Jul 9, 2020
By Ann DuBay
Sonoma County’s three groundwater sustainability agencies are holding “virtual” community workshops in July. The meetings are an opportunity for well owners, farmers and others in Petaluma Valley, Sonoma Valley and Santa Rosa Plain to learn about groundwater in these basins and to help define local, sustainable groundwater management.
The first workshop on July 15, focuses on Petaluma Valley groundwater conditions.
“Groundwater viability is an issue that affects our properties, our food system and our environment. I look forward to hearing from residents and landowners within the Petaluma Basin and gather input to help us develop a Groundwater Sustainability Plan that addresses our shared goals,” said Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt, who serves as the chair of the Petaluma Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA)
All workshops are 5:30-7:00 p.m., July 15, July 20 and July 29, and will be held virtually through Zoom. Participants must RSVP online by going to www.SonomaCountyGroundwater.org and clicking on the link to their basin.
The second workshop is slated for Sonoma Valley, on Monday, July 20.
“Past studies have identified concerns regarding groundwater levels in Sonoma Valley. As required by state law, the Groundwater Sustainability Agency is developing six sustainability indicators to help ensure that groundwater is plentiful and clean now and into the future. If you live in the valley, now is the time for you to share your thoughts,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin, who chairs the Sonoma Valley GSA.
The final workshop will be held on Wednesday, July 29 for the Santa Rosa Plain.
“The development of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) will guide how we manage our groundwater in the future. Community workshops help us get ideas and feedback from those who have wells in the basin and who rely on groundwater for their livelihood,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, who is Chair of the Santa Rosa Plain GSA.
A Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) is a 20-year plan to ensure the sustainable use of groundwater within a groundwater basin. The Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) is required by state law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), to develop a GSP by 2022. The goal of the GSP is to establish a standard for sustainability of groundwater management and use, and to determine how the basin will achieve this standard.
The Sonoma Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) is a public agency formed to sustainably manage groundwater in the Sonoma Valley groundwater basin. The agency was formed in June 2017 and has a Board of Directors, an administrator and an advisory committee.
What is the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act?
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires that California groundwater basins identified as high or medium priority establish a Groundwater Sustainability Agency by June 30, 2017, and develop a plan for sustainable management by January 31, 2022. If the local GSAs fail to follow the timeline, then the State Water Resources Control Board will step in and intervene in local groundwater management. SGMA defines sustainable management as:
“Management and use of groundwater in a manner that can be maintained during the planning and implementation horizon without causing undesirable results.”
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