Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

On September 16, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a three-bill legislative package, composed of AB 1739 (Dickinson), SB 1168 (Pavley), and SB 1319 (Pavley), collectively known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). For the first time in its history, California has a framework for sustainable, groundwater management – “management and use of groundwater in a manner that can be maintained during the planning and implementation horizon without causing undesirable results.”

SGMA requires governments and water agencies of high and medium priority basins to halt overdraft and bring groundwater basins into balanced levels of pumping and recharge. Under SGMA, these basins should reach sustainability within 20 years of implementing their sustainability plans. For critically over-drafted basins, that will be 2040. For the remaining high and medium priority basins, 2042 is the deadline

Kern Groundwater Authority

Governor Brown emphasized that “groundwater management in California is best accomplished locally.” Through the Sustainable Groundwater Management Program, DWR provides ongoing support to local agencies through guidance and financial and technical assistance. SGMA empowers local agencies to form Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to manage basins sustainably and requires those GSAs to adopt Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) for crucial groundwater basins in California. On April 26, 2017, The Kern Groundwater Authority ( elected to become a GSA and was formed for the purpose of:

  • Coordinating groundwater management programs and activities;
  • Identifying and addressing issues pertaining to sustainable groundwater management; and
  • Establishing a framework for local groundwater management.


Rosedale Rio Bravo Management Area

The Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District has established the Rosedale-Rio Bravo Management Area (RRBMA) which will be included in the Kern GSA and will produce a chapter in the Kern GSP. It is one of several Management Areas formed within the Kern County Subbasin. The RRBWSD is approximately 40,000 acres and there is about 6,000 acres of Non-Districted (White Lands) also included in the RRBMA.

RRBWSD is forming stakeholder advisory groups to assist with the GSP development effort. Two advisory groups have been formed. The White Lands Advisory Committee is made up of stakeholders NOT in the District but in the RRBMA and the RRBMA Advisory Committee made up of stakeholders within the RRBMA. While the RRBMA is governed by the RRBWSD, unofficial stakeholder advisory groups have been established to provide an organized solicitation of input forum. These forums are made up of representatives from four key stakeholder groups: Agricultural, Urban, White Lands, Environmental Justice, and Groundwater Banking. Meetings are held monthly or as needed and geared towards discussions surrounding the development and implementation of the RRBMA SGMA GSP. The RRBWSD has designated representatives from each group.