You are here


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

More information on the MGA can be found at The MGA received support from the Department of Water Resources Counties with Stressed Groundwater Basins grant program.