The Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency (MGA) reached two important milestones this summer and continues to make progress in meeting the mandates of the state's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). In our April 2016 column, we highlighted the formation of the MGA, and this month we are increasing awareness of the current activities, long-range goals of the MGA, and how you can stay informed and engaged.
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA): Governor Brown signed landmark legislation in 2014 that established statewide management of groundwater. Per this new law, local agencies must create a local groundwater sustainability agency by 2017 and prepare a management plan by 2020 to 2022 to achieve groundwater basin sustainability by 2040 to 2042.
MGA: The MGA is an 11-member board comprised of two elected officials from Central Water District, City of Santa Cruz, County of Santa Cruz, and Soquel Creek Water District plus three private well owner representatives. The MGA oversees the groundwater management of the Santa Cruz Mid-County groundwater basin and is responsible for bringing the over-drafted basin into sustainability by 2040. The board meetings are open to the public and held every other month on the third Thursday of the month at 7 pm. The next meeting is on November 17. Please check the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency website for the meeting location.
Two Recent Milestones: This summer, the MGA accomplished two milestones: 1) Adjustments to the groundwater basin boundaries were approved by the Department of Water Resources and 2) the MGA was recognized by the state as the 'exclusive' groundwater sustainability agency for our local basin.
Check out the Website: The Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency website is a dedicated website focusing on our local mid-county groundwater issues has been created with an easy-to-remember website address: www.midcountygroundwater.org. This site is informative and includes maps, comprehensive frequently asked questions (FAQs), board member profiles, links to the state's SGMA mandate, and a calendar of events. You can visit the web to access Board agendas, packets, and minutes too.
Sign up for Email Updates: The MGA is distributing a monthly email to share up-to-date information on local activities and meetings as well as statewide issues pertaining to groundwater. We'd like our email distribution list to grow and encourage municipal water customers, small mutual customers, and private well owners to subscribe. To sign up, visit the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency website.
Stop by the MGA Drop-In Hours: Come and chat with local representatives from the MGA in an informal setting to meet and discuss any questions you may have or to learn more. This is a great way for private well owners to come and talk with their private well representatives on the MGA. The next meeting is Thursday, October 20 from 10 am to noon at:
7807 Soquel Drive
Aptos, CA 95003
What's Next: As part of the mandate, a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) is required to be drafted and approved by the state by 2020. If a plan is not completed and accepted by this deadline, the State could step in and take over groundwater management activities in our basin. Over the next couple of years the MGA will work with stakeholders and interested parties from the Santa Cruz Mid-County area to create a plan that will address the basin's primary problems of being in critical overdraft with seawater intrusion occurring at our coastline and aim to achieve sustainability by 2040.
As always, if you have any questions about this month's topic, suggestions on how to increase awareness of the MGA efforts, or anything else related to Soquel Creek Water District, feel free to email Melanie Schumacher or call 831-475-8501, ext. 153 for more information.