Central Coast Groundwater Sustainability Agencies will use $5.5 million from DWR for Local Groundwater Conservation, Water Quality, and Sustainability Projects


Go Golden check presentation to the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District.

Go Golden check presentation to the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District.

As part of our continued partnership with local experts to make strategic investments in water supply resilience projects across the state, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) presented a $5.5 million grant to the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District to support groundwater resilience in Central Coast communities, including disadvantaged communities and Tribes.

The award, funded by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program, will support efforts by eight Santa Ynez River Valley Groundwater Basin agencies to manage and monitor groundwater for drinking water quality and quantity, study the impacts of current groundwater use, and reduce groundwater reliance by exploring potential stormwater runoff projects and developing water use efficiency plans.

“We are grateful for our partnership with the Department of Water Resources and the $5.5 million in grant funding. The grant will fund projects that assist the groundwater sustainability agencies with Sustainable Groundwater Management, providing multiple benefits to all groundwater users in the Santa Ynez River groundwater basin over the next 20 years and beyond,” said Bill Buelow, general manager, Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District.

While the conservation district is the lead on Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) efforts for the Santa Ynez River Valley Groundwater Basin, this grant will also benefit seven other agencies representing communities across the region, including the County of Santa Barbara; the City of Buellton; the City of Solvang; the City of Lompoc; Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District, Improvement District No. 1; Mission Hills Community Service District; and Vandenberg Village Community Services District.

“Collaboration is central to the success of California’s water future, and that is what this grant funding is all about. Because these communities all rely on the same basin, the initial partnership of the local water stewards really set the stage for a collaborative and intentional sustainability process. We’re proud to work closely with these local experts to ensure that their communities have access to the water supplies they need,” said Anita Regmi, DWR senior engineering geologist.

The mission of DWR’s groundwater grant program is to provide funding to Groundwater Sustainability Agencies and other responsible entities under SGMA to promote healthy and sustainable groundwater basins, reduce and eliminate undesirable effects, and promote projects that provide multiple benefits while also improving groundwater supply and quality.

“This DWR grant award to the entire Santa Ynez Valley Basin is essential to formalize the work and activities that the three agencies have been dedicated to since SGMA was passed in 2015. The funding will allow the newly formed agencies to start the necessary and public work to continue to assess the basin’s groundwater and plan for the implementation of sustainable practices to protect and monitor the health of our natural resource. These efforts will benefit Solvang and the entire basin.  We look forward to continuing to be reliable stewards of SGMA and putting the funding to constructive use,” said Elizabeth Orona, Councilmember, City of Solvang.

This grant is one of many featured as part of DWR’s Go Golden Initiative, which highlights partnerships between the State of California and local organizations and water agencies to fund bold and innovative projects that strengthen California’s water infrastructure and community resilience. Interested parties can stay up to date with the latest “Go Golden” announcements and news through DWR’s email subscription list.

For more information about upcoming grant opportunities, visit DWR’s  Grants and Loans webpage.