Advancing Sustainable Groundwater Management for California
Sustainable groundwater management means managing this resource to balance short-term and long-term benefits for society, the economy and our environment. To help ensure that the needs and benefits of managing for GDEs are known, The Nature Conservancy is working with its partners to develop the science on nature’s ties to groundwater and showcase multi-benefit management strategies for nature and people.
We may not be able to see groundwater, but it’s vital to life in California.
Groundwater is critically important to people, supplying 40 percent of California’s water supply in normal years and up to 60 percent in times of drought. It is also essential in sustaining many types of plants and animals, from those found in mountain and desert springs to coastal wetlands.
By maintaining sufficient groundwater levels and the critical connections between groundwater and surface water, we can balance the needs of GDEs and people. Protecting GDEs requires an understanding of where they are located, how they rely on groundwater, and how changing groundwater conditions can affect them. Identifying and considering GDEs in groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs), along with routine monitoring, can help ensure they are not harmed by unsustainable use of groundwater.
TNC is working with partners to reduce groundwater pumping by retiring and restoring farmlands in the San Joaquin Valley. Learn more about Strategic Restoration at TNC CA.
Groundwater Markets give individual pumpers control over their respective paths toward a basin’s sustainable yield to incentivize conservation and markets may be a valuable tool for GSAs as they implement their plans. Learn more about TNC CA’s work on Water Markets.
Groundwater recharge will be an important tool for GSAs to use for achieving long-term groundwater sustainability. Learn more about TNC CA’s work on Multi-Benefit Recharge.
GDE Pulse lets you see how California’s unique groundwater dependent ecosystems have changed over the last 30 years. Access GDE Pulse Here
The ICONS dataset provides information on the depth to groundwater and the likely presence of interconnected surface water (ISW) in the Central Valley. Access the ICONS Tool Here
California Natural Flows Database
The California Natural Flows Database is a new TNC tool predicting natural flows across California. Access the Natural Flows Database Here
Learn more about SGMA through the TNC reports and resources below.
How well did the first 30 Groundwater Sustainability Plans submitted account for nature’s needs? TNC's SGMA Signals Report finds that nearly all GSPs have room for improvement. Learn more about SGMA Signals.DOWNLOAD
Mapping Indicators for GDEs
This methods report is a guide on how to validate the groundwater dependency of “indicators of groundwater dependent ecosystems (iGDEs)” with local information. Learn more about Mapping Indicators.DOWNLOAD
GDEs Under SGMA
This is a step-by-step guide that fits within the overall planning process established by SGMA. Find more GDE Guidance Here.DOWNLOAD
GDE Checklist for GSPs
The Nature Conservancy is providing this checklist as guidance for GSAs to adequately address nature in their GSPs, as required under SGMA. Following this checklist does not guarantee approval of a GSP.DOWNLOAD
Mind the Gaps
“Mind the Gaps: The Case for Truly Comprehensive Sustainable Groundwater Management” is a joint report that points out the gaps in the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and makes the case for the expansion of SGMA statewide.DOWNLOAD
TNC is providing comments on draft Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) as a representative stakeholder of the environment. The comments are intended to ensure the Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) adequately address nature in their GSPs, as required under SGMA.
Learn more about GDEs through the TNC reports and resources below.
Arundo Literature Review
Arundo is a non-native, fast growing and densely vegetated reed that has purportedly high-water consumption. This brief literature overview summarizes the types of studies, conditions, and annual evapotranspiration rates of Arundo.DOWNLOAD
Critical Species Lookbook
The Critical Species LookBook is a compendium of 84 state and federally listed species that are likely to be affected by groundwater management and merit consideration by Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Learn more about the Critical Species LookBook.DOWNLOAD
Plant Rooting Database
The Plant Rooting Depth Database provides information that can help assess whether groundwater-dependent vegetation are accessing groundwater. Learn more about the Plant Rooting Depth Database.DOWNLOAD
Environmental Surface Water Beneficial Users
Review recommendations on potential environmental beneficial users of surface water. The Nature Conservancy is also providing a list of freshwater species located within each groundwater basin in California, which can be accessed here.DOWNLOAD
GDE Thresholds Framework
This publication presents a practicable approach for quantifying groundwater conditions that are protective of GDEs. This document highlights five steps to quantify what groundwater levels are needed to avoid adverse impacts from groundwater use on GDEs.DOWNLOAD
If you have questions or comments about anything you see here on the Groundwater Resource Hub, please send an email to email@example.com, or contact any of our staff listed below.
Project Director, Rewilding the Central Valley, Water Program
Associate Director, Healthy Rivers & Springs, Water Program
Conservation Technology Associate
Sr. Project Director, Healthy Rivers & Springs, Water Program
Science Director, Water Program
Project Manager, Rewilding the Central Valley, Water Program
Sr. Spatial Data Scientist
Groundwater Scientist, Healthy Rivers & Springs, Water Program
Sr. Project Director, Rewilding the Central Valley, Water Program
Director, Water Program