September 18, 2018 | Water in the West | News
New website provides a one-stop shop for information on California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
To help Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) move forward with drafting and implementing their sustainability plans under California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), Maven’s Notebook, in partnership with Stanford’s Program on Water in the West (WitW) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), launched a new website, The Groundwater Exchange, to provide a central hub of science-based information related to SGMA. The site is a free, collaborative online platform designed to connect water managers, water users and community members with tools and resources to support the successful implementation of SGMA.
“In addition to consolidating resources, water managers and community members involved in developing the site wanted to be able to share their experience and learn from one another. The Groundwater Exchange has an online forum to meet that need—here users can ask questions, share materials and engage with members of the water community,” said Tara Moran, Sustainable Groundwater Program Lead at WitW and a member of the Groundwater Exchange Development Team.
Under SGMA more than 250 local GSAs were created and tasked with developing and implementing plans to bring groundwater conditions into balance as early as 2040. The California Department of Water Resources has provided substantial materials to support the agencies and the successful implementation if SGMA, but many agencies still have limited financial, technical and personnel resources. Additional resources developed by non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and others are disparate, appearing on individual agency sites. This new platform seeks to address this issue by consolidating information and making it more accessible to agencies and stakeholders.
“Given the complexity of groundwater management, the California Department of Water Resources greatly appreciates the collaborative efforts to develop the Groundwater Exchange, as it will help to ensure SGMA’s success,” said Taryn Ravazzini, the department’s deputy director, special initiatives. “The platform will undoubtedly serve as a valuable forum to promote information exchange among Groundwater Sustainability Agency members, decision-makers and local stakeholders.”
Key features of The Groundwater Exchange include:
- A forum to post questions, start discussions and share materials.
- An introduction to SGMA, including frequently asked questions, publications on public engagement in English and Spanish, and links to organizations that help give community members a voice in water policy and decisions.
- Searchable maps and a basin watchlist that alerts users when new information about their basin becomes available.
- A calendar and news section consolidating the latest content related to SGMA from across the Internet.
- Weekly email updates featuring new content on the Groundwater Exchange and upcoming events.
“Sustainably managing groundwater is one of the most important and complex challenges that California will face in the coming decades,” said Andrew Fahlund, senior program officer at the Water Foundation. “The Groundwater Exchange brings together the best people and ideas to achieve this crucial goal.”
“California’s agriculture industry is vital to the production of our ingredients, and we are committed to improving water sustainability in the state,” added Jeff Hanratty, applied sustainability manager at General Mills. “We are proud to support the Groundwater Exchange, which will help water managers implement their Groundwater Sustainability Plans, balancing water needs for people, agriculture and the environment.”
“We are really excited to be supporting a broader dialogue within the California water community and hope that this site helps to facilitate the exchange of innovative ideas to support sustainable water management in California and beyond,” concluded Moran.
A webinar featuring a live demonstration of the Groundwater Exchange will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11. To register, visit https://groundwaterexchangewebinar.eventbrite.com.
To learn more about the Groundwater Exchange, visit www.groundwaterexchange.org.