Most San Joaquin Valley rural disadvantaged communities (DACs) rely entirely on groundwater sources often contaminated and/or located in groundwater basins, which are critically overdrafted. Groundwater overdraft is a serious problem, which worsens during drought periods. California’s most recent historic drought of 2014 had a devastating and disproportional impact on disadvantaged communities and persons relying on groundwater sources.
These same communities often lack information, technical expertise and financial resources to engage in local regional water management and groundwater sustainability planning. In order to build resilience to future water shortages, it is vital that DACs participate in regional water management and groundwater sustainability planning.
The Community Engagement and Planning (CE&P) team supports community participation in regional water management and groundwater sustainability planning and seeks to build long-term water management capacity and expertise in rural communities. Within Self-Help Enterprises’ Community Development Department, our team serves as the bridge between communities and the technical and governance processes.
CE&P conducts community outreach, convenes workshops, tours and roundtable discussions, develops and distributes bilingual educational materials and supports project development activities. The CE&P also works with the Central Valley Salinity Collation to offer free private well testing in eligible areas within Tulare County and provide interim drinking water supplies to eligible households with contaminated water. For more information on the Nitrate Drinking Water Testing and Interim Drinking Water Supply Project, click here.
What is the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act?
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGMA) is a recent law that, once fully implemented, will fundamentally change the way groundwater is used and managed in California. SGMA requires local agencies to form Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to manage and regulate groundwater and to be ultimately responsible for ensuring that groundwater conditions improve within 20 years.
What is the Integrated Regional Water Management?
Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is a voluntary planning and implementation program designed to incentivize regional collaboration, implement multi-benefits water management actions and develop projects that further IRWM goals. For more information about IRWM visit: https://bit.ly/2sIqmLv.
How can communities get involved in water management and groundwater sustainability and planning?
There are several ways community members can get involved, including: registering as an interested party for your GSA or IRWM group to receive notices of meetings, attending board and/or committee meetings and applying to serve on an advisory committee. To identify your GSA or IRWM group contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.