Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency (SGMWA) held a board meeting Wednesday, Jan. 27, using hybrid (in-person and remote) format.

At the meeting, the Board of Directors elected a new board chair and vice chair. Gail Mahood, a San Lorenzo Valley Water District (SLVWD) board member, was selected as chair. Chris Perri, a Scotts Valley Water District board member who previously served as chair of SMGWA, was chosen as vice chair. Jack Dilles, a representative from City of Scotts Valley was re-elected as the secretary and the board welcomed Jayme Ackemann, a new representative from SLVWD.

A key responsibility of the Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency is to develop, adopt and submit a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) for the Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin (Basin), as required by California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The GSP was adopted at the Board’s November meeting and has been submitted to the state Department of Water Resources for review and approval. 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.

With the GSP finalized and submitted to the state, the Agency is considering changes that better support the goals and objectives in the next 5-year period, including how to staff the Agency. Since its inception, SGMWA has been operated under a shared staffing model by member agencies. In November, the board formed an ad-hoc Agency Organizational Structure Committee that debriefed the board on their activities in the last two months. At its January meeting, the Board authorized the committee to move forward with the collaborative approach for administrative and planning services.

The board also reviewed and accepted the annual financial report for fiscal years 2021 and 2020.

The February SMGWA board will be on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. To learn more about the Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency and upcoming events, visit our website at­­