Zone 7 Groundwater Management Plan Receives State Approval

On June 27, 2024, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that it approved the update to Zone 7’s groundwater management plan, formally known as an Alternative to a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (Alternative GSP). This Alternative GSP was initially approved in 2019. DWR determined that Livermore Valley Groundwater basin continues to be managed sustainably to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  Zone has one of nine approved Alternatives in California.
 
Starting from the late 1960s, Zone 7 has been proactively managing the groundwater basin for over 50 years to ensure this valuable resource remains a sustainable source of water for future generations of the Tri-Valley. The groundwater basin is a critical piece in the Tri-Valley’s water supply system, providing a local water source during drought years. The groundwater basin is strategically recharged with imported water during wet years, to provide water to the Tri-Valley during dry years, when imported water from the State Water Project is limited or unavailable.
 
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) signed in 2014, requires local agencies throughout the state to sustainably manage groundwater basins. In 2016, Zone 7 submitted its alternative plan, having already developed a groundwater management plan prior to enactment of the SGMA mandate. On July 17, 2019, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced the approval Zone 7’s Alternative Groundwater Sustainability Plan, a significant recognition of the agency’s proactive policies of managing groundwater. 
 
SGMA also requires that an update to the plan be submitted every 5 years. The required update to the plan was completed by Zone 7 with the assistance of a $500,000 grant from DWR.  The final draft of the updated Alternative GSP is available HERE.

This approval signifies that the Alternative GSP continues to comply with SGMA law, relying upon the best available science and information, and that implementing the plans is likely to achieve or maintain groundwater sustainability. Alternatives based on an existing water management plan must demonstrate that implementation is expected to maintain or achieve sustainability within 20 years.
 
With the approval, DWR included a Statement of Findings as part of its thorough review process, which provides a detailed description of how the Livermore Valley Basin Alternative satisfies the objectives of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and substantially complies with the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) Regulations. The next submittal of the periodic review of the Alternative GSP is due by December 21, 2026.
 
Image: Livermore Valley Groundwater Basin Aquifer Layers courtesy Zone 7 Water Agency
Educational Video: Groundwater Recharge Animation
courtesy Zone 7 Water Agency

About Zone 7 Water
Zone 7 Water Agency is one of the 10 active zones of the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District. The District was established by the State Legislature in October 1949 to solve problems of flooding, drainage, channel erosion and water supply and conservation in Alameda County. In 1957, by popular vote, Zone 7 became a special district governed by a seven-member board of directors. Along with flood protection, Zone 7 supplies water to all of eastern Alameda County and a population of 266,000 residents. Treated water is sold wholesale to local retailers, including the cities of Livermore and Pleasanton, the Dublin San Ramon Services District, and the California Water Service Company. Zone 7 also distributes untreated water to local agriculture operations and golf courses.