Groundwater

Humboldt County Public Works is coordinating the local response to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) with input and guidance from the Eel River Valley Groundwater Working Group. SGMA was signed into law in September 2014 and applies to designated medium- and high-priority basins within the state. Currently there is one medium-priority basin, the Eel River Valley groundwater basin, within Humboldt County.

Groundwater Sustainability Plan Alternative Submittal

SGMA contained provisions for local agencies to submit Groundwater Sustainability Plan Alternatives (GSP Alternatives) by January 1, 2017, if there was evidence demonstrating that the basin had been managed sustainably for at least 10 years prior to the adoption of SGMA. GSP Alternatives are more streamlined plans and do not require the formation of a Groundwater Sustainability Agency.

In 2016, Humboldt County was awarded a Prop. 1 planning grant to perform an initial assessment of the Eel River Valley groundwater basin. Based on the data and information gathered in this assessment, Humboldt County concluded that there was sufficient evidence demonstrating that the basin had been managed sustainably for at least 10 years. On December 30, 2016, Humboldt County submitted a GSP Alternative to DWR for review.

On July 17, 2019, DWR provided a letter and staff report stating that DWR intended to disapprove the submitted GSP Alternative for the Eel River Valley groundwater basin, for the following reasons:

  • The GSP Alternative did not demonstrate that objective management criteria had been in place for 10 years;
  • The GSP Alternative did not sufficiently demonstrate the absence of undesirable results;
  • A quantitative estimate of sustainable yield had not been provided; and
  • The GSP Alternative did not quantify the impacts of groundwater use on surface water systems and determine at what point they are significant and unreasonable.

Based on DWR’s disapproval of the GSP Alternative, Humboldt County is evaluating options for forming a Groundwater Sustainability Agency and will seek Prop. 68 funds to support preparation of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan.

The submittal packet can also be found on the Department of Water Resources Alternative Reporting System website.

Reports

Meetings

To put your name on the contact list, send an e-mail to Robert Vogt.

Basin Prioritization