DWR is the State agency responsible for oversight of the GSAs and GSPs (or Alternative Plas). DWR has a list of regulations, objectives and actions formulated to assist local agencies and GSAs with the preparation and implementation of GSPs and Alternative Plans. Under law, all regulations adopted by DWR only become effective upon approval by the California Water Commission. The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) acts as the enforcement agency that reviews water use data and has the authority to directly manage basins as a result of failure by locals to comply with SGMA requirements (i.e. create a GSA, adopt and implement a GSP or Alternative Plan).
The two GSA agencies, Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) and Desert Water Agency (DWA), as well as Mission Springs Water District are working together under the Settlement Agreement that was signed in 2004. While CVWD and DWA are each exclusive GSAs, they continue to work collaboratively with Mission Springs Water District to oversee and manage the Mission Creek Subbasin.
Under SGMA, GSAs are empowered to utilize a number of new management tools to achieve groundwater sustainability, such as:
- Adopt rules, regulations, ordinances, and resolutions to implement the Act,
- Monitor compliance and enforcement,
- Require registration of groundwater extraction facilities (wells),
- Require appropriate measurement devices and reporting of extractions,
- Investigate, appropriate, and acquire surface water rights and groundwater rights,
- Acquire or augment local water supplies to enhance the sustainability of the groundwater basin,
- Propose and collect fees, and
- Impose limits on groundwater extraction.
The GSA may use a number of management tools to achieve sustainability goals. The specific tools and methods the GSA will use to achieve sustainability will be determined in discussion with stakeholders and identified in the GSP or Alternative Plan.
The first requirement of SGMA was to form a GSA by June 2017. The Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) and Desert Water Agency (DWA) each submitted application materials to become a GSA for different portions of the Subbasin that overlap their service area. Since establishing as exclusive GSAs, the two water agencies have worked together with the Mission Springs Water District (MSWD) as the Mission Creek Subbasin Management Committee to implement SGMA requirements. See map below for more information on the service area of each agency within the Subbasin.
A Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) is one or more local governmental agencies that implement the provisions of SGMA. A local agency is defined as one that has water supply, water management or land management authority. The primary purpose of a GSA under SGMA is to develop and implement a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) or Alternative Plan to achieve long-term groundwater sustainability.