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Bear Valley Basin

Groundwater Sustainability Plan

Protecting an Important Resource for our Community



During a normal year, groundwater provides over 35 percent of Southern California's drinking water. Effective use of local groundwater basins is an important component of the region's water supply plan. 

On September 16, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), creating California's first framework for sustainable, groundwater management. SGMA empowers local agencies to form Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to manage basins sustainably. The legislation requires those GSAs to adopt Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) for crucial groundwater basins in California.

Several agencies worked together to develop a GSP for the Bear Valley Basin. The GSP was approved by the Bear Valley Basin GSA on June 21, 2022. 

Below is a more detailed description of the project, the Groundwater Sustainability Agency, and SGMA. To learn even more, visit our Frequently Asked Questions


The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

In an effort to ensure the sustainable use of California’s groundwater and a water secure future for the State, SGMA was signed into law in 2014. The Act took effect in 2015. 

For the first time in California’s history, SGMA requires groundwater resources be sustainably managed by local agencies through the formation of Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) in basins that are deemed high- or medium-priority by the Department of Water Resources. 

In such basins, GSAs are required to develop and implement Groundwater Sustainability Plans. These plans must quantify basin characteristics and supplies, and must establish management actions and projects to achieve basin sustainability within 20 years of implementation. SGMA imposes many new monitoring and reporting requirements, and other procedural and substantive mandates related to groundwater management.

Learn more about SGMA

Map of the Bear Valley Basin


5 Steps to a Sustainable Bear Valley Basin

The Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) will be developed in five phases through the spring of 2021 to meet the required completion deadline of January 31, 2022. All interested stakeholders and members of the public will have the opportunity to participate in the plan development process, including participation in three interactive stakeholder workshops and via a public commenting period once the full draft of the GSP is available. 


Step 2: Document Basin Setting

Profile the Basin geology, groundwater use, and all factors affecting future groundwater demand and management.

APR 2019 - AUG 2020


Step 1: Establish Governance Structure

Here the details of how the GSP will be managed and enforced by the GSA are outlined.

JAN 2019 - APR 2019


Step 3: Set Sustainability Goals

Set measurable goals per SGMA requirements and the systems/networks to monitor progress.

AUG 2020 - OCT 2020


Step 4: Develop Plan to Sustainability

Identify the projects and management actions to be taken to meet the sustainability goals.

OCT 2020 - DEC 2021


Step 5: Adopt the Plan

The GSA votes to adopt the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP).

JUNE 2022

Basin Governance

The Bear Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency (“Agency”) is a “local agency” comprised of the Big Bear City Community Services District (BBCCSD), the City of Big Bear Lake Department of Water and Power (BBLDWP or DWP), the Big Bear Regional Wastewater Agency (BBARWA) and the Big Bear Municipal Water District (BBMWD). Each is a Member with water management responsibilities within the Bear Valley Groundwater Basin (the Basin). The boundaries of the Agency overlie the Basin, which is not adjudicated. 

In September 2017, the BBCCSD, BBMWD, BBARWA and BBLDWP entered into a joint powers agreement to form the Agency. The Agency was created primarily to satisfy the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

The Agency is governed by one representative from BBCCSD, one representative from BBARWA, one elected representative from BBMWD and one appointed commissioner from DWP.

Key Terms

Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) — A management plan developed by a local Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) to provide a framework in managing the groundwater basin sustainably and to meet the requirements of SGMA.

Browse full list of terms

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