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Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)


SGMA Basin Boundary Modification

Sutter County is proposing a jurisdictional basin boundary modifications to the East Butte Subbasin (5-021.59) and Sutter Subbasin (5-021.62). The jurisdictional internal/consolidation modification contains two boundary modification requests: (1) Change all the subbasin boundaries to match exactly the Sutter County jurisdictional boundary; and (2) incorporate (absorb) all of the East Butte Subbasin within Sutter County jurisdictional boundary into the Sutter Subbasin.

This basin boundary modification request will allow for efficient implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in Sutter, Butte, Colusa, Yolo, and Yuba Counties. Dividing the subbasins along county lines will allow for development and implementation of county-specific plans for sustainable groundwater management.

Groundwater Management Plan (Previous Legislation)

Sustainable Groundwater Management Plan Sutter County prepared a Groundwater Management Plan (GMP) in accordance with the California Water Code, Article 10750. The overall goal of the GMP is to ensure that the quantity and quality of groundwater in the County is sustained. GMPs for basins designated by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) as medium and high priority may no longer be adopted or updated as of January 1, 2015.

California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

On September 16, 2014, the Governor signed into law a three-bill legislative package Assembly Bill (AB) 1739 (Dickinson), Senate Bill (SB) 1168 (Pavley), and SB 1319 (Pavley). These laws are collectively known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). SGMA defines sustainable groundwater management as the “management and use of groundwater in a manner that can be maintained during the planning and implementation horizon without causing undesirable results”. “Undesirable results” are defined in SGMA and are summarized here as any of the following effects caused by groundwater conditions occurring throughout the basin:
  1. Chronic lowering of groundwater levels indicating a significant and unreasonable depletion of supply
  2. Significant and unreasonable reduction of groundwater storage
  3. Significant and unreasonable seawater intrusion (Not Applicable)
  4. Significant and unreasonable degraded water quality
  5. Significant and unreasonable land subsidence
  6. Depletions of interconnected surface water that have significant and unreasonable adverse impacts on beneficial uses of the surface water

Groundwater Sustainability Plan Emergency Regulations

The intent of SGMA is for groundwater basins to be managed sustainably by local public agencies. For medium and high priority basins, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) are required to develop and implement Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) or Alternatives to GSPs (Alternatives) to avoid potential State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) intervention. Any local public agency with water supply, water management or land use responsibilities is eligible to become a GSA. Counties are presumed to be the GSA if no other is identified. GSPs or Alternatives will supersede the existing GMP as they may no longer be updated or adopted.

Sutter County Subbasins

The Sacramento Valley Groundwater Basin has been divided into 18 subbasins, three of which fall within Sutter County:
  1. East Butte Subbasin: Medium Priority; 20% in Sutter County, 80% in Butte County
  2. Sutter Subbasin: Medium Priority; 100% in Sutter County
  3. North American Subbasin: High Priority; 25% in Sutter County, 40% in Placer County, and 35% in Sacramento County

Local Action Deadlines

  • Alternatives to a GSP (Alternative) – January 1, 2017
  • Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) formation – June 30, 2017
  • Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) – January 31, 2022
  • Achieve Groundwater Sustainability – January 31, 2042
  • Groundwater Legislation Timeline 
Sutter Subbasin GSA Workgroup Meetings

The GSA's within the Sutter Subbasin, and other interested parties, will be meeting regularly to discuss the governance structure and GSP development in the subbasin. Notices and agendas can be found below.

California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring (CASGEM) Program


Contact Information

Senior Civil Engineer:
Guadalupe Rivera, P.E.
1130 Civic Center Blvd.
Yuba City, CA  95993
Phone Number:
(530) 822-7400
Fax Number:
(530) 822-7109