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.

Livermore Valley Groundwater Basin

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. Learn more about how we “recharge” or refill our groundwater basin in our video below:


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 )
  • 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)

Groundwater Management & Sustainability Plan

Through these and other programs (see links below), Zone 7 has documented how it has sustainably managed the basin since the 1970s.

  • 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 (see links below) of the groundwater basin that summarizes the basin conditions over the water year (from October to September).
  • The sustainable Groundwater Management Act (2014) designated Zone 7 Water Agency as the exclusive Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) for the Livermore Valley Groundwater Basin (DWR Basin No. 2-10) and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) designated the Livermore Valley Groundwater Basin as a medium-priority basin.
  • Zone 7 submitted the 2016 Alternative Groundwater Sustainability Plan (AGSP) for the basin to DWR, which was approved in 2019. For more information, visit the DWR Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Portal website.
  • DWR requires that AGSPs be updated every five years. In December 2021, Zone 7 submitted the 2021 Update of the alternative Groundwater Sustainability Plan in December 2021. More details about the plan are available HERE.


links to groundwater management reports and documents

Groundwater Management and Geology Reports
Livermore Valley Groundwater Basin Annual Reports

Contact for previous annual reports of the basin.