The Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency’s Board of Directors adopted the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) during its Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, board meeting and will submit the GSP to the state Department of Water Resources for their review and approval.

A key responsibility of the Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency (SMGWA) is to develop, adopt and submit a GSP for the Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin (Basin), as required by California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. SMGWA member agency staff, with support from technical experts and input from Basin stakeholders, prepared the draft GSP, which was first presented at the SMGWA’s Board of Directors meeting in July and subsequently opened for a two-month public comment period to solicit feedback from Basin stakeholders and the general public.

“All the hard work, long meetings and late nights paid off with a great plan for water sustainability,” said SMGWA Board Chair Chris Perri. “But the real win was bringing together all these different communities, cooperating with good hearts and minds for the greater good!”

Informed by the public comments, the final GSP will guide long-term management of the groundwater basin to ensure a reliable and resilient water supply for community needs and the environment. The plan provides the basis for ongoing management of the Basin by SMGWA to achieve sustainability in a 20-year planning horizon and maintain sustainability over a 50-year implementation horizon, as specified by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

The Basin forms a roughly triangular area between Felton, Ben Lomond and Scotts Valley. This Basin is a source of drinking water for Scotts Valley Water District, San Lorenzo Valley Water District, over a dozen small water systems and approximately 1,100 parcels served by private wells. Additionally, the groundwater table influences the surface water in the San Lorenzo River, a primary drinking water source for the city of Santa Cruz and home to endangered species.

SMGWA’s effort on groundwater sustainability is increasingly important as the region, similarly to the whole state, experiences another drought. The Basin’s GSP must be submitted to the California Department of Water Resources by January 31, 2022.

The Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency (SMGWA) is a joint powers authority comprised of the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, Scotts Valley Water District and the County of Santa Cruz, to oversee the groundwater management activities in the Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin in Santa Cruz County, California. The agency was established in 2017. The Board of Directors of the SMGWA includes two board members from each of the member agencies, one from the City of Scotts Valley, one from the City of Santa Cruz, one from the Mount Hermon Association Community Water System and two well owner representatives. Learn more at, on Facebook and on Instagram.