SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced awarding $85.8 million in grants for groundwater sustainability projects that directly benefit severely disadvantaged communities. The final grants also fund the development of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) by local agencies. The list of awards and submitted applications can be found here.
The funds support the goals of the landmark 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which requires local agencies to sustainably manage the state’s groundwater basins.
“Sustainable management of our groundwater basins is a critical element of making our communities more resilient in the face of climate change and drought,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “These funds direct critically needed resources to disadvantaged communities and newly formed groundwater sustainability agencies so that they may address regional water supply challenges now and in the future.”
DWR received 78 applications in response to the 2017 Sustainable Groundwater Planning (SGWP) grant solicitation with a total request of $86.4 million. DWR is announcing full awards to 77 applicants and a partial award to one applicant. The final awards are consistent with the draft recommendations, announced on Feb. 6, 2018. The competitive grants are funded by Proposition 1 passed by California voters in 2014.
Of the $85.8 million awarded:
- $16.2 million will support groundwater sustainability planning and management benefitting severely disadvantaged communities.
- $69.6 million will support GSP development by groundwater sustainability agencies. Of this amount, $3.4 million is being tentatively awarded to three applicants that submitted an alternative plan to DWR in 2017. If the alternative plans are subsequently approved by DWR, the tentative awards would be withdrawn since applicants with approved alternative plans are ineligible for this funding.
The funding provides a means for local communities to create long-term sustainable groundwater management plans as required by law that help protect basins and their beneficial uses. Ultimately these plans are intended to facilitate basin-wide and regional sustainability. DWR will begin working with the grant applicants to develop and execute grant agreements.
More information about the Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant Program can be found here.