Special Act Districts report released

Ruth Langridge
October 3, 2016

The State Water Board is pleased to announce the release of a new report, titled: “An Evaluation of California’s Special Act Groundwater Districts,” prepared by Ruth Langridge with the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with assistance from Stephen Sepaniak and Esther Conrad. Prepared under contract with the State Water Board, the report is a follow-up to the previously released report: “An Evaluation of California’s Adjudicated Groundwater Basins.”

Under the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Special Act (SGMA), Special Act Districts that govern groundwater are deemed to be the exclusive local agencies within their statutory boundaries, and they have the option to be the sole Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) in their service area boundaries. 

Ruth Langridge
Ruth Langridge, UC Santa Cruz, 
has authored two major reports on
groundwater management institutions. 

The report details the history, development, current management, and general condition of these districts, and evaluates accomplishments, challenges and how management practices could be improved. Overall the report found that large municipal districts are actively managing their basin to align with SGMA goals, but that they rely heavily on imported water for sustainable outcomes. As imported water becomes less reliable in the future, these districts may have to consider more comprehensive demand management approaches. The agricultural districts without imported water continue to have overdraft impacts, but they have an opportunity to provide examples of approaches that can result in sustainable management without additional imports. 

The report is available on the State Water Board's website and on UC Water. For more information please contact Ruth Langridge.