The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has marked four groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) as incomplete. DWR gave the local agencies 180 days to address the deficiencies and resubmit the plans.

The four basins are the Delta-Mendota Subbasin, Cuyama Valley Basin, Paso Robles Subbasin and Westside Subbasin, which was submitted by the Westlands Water District. DWR notified Westlands of the potential deficiencies in November.

“We are disappointed that Westlands and DWR lacked sufficient time to adequately evaluate potential modifications to the Westside GSP,” said Westlands General Manager Tom Birmingham.

Birmingham was confident the district will be able to resolve the issues within the prescribed timeframe and that the actions outlined in the plan would sustain groundwater levels by 2040. These include advanced monitoring, data, metering and groundwater recharge programs.

DWR faulted the plan for not addressing subsidence issues from continued pumping, with “several vague, ambiguous, and incorrect statements” on this. DWR is also seeking more information on potential water quality impacts.

If the four groundwater agencies are unable to correct their plans within six months, the State Water resources Control Board will step in as the regulatory backstop for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The board could work with the agencies on further refining the plans or implement its own rudimentary management plans for the basins.