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SGMA - Frequently Asked Questions

Download a printable version of the FAQs.

Vina SGMA FAQs 040523.pdf

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

Why is groundwater management important?

Groundwater supports the health of our communities, economies, and environment. Groundwater provides 30 to 60 percent of California’s water (more groundwater pumping occurs during dry years and less during wet years). Managing groundwater resources helps ensure long-term availability of water.

  • Safe and Reliable Drinking Water – Communities or individuals that rely on groundwater for drinking water can experience unsafe drinking water conditions and reduced water availability when groundwater levels get low.
  • Economy and Our Food Supply – Groundwater is a critical resource for agricultural crops throughout the state. Agriculture is an important part of California’s economy and accounts for 12.5% of the agricultural production in the United States. The central Valley which includes Butte County contributes over 60% of California's agricultural production. Agriculture is the number one industry in Butte County.
  • Land Subsidence – Heavy groundwater pumping depletes aquifers and can cause land to sink (land subsidence) causing damage to critical infrastructure like roads, bridges, levees, canals, and more. While this is not an issue in the Vina Subbasin, subsidence is being monitored as required by SGMA.
  • Limited Supply – Unlike lakes and reservoirs that can fill up after a year of above-average precipitation, it can take years or even decades to replenish groundwater.

What is SGMA?

The Groundwater Sustainability Act (SGMA) legislation passed in 2014, establishes a new structure for managing groundwater resources in California at the groundwater basin/subbasin level. Groundwater basins and subbasins are defined in the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Bulletin 118 document. SGMA requires Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to manage groundwater at the local level through the development and implementation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). The GSPs must ensure sustainable conditions by 2042.

What is SGMA compliance?

The SGMA compliance process in the Subbasin started with the formation of the Vina GSA and subsequent development and submittal of the Vina Subbasin GSP to the Department of Water Resources in December 2021. Continued compliance includes annual reporting, 5-year GSP report updates, on-going GSA coordination, and other identified SGMA compliance actions. SGMA compliance activities must be completed by the Vina GSA and submitted to the California Department of Water Resources in a timely manner to show progress toward implementing its GSP and achieving groundwater sustainability by 2042.

What is GSP implementation?

The GSP implementation is the implementation of projects and activities identified in the GSP as required for the Subbasin to achieve sustainability by 2042 as required by SGMA (

Groundwater Sustainability Agencies

Are we required to establish and maintain a GSA?

Yes, as a “high-priority” Subbasin, the Vina Subbasin is required under SGMA to be managed by local agencies that form a GSA.

What is the Vina Groundwater Sustainability Agency (Vina GSA)?

The Vina GSA was established in 2019 to meet SGMA requirements on behalf of landowners in the Vina Subbasin. Vina GSA manages GSP development and updates, GSP implementation, administration, and SGMA compliance. The Vina GSA is composed of three member agencies (City of Chico, Butte County, Durham Water District). The Vina GSA is governed by a 5-person board including a representative from each member agency and two community stakeholders.

What Does the GSA Do?

GSAs have three primary areas of responsibility:

  • GSA Administration – Managing the daily activities of running the GSA.
  • GSP implementation – Conducting public outreach, monitoring, data collection and analysis, and implementation of projects and management actions identified in the GSP to achieve groundwater sustainability.
  • SGMA compliance – Preparing and submitting annual reports and 5-year GSP updates to demonstrate progress towards sustainability by 2042.