The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”) was signed into law on September 16, 2014. (California Water Code Section 10720 et seq.). SMGA is intended to regulate California’s groundwater, something which has been up to the Act’s passage largely unregulated.
The need for groundwater management has grown over the years, spiked by years of drought and growth, encouraged by Proposition 1. California is one of last states in the west to have groundwater management at the state level. Previously groundwater scarcity and disputes were adjudicated between government and private stakeholders in court proceedings. Many of the concepts and much of the terminology used or useful in SGMA stem from those earlier decisions. SGMA forces California to do what would probably have happened anyway in court proceedings.