SALINAS VALLEY — California Department of Water Resources has awarded more than $10 million in funding to the Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency (SVBGSA) through the Sustainable Groundwater Management (SGM) Grant Program to support implementation of SVBGSA’s state-mandated groundwater sustainability plans in four subbasins in the region.
This award is part of a $187 million program that funds 103 activities in 32 groundwater basins across California. These efforts support and advance local sustainable groundwater management.
The $10,393,900 grant will fund various regulatory activities, such as groundwater data collection, groundwater model enhancement and community engagement and outreach within four of the six subbasins the SVBGSA manages:
- Langley Area Subbasin: Overlaying Prunedale, this subbasin includes 17,600 acres of land.
- Eastside Subbasin: Sitting east of Highway 101, this subbasin stretches across 57,500 acres and is mostly agricultural land. It includes parts of Salinas and Gonzales.
- Forebay Subbasin: This subbasin is made up of 94,000 acres of mostly agricultural land. It includes Soledad and Greenfield.
- Upper Valley Subbasin: Covering King City and San Lucas, this subbasin stretches down past the Monterey County border into San Luis Obispo County. It contains 237,670 acres of land, most of which is designated agricultural.
Utilizing the state grant, SVBGSA is planning to install new monitoring wells and conduct tests to gather more information about the specific characteristics of the aquifers, concentrating on the areas where groundwater monitoring is lacking.
The funding also supports expansion and enhancement of groundwater extraction monitoring and well registration, which are necessary actions to understand, model and manage the Salinas Valley Basin. Activities focused on expanding interested party outreach and engagement will also be funded by the grant.
“Our goal with public engagement funded by this state grant is to build on our existing communication efforts and improve the outreach to underrepresented communities,” said Piret Harmon, general manager of the SVBGSA. “We want to increase awareness about the condition of our community’s groundwater supply, as well as share information about what SVBGSA is doing and what specific actions can be taken to increase water reliability.”
A core responsibility of the SVBGSA is to develop groundwater sustainability plans by 2022 and carry out the implementation of those plans with a goal to achieve groundwater sustainability in all six subbasins in the Salinas Valley by 2042.
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act was signed into law in 2014 in response to a scientific understanding that groundwater in California is being used faster than it’s being replenished. The act requires designated groundwater basins to form a public agency to develop a groundwater management plan and implement actions that will help local subbasins reach or maintain groundwater sustainability.
The Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency was created in 2017. The Agency’s 11-member Board is comprised of stakeholders who represent diverse interests from across the Salinas Valley. Learn more at svbgsa.org.