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The primary purpose of a GSA under SGMA is to develop and implement a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) to achieve long-term groundwater sustainability. GSAs are empowered to utilize a number of new management tools to achieve the sustainability goal, such as: register and meter groundwater wells, mandate annual extraction and water level reports from individual wells, impose limits on extractions, mitigate against overdraft, implement rules and regulations, and assess fees to support creation and implementation of a GSP.
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SGMA gives GSAs numerous new tools and authorities to manage the groundwater and implement the objectives of the GSP. These include the authority to conduct investigations, determine the sustainable yield of a groundwater basin, measure and limit extraction, impose fees for groundwater management, and enforce the terms of a GSP. These authorities can be implemented by one or multiple GSAs. Chapter 5 of SGMA describes the powers and authorities in greater detail.
In medium and high priority basins, including the Napa Valley Subbasin, GSAs must develop and adopt a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) with coordination agreements, or other agreements, as needed, for sustainable management of the basin by January 31, 2022. GSAs in critically overdrafted basins were required to complete their GSPs by January 31, 2020. The GSAs have 20 years following the relevant deadline for GSP adoption to achieve the sustainability goal for their basin, including avoidance of undesirable results.