Welcome to the Department of Water and Natural Resources for Madera County.

Our department develops and implements county policy and activities regarding surface water, groundwater and watershed management. We work with a variety of committees, organizations and stakeholders regarding water and natural resource issues.

Currently much of our time involves preparing for compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2014. This piece of legislation fundamentally changes management of California’s groundwater basins. SGMA mandates the formation of Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) and requires the adoption of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) for basins or subbasins designated as medium or high-priority by the CA Department of Water Resources. GSPs are mandatory to eliminate overdraft conditions in aquifers and to return them to conditions that assure long-term sustainability within 20 years of implementation.

Sediment Removal Project  The County and Madera Irrigation District have obtained all the necessary permits through the Federal/State Agencies to remove sand/sediment from our Ash and Berenda Sloughs. We wanted to share this with all the farmers so that they have the opportunity to get sand for their needs and at the same time help with this effort and remove the accumulated sand and protect our flood control facilities. An application is necessary. The sand is free.

Subbasins  Madera County is comprised of three subbasins, designated by the CA Department of Water Resources as critically overdrafted, and “high priority”:
1. the Chowchilla Subbasin;
2. the Madera Subbasin; and
3. a portion of the Delta-Mendota Subbasin.

GSPs  Each of the subbasins above must submit a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) by January 2020. These subbasins are required to achieve “sustainability” by the year 2040. The method by which sustainability will be achieved will be illustrated in the GSP, which will be drafted in partnership by the irrigation district, water districts, cities and Madera County. The process is meant to be a public and participatory process. Madera County will consider input from stakeholders and seeks achieve public support toward a common goal of long-term sustainability.

GSAs There are numerous agencies involved in groundwater sustainability planning within Madera County. Many agencies have chosen to form their own groundwater sustainability agency (GSA). The Chowchilla Subbasin is comprised of the following four GSAs: Chowchilla Water District, Madera County, Triangle T Water District and Merced County. The Madera Subbasin is comprised of seven GSAs: Madera County, City of Madera, Madera Irrigation District, Root Creek Water District, Madera Water District, New Stone Water District, and Gravelly Ford Water District. Madera County encompasses a small portion of the Delta-Mendota Subbasin, including the following GSAs: Aliso Water District, Madera County, and the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors.

Advisory Committees  Madera County has advisory committees to support the county-managed Groundwater Sustainability Agencies only, and that there are multiple agencies throughout the county engaged in groundwater management planning.