Sustainable Groundwater Management and the SGMA


The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014 requires local and regional agencies to develop and implement Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). These plans are detailed roadmaps for how groundwater basins will reach long term sustainability to ensure these valuable resources are available when we need them.

Groundwater from the Livermore Valley basin is used for agricultural, municipal, industrial, domestic, and other supply purposes. Supply wells are distributed throughout the basin with the major municipal wells in the Main Basin.

Agricultural pumping has decreased significantly since 1974 when imported surface water became available to many irrigation customers. Municipal wells now account for most of the pumping. Municipal pumping by retailers is contractually limited to a groundwater pumping quota (GPQ).

Zone 7 pumps only groundwater that has been stored in the basin as part of its artificial recharge program – which means we only take out what we have put in. Zone 7 pumping is for municipal purposes, salt management, demand peaks, and any shortage or interruption in its surface water supply or treatment.

To keep track of basin conditions, we have the following monitoring programs:

  • Groundwater elevations
  • Groundwater quality including salt, nitrate, boron, chromium, and PFAS
  • Land surface elevations
  • Streams program – Streamflow
  • Climatological program – Rainfall and evaporation
  • Land use – Water usage and source of water (recycled water, groundwater, municipal)
  • Wastewater and recycled water use
  • Mining area activities

Zone 7 uses the results of these monitoring programs to perform the following management actions:

  • Importing, artificially recharging, and banking surface water to meet future demands (See our page on Banking for Non-Rainy Days)
  • Maximizes the use of storage capacity of the groundwater basin, including long-term implementation of the Chain of Lakes Program (See Chain of Lakes Case Study)
  • Managing groundwater pumping for sustainability
  • Maintaining sustainable long-term groundwater storage volumes with natural and imported supplies
  • Promoting sound recycled water use
  • Identifying and planning for future supply needs and demand impacts
  • Groundwater quality (PFAS, Toxics, Salt Management, Nutrient Management Plans)

Livermore Valley Groundwater Basin

For an analysis of groundwater basin conditions, visit the DWR Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) website.

Groundwater Management & Sustainability Plan

In 2005, the Agency adopted a Groundwater Management Plan (GWMP), which documented ongoing policies and programs for managing groundwater to support existing and beneficial uses in the valley. This was amended in June 2015 with the adoption of the Nutrient Management Plan. Zone 7 also prepares annual reports of the groundwater basin that summarizes the basin conditions over the water year (from October to September).

Through these and other programs, Zone 7 has sustainably managed the basin to avoid undesirable results for at least 21 years since the 2005 adoption of the GWMP.

2022 Update to the Groundwater Sustainability Plan

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has designated the Zone 7 Water Agency basin as a high- and medium-priority basin, where a plan is due by January 31, 2022.

Zone 7 has compiled a grant application to prepare for the 2022 update.