Draft Alternative to Groundwater Sustainability Plan Ready for Public Review

Formal groundwater management in California can be traced back to 1934 when the Department of Water Resources (DWR) mapped and numbered the state’s groundwater basins. In Orange County, the basin was named Basin 8-1, the Coastal Plain of Orange County Groundwater Basin. Since that time, jurisdiction over groundwater basins remained a local concern and management programs evolved to varying degrees. Recent drought conditions and, in some places the over-drafting of groundwater basins, demonstrated the need to enhance management of these important water supplies.

In response, the California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was passed in 2014. This new law provides increased authority for local agencies to manage groundwater and requires that most groundwater basins be under sustainable management within 20 years. Agencies already sustainably managing a groundwater basin, such as OCWD, were provided an opportunity to comply with SGMA by preparing an alternative to a sustainable management plan (called simply ‘Alternative’) by January 1, 2017.

OCWD, the city of La Habra and the Irvine Ranch Water District recently completed a draft report, Basin 8-1 Alternative. This document provides a comprehensive description of basin hydrogeology, management of water supply and water quality, and programs that demonstrates the basin has been sustainably managed for many years. This document is posted on the OCWD website for public review. Comments are welcomed until December 5, 2016 and may be directed to Marsha Westropp, mwestropp@ocwd.com.