DWR: State Groundwater Monitoring Standards To Emphasize Local Control

September 14, 2010

Groundwater is best managed at the local level, according to the representatives from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA). That principle emerged as a theme during DWR's final workshop on the new California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring program (or “CASGEM”) that DWR is developing in response to SBx7-6, part of the statewide water legislation enacted in 2009.

DWR plans to release draft program guidelines in late September for a 30-day public comment period, DWR representatives said at the September 2, 2010, workshop in Sacramento. The new program guidelines will embrace local management of groundwater as a guiding principle, DWR and ACWA representatives said.

To that end, DWR and ACWA representatives encouraged local agencies to organize and coordinate groundwater monitoring to the extent possible, so that DWR can focus its limited resources on problem areas. One expected problem area arises in locations where no existing groundwater monitoring programs exist. In such areas, DWR's priority will be to facilitate development of a monitoring program by local agencies, DWR representatives said. Use of flexible standards for monitoring requirements would allow more local agencies to monitor and report groundwater conditions in ways that are practical and realistic, according to DWR. The state monitoring standards are expected to account for the size of agencies and the existence and scope of existing groundwater monitoring activities.

DWR's September 2 workshop presentation is available for review on the DWR’s website: http://www.water.ca.gov/groundwater/pdfs/CASGEM%20Workshops%20PDF_Aug-Sept-10.pdf.

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