State and local agencies are continuing to work to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). With SGMA’s far-reaching implications, Ph.D. Candidate at UC Merced, Vicky Espinoza has created a bilingual SGMA video series to help provide a better understanding of the impact of SGMA and generate more engagement. The videos are part of an overall project to develop a land-use model that will incorporate input from a broad cross-section of the community.
“I developed this YouTube channel called CaliWaterAg and it’s a channel for San Joaquin Valley growers and community members,” Espinoza explained. “The reasoning for having it both in English and in Spanish is because as I was putting together in-person workshops and participating in farmer conferences I noticed that a lot of our Latino farmers were just not receiving the information about SGMA since those materials are mostly found in English.”
The first video provides an introduction to SGMA, why the legislation was passed, and issues to avoid. The second video presents information about local water management under SGMA and how Groundwater Sustainability Agencies are creating Groundwater Sustainability Plans. The third component of the SGMA video series delves into the challenges of SGMA and the opportunities for community members to become involved in its implementation. Espinoza has also included a tutorial for how to navigate the California Department of Water Resources website to find the Spanish-translated materials related to SGMA.
The next step in the project will be the development of a land-use model which will include grower and community member input. SGMA compliance is expected to bring a significant amount of agricultural land out of production. The hope is to identify the most efficient means for fallowing land that will not have a negative socio-economic impact on communities. Espinoza developed the SGMA video series as part of her dissertation with support from the Environmental Defense Fund and the VICE Lab at UC Merced. For a comprehensive land-use model to be developed, it will require feedback from growers and community members who are fully informed of the scope of SGMA.
“It’s important to empower our growers and empower our community members to fully understand; what is SGMA, what its implications are, how it will impact them, and how they can have a say in future decisions related to SGMA,” said Espinoza. “It’s a multi-stakeholder conversation that needs to be had and our growers and community members really have an opportunity here to have a say in it.”