SGMA requires the formation of local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) in California’s high- and medium-priority groundwater basins. Sustainability agencies are required to develop groundwater sustainability plans that will bring basins into sustainability within 20 years of plan implementation. If locals are unable or unwilling to sustainably manage their basin, the State Water Board is authorized to intervene.
Portions of basins that are not within the management area of a GSA by July 1, 2017, are considered unmanaged areas. Groundwater extractors in unmanaged areas are required to file an annual groundwater extraction report with the State Water Board. If locals fail to form a GSA, fail to develop an adequate sustainability plan, or fail to implement the plan adequately, the State Water Board may designate the basin as probationary and step in to directly manage groundwater extractions in the basin. All extractors in a probationary basin are required to submit an annual groundwater extraction report, although the State Water Board has discretion to exempt certain probationary extractors from reporting if appropriate. Each annual extraction report must be accompanied by a fee to cover associated programmatic costs.
There are three “levels” of State Water Board intervention, each level is associated with greater staff workloads and associated costs. Here is an example of one.
These are the proposed fee schedules for the agencies to hire people, so they can comeback to assess your property to charge you more or stop you from pumping your groundwater.