California to Manage Groundwater Basins Using Reporting Website, Online Maps

The California Department of Water Resources is launching a series of new boundaries that are easily accessible through a new Web portal.

by / November 24, 2015
Don Pedro Lake, CA Flickr/Joyce Cory

The California Department of Water Resources took initial steps this month toward implementing new water basin boundary regulations. A key aspect of this project is a new Web-based reporting system for boundary modifications. The website comes nearly two months ahead of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act’s Jan. 1, 2016 deadline for new basin boundary regulations.

The new website, which can be found at http://sgma.water.ca.gov/basinmod/, allows the public to access information about California’s increasingly important use of water basins during this time of drought and the boundary modifications that could determine how much water is used, and where.

“SGMA established a road map of goals and milestones for the next several years that will eventually lead to sustainable management of groundwater,” said DWR director Mark Cowen in a press release. The DWR will accept requests through the new website for basin boundary modifications through the first three months of 2016.

Additional information on the website includes information about the existing DWR Bulletin 118 groundwater basins and other relevant boundaries, such as those that are geologic and geographical, in an interactive map.

The user can zoom in on all of California’s groundwater basins to see where lines are drawn to gain specific information about much of the state’s dwindling water supply. While the website is public and available for use to anyone, the requests to change the basin boundaries are limited to local agencies only, in accordance with Basin Boundary emergency regulations. All submitted notifications and modification requests are available for public viewing on the site and can also be viewed on the interactive map.

According to the High Country News, California’s groundwater regulations require the Department of Water Resources “to identify ‘high’ and ‘medium’ priority basins, which then must establish local groundwater sustainability agencies and develop monitoring plans. With the new regulations, California became the last state in the U.S. to manage its groundwater in a statewide manner.

This article was originally published on TechWire.