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MARYSVILLE, Calif. (Jan. 22, 2020) — Yuba County’s groundwater subbasins have been sustainably managed for decades, and with 80 percent of Yuba’s residents relying on groundwater as their sole source, it’s critical that it remain sustainable for the long-term. With that in mind, Yuba Water Agency adopted an official groundwater sustainability plan, known as the Yuba Subbasins Water Management Plan.  

The plan, developed in coordination with Cordua Irrigation District, the city of Marysville and many interested stakeholders, will guide the continued management and use of groundwater in Yuba County.

“The current sustainable conditions in this area are a testament to the success of locally-driven water management,” said Yuba Water Agency Water Resources Manager Scott Matyac. “This plan will ensure we remain sustainable into the future.”

Historically, the south Yuba subbasin was over drafted until the early 1980s when Yuba River water was brought in to irrigate the farm lands. The basin is now fully recovered due to the combined efforts of Yuba Water and the South Yuba, Brophy, Dry Creek and Wheatland irrigation districts.

The 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act established a statewide framework for the sustainable management of groundwater for the first time in California’s history, and required the formation of groundwater sustainability agencies to prepare and submit plans that include measurable objectives and milestones to achieve sustainability. 

Yuba Water, Cordua and Marysville are the local groundwater sustainability agencies that worked together on the Yuba plan, which received a significant financial boost from the state, covering nearly $900,000 of the $1.2 million project cost. This is one of the first complete groundwater sustainability plans in California. 

Because of the successful stakeholder collaboration and the current sustainability of the local groundwater supply, the plan is complete two years ahead of the deadline set by the state. This early submittal helps to ensure access to technical support and state grants to help with implementing the plan and making improvements to our groundwater management system. 

“I am very happy that we’ve had such a collaborative effort in developing the plan,” said Keith Davis, Cordua’s chairman of the board. “The committee provided the opportunity for those involved to say what they needed, and because of that, this plan represents a very fine program to push forward with.”

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Because of the diverse nature of groundwater users, outreach was a critical component in the development of the plan. To achieve the greatest input from stakeholders, the Groundwater Sustainability Committee was formed. The committee involves 17 local districts and regional stakeholders, and is responsible for making recommendations regarding the development and implementation of the plan. The committee recently recommended adopting the plan.

Prior to full implementation, both Cordua and Marysville must adopt the plan, which they anticipate will be in the coming weeks. The plan will then be sent to the California Department of Water Resources for final review. 

“The Groundwater Sustainability Plan will be presented to our council on February 4th and I am confident they will adopt it,” said Marysville City Councilman Bill Simmons. “Working with the water agency and Cordua on this plan has been a positive experience and I look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”  

The Yuba Subbasins Water Management Plan and an executive summary can be found on the Yuba Water Agency website.