San Diego County Sustainable Groundwater Management


In September 2014, Governor Brown signed into law the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which provides a framework to regulate groundwater for the first time in California’s history. SGMA became effective January 1, 2015.  The intent of the law is to strengthen local groundwater management of basins most critical to the state’s water needs with an understanding that groundwater is most effectively managed at the local level.

SGMA requires basins to be sustainably managed by local public agencies (e.g., counties, cities, and water agencies) who become groundwater sustainability agencies, or GSAs.  The primary purpose of the GSAs is to develop and implement a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (Sustainability Plan) to achieve long-term groundwater sustainability. 

Comprehensive stakeholder involvement is critical to sustainable groundwater management, and SGMA requires GSAs to involve stakeholders and interested parties in implementation of SGMA.

SGMA in San Diego County

In San Diego County, the State has designated three of the county’s basins as medium- or high-priority and subject to SGMA: Borrego Valley (Borrego Springs Subbasin), San Luis Rey Valley (Upper San Luis Rey Valley Subbasin), and San Pasqual Valley. 


SGMA Implementation Timeline

SGMA has set the following deadlines in order to prevent state intervention:

Deadline: Action:
June 30, 2017 Formation of Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs)
January 31, 2020 Adoption of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (Sustainability Plans)
Critically Overdrafted Basins (e.g., Borrego Springs Subbasin)
January 31, 2022 Adoption of Sustainability Plans        
Other Basins (e.g., Upper San Luis Rey Valley, San Pasqual Valley)
20-Year Implementation Period Implementation of Sustainability Plans

General Information About Groundwater and SGMA


For More Information

If you have additional questions about San Diego County Sustainable Groundwater Management, please email

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SGMA in San Diego County is funded, in part, by the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, administered by State of California, Department of Water Resources.