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At this early stage of SGMA implementation, we don’t know what tools will be used locally to monitor and ensure sustainable groundwater management. SGMA provides an array of regulatory and non-regulatory tools – mostly optional – from which Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) can choose to achieve and monitor groundwater sustainability. The Napa County GSA will need to collect sufficient data on groundwater conditions in order to demonstrate progress toward achieving the sustainability goal and measurable objectives, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that all wells must be metered. In fact, SGMA does not authorize GSAs to require metering of wells used to supply two acre-feet per year or less for domestic purposes. SGMA requires that public stakeholders be engaged in the development and implementation of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan, which will allow additional opportunity for interested stakeholders to provide input on this issue.
Much of the groundwater delivered by local agencies is already metered, and other data sources (such as land use data) provide solid information to estimate groundwater use.
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Wells pumping less than 2 acre-feet per year (1,785 gallons per day) for domestic purposes are considered to be “de minimis” and could be exempt from most SGMA requirements. This includes exemption from metering, reporting requirements, and fees. Most private, non-agricultural wells will fall into this “de minimis” category.