to achieve state and local natural resources goals.
“We received 26 grant applications requesting $7.5 million for the available $1.5 million in funding,” said
, who heads DOC’s Division of Land Resource Protection. “This demonstrates that the local organizations both understand how critical the implementation of SGMA is and need support to do so.”