Santa Cruz County (January 30, 2017) - This past summer the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency (MGA) participated as a case study for a Stanford University report called "To Consolidate or Coordinate: Status of the Formation of Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSA)s in California." The report notes that the MGA is the only basin thus far to coordinate multiple agencies to govern a GSA. The MGA has been viewed as a model agency for leading the way for GSA development and demonstrating collaboration.
Key findings of the report include:
- As of October 31, a total of 106 entities had submitted notices to serve as GSAs. The vast majority of these notices came from single agencies rather than collaborations among multiple agencies, and over a third had voluntary groundwater management plans in place prior to SGMA.
- Local agencies had submitted GSA notices to cover all or part of 51 high- and medium-priority basins, ranging from one to 14 prospective GSAs per basin.
- Of these 51 basins, 13 are completely covered by a single GSA, 10 were covered by multiple GSAs that were overlapping or not yet exclusive and 28 had incomplete coverage.
- Only one basin — the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater basin — is being governed by a newly created governance structure involving multiple agencies.
- Seven inter-related factors played a role in decisions about the scale of GSAs, and whether to pursue consolidated or coordinated approaches to management at the basin scale: 1) basin size; 2) degree of heterogeneity in basin conditions; 3) concerns about autonomy and representation; 4) needs for financing GSA activities; 5) existing capacity to serve as a GSA; 6) prior collaborative experience; and 7) the presence of trusted basin-wide leadership.
To read the full report go to http://waterinthewest.stanford.edu/publications/consolidate-or-coordinate-formation-groundwater-sustainability-agencies.
More information on the MGA can be found at www.midcountygroundwater.org. The MGA received support from the Department of Water Resources Counties with Stressed Groundwater Basins grant program.