Union of Concerned Scientists Proposes Best Practices to Achieve Goals of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

November 2015

California Water Law & Policy Reporter, Volume 26, Number 2

In September of 2015, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a report entitled “Measuring What Matters: Setting Measurable Objectives to Achieve Sustainable Groundwater Management in California.” The report proposes best practices for developing the “measurable objective” required under the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to achieve “sustainability” of groundwater basins. Specifically, UCS proposes that “measurable objectives'” should include a host of attributes to be effective, including: clear baselines, quantitative thresholds, protective triggers, regular monitoring and measurement, be able to account for uncertainty, and be able to adapt to changing conditions. UCS further recommends developing a common statewide framework for setting basin-level thresholds, developing common assumptions regarding water use, and identifying existing shared data sources. The report thus proposes a path to develop concepts for long-term implementation of SGMA.

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