Historical Groundwater Management
The current trend in declining groundwater levels was recognized in a 2006 U.S. Geological Survey study funded by the Sonoma County Water Agency. This study formed the basis of the 2007 Sonoma Valley Groundwater Management Program (GMP) and Plan, developed for the Sonoma Creek Watershed under the leadership of a Basin Advisory Panel (BAP).
The GMP aimed to locally and voluntarily manage, protect, and enhance groundwater resources for all beneficial uses in a sustainable, environmentally sound, economical and equitable manner for generations to come. This plan identified a range of voluntary water management actions, including groundwater recharge, groundwater banking, increased water use efficiency, and greater use of recycled water to reduce demand for groundwater. Modeling indicated that not one, but all four methods must be implemented in order to achieve a sustainable water supply for Sonoma Valley. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the BAP, groundwater levels continue to decline.
The new Sonoma Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency will take the place of the BAP, which held its last meeting in August 2016. The BAP provided thoughtful insights and recommendations to the new GSA.