If GSAs are locally controlled, what is the State’s role in this effort?

DWR is the State agency responsible for oversight of the GSAs and GSPs. DWR has a list of regulations, objectives and actions formulated to assist local agencies and GSAs with the preparation and implementation of GSPs. 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).

What is the governance structure for the GSA?

The four GSA agencies are working together under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed in 2018. These agencies are each exclusive GSAs that oversee and manage portions of the Indio Subbasin that overlay each of their respective service areas.

What authorities will GSAs have?

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.

Who is the GSA for the Indio Subbasin?

The first requirement of SGMA was to form a GSA by June 2017. The Coachella Valley Water District, Desert Water Agency, Coachella Water Authority, and Indio Water Authority each submitted application materials to become a GSA for different portions of the Subbasin that overlap their service area. Since establishing as GSAs, those four water agencies have worked together as the Indio Subbasin Management Committee to implement SGMA requirements. See map below for more information on the service area of each agency within the Subbasin.

What is a GSA?

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.