The 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) exempts adjudicated groundwater basins – those that already operate under a court-ordered water management plan – from the requirements of designating a Groundwater Sustainability Agency and developing a Groundwater Sustainability Plan. The Chino Basin is an adjudicated basin, managed according to the physical solution included within the 1978 Judgment adjudicating the rights to pump from the basin, and is expressly included in SGMA’s list of exempt basins.
For the purposes of SGMA compliance, groundwater basins are defined as those delineated by the Department of Water Resources in Bulletin 118. In the Chino Basin, as in many other basins, the boundaries in Bulletin 118 do not match the adjudicated basin boundaries within the 1978 Judgment. In some areas, surrounding adjudicated basin boundaries overlap the Bulletin 118 boundaries, and in other areas, the Bulletin 118 basin boundaries are either within or outside of the adjudicated basin boundaries. As required by SGMA, the Department of Water Resources has adopted regulations providing a process through which Bulletin 118 basin boundaries may be modified for the purposes of the SGMA.
The Chino Basin Watermaster, in conjunction with the three Municipal Water Districts that overlie the basin – the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, the Three Valleys Municipal Water District, and the Western Municipal Water District – proposed certain modifications that would, in many portions of the basin, conform the boundaries of the Chino Basin for SGMA compliance to the adjudicated boundaries. The final determination and the full application can be found HERE.
In May 2020, the Department of Water Resources published the 2019 Basin Prioritization. The Chino Basin priority is established as “Very Low”. The full report can be found HERE.
Documents related to the ongoing Watermaster SGMA reporting and compliance can be found below.