Montecito’s Groundwater Sustainability Agency Seeks Community Involvement

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Source: Montecito Water District

The Montecito Groundwater Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency (Montecito GSA or Agency) will host a Public Meeting on February 24, 2020 at 5 p.m. at Montecito Union School, 385 San Ysidro Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93108. The meeting will provide an introduction to the Agency and a presentation on groundwater and its importance for the community. The purpose of the meeting is to inform the public and highlight opportunities to get involved. 

The Montecito GSA is actively seeking applicants for participation on two Advisory Committees: A Stakeholder Advisory Committee and a Technical Advisory Committee. These committees are being formed to provide local knowledge and insight during the preparation of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan. Information and applications due March 6 are available on the agency web site: www.montecitogsa.com.

The Agency is also inviting public review and comment on its Communication and Engagement Plan. This guide outlines how and when stakeholders and the public can actively engage in the process and is available now at www.montecitowater.com/cep. This is a living document designed to serve as a tool to support stakeholders, the public, and the Agency throughout the development of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan.

Stakeholders and interested parties are encouraged to attend the Public Meeting as well as the Agency’s regular quarterly meetings, and sign up for the Agency’s E-news email list. Some examples of stakeholders in the Montecito Groundwater Basin are residents, agricultural users of water, private water companies, domestic well owners, land use planning agencies, and environmental users of water. 

Local Importance of Groundwater and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

The Montecito Groundwater Basin supplies numerous public and private wells. Groundwater is heavily relied upon for residential use, along with some commercial and agricultural uses. Available data shows that area groundwater levels are generally low following the worst drought in this region’s history. The Montecito GSA is tasked with developing and implementing a Groundwater Sustainability Plan to ensure long-term sustainability of the basin and prevent undesirable results, such as seawater intrusion and depletion of groundwater supplies. Plan development is a several year process and is currently underway.

 Groundwater provides a significant portion of California’s water supply, and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) became State law in 2015. Groundwater basins around the state have been “prioritized” based on factors such as population, groundwater pumping, and the number of water wells. SGMA compliance is required for the Montecito Groundwater Basin which is categorized as “medium priority.” To implement SGMA requirements for the basin, the Montecito Water District Board of Directors formed the Montecito Groundwater Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency (Agency) on April 28, 2019 as authorized by California’s Department of Water Resources.

The Montecito Groundwater Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency’s mission is to ensure a reliable and sustainable groundwater supply for the community through effective basin management pursuant to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Visit www.montecitogsa.com ; email [email protected] ; dial 805.969.2271.

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