Various Clients | California

ERA Economics is engaged in a range of projects related to the development and implementation of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGMA), which transitions the state’s groundwater basins to being sustainably managed through the development and implementation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). ERA Economics supports this work by identifying cost-effective solutions and management strategies that protect the value of agriculture and its contribution to the regional economy.

For example, in 2018, the Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) comprising Chowchilla and Madera Subbasins began developing comprehensive, coordinated Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) to comply with the requirements of SGMA. GSP development has been guided by an active stakeholder engagement process in both subbasins. The stakeholder engagement process and resulting GSP development leveraged longstanding water management activities in each subbasin, including an existing groundwater management plan; an active surface water and groundwater monitoring program; the Madera County Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWMP); the Chowchilla Water District and Madera Irrigation District Water Management Plans (WMPs); urban water management plans; and other past studies, reports, and activities.

Development of the Groundwater Sustainability Plans has followed a phased, iterative process. Activities were strategically sequenced to meet an aggressive schedule. Interrelated components were developed in parallel when appropriate and efficient, including the plan area, basin setting, monitoring network, sustainable management criteria, and projects and management actions. The team of Davids Engineering, ERA Economics, and the Center for Collaborative Policy worked closely together and with the GSAs and other consultants throughout the development process. Important milestones include development of the MCSim Groundwater Model and historical, current, and future conditions water budgets. The team worked with the GSAs and stakeholders to establish sustainable management goals and criteria, characterize potential undesirable results, and establish minimum thresholds, measurable objectives, and interim milestones. Projects and management actions were developed using the MCSim model, water budget information, and other tools in an integrated evaluation of the feasibility, benefits, and costs of existing and potential Projects and Management Actions.

ERA Economics also worked with the Luhdorff and Scalmanini team to prepare the Solano Subbasin GSP, and the Davids Engineering team to prepare the Colusa Subbasin GSP. Development of these Groundwater Sustainability Plans for subbasins that are not critically overdrafted followed a similar, sequential procedure. The Colusa and Solano GSPs included consideration of Projects and Management Actions to address localized groundwater management issues. ERA Economics led the development of Projects and Management Actions and Plan Implementation chapters. ERA continues to support subbasins and their GSAs with GSP implementation.