Groundwater provides up to 60 percent of California's water supply, contributes to stream flow, and supports many ecosystems. Despite its importance, groundwater went unregulated until passage of the Sustainable Groundwater management act in 2014 (SGMA).
In addition to requiring the formation of new agencies to manage groundwater, SGMA requires local agencies to develop or expand technical information about the groundwater basins they are managing, including estimating groundwater production using meters or other technologies and developing groundwater monitoring networks. Given that only 12 percent of local agencies with groundwater monitoring networks currently have a dedicated groundwater monitoring well, this will be a major task for many groundwater basins across the state.
To better understand the most pressing data needs for groundwater management in California, Water in the West and the Gould Center for Conflict Resolution surveyed individuals involved in groundwater management at the local, state, and federal level. Survey respondents included people working for water management agencies, government agencies, consultants, farmers, tribes, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This report summarizes findings from the survey.