Q: What is the Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency?

The Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency (FCGMA) manages and protects several groundwater basins underlying the southern portion of Ventura County. FCGMA is a unique state water agency governed by a Board of Directors, and comprised of a unique and varied group of local stakeholders which include municipalities, industrial, residential, agricultural and water companies. All lands lying above the Fox Canyon aquifers account for more than 60% of the water needs for more than Ventura County 450,000 residents, agriculture and businesses.

Q: What is the problem?

Over several years, a number of factors have contributed to the greater demand for and increased use of water in our region, expending more groundwater at a faster rate than it can be replenished. Current water pumping from the basins cannot sustain our local way of life. Further, current water pumping from the basins negatively effects basin water quality and can result in salt water contamination. Many do not realize that when pumping exceeds basin recharge, water levels in our aquifers draw down below sea level. Seawater then can flow into our aquifers at the coast and contaminates the water with salt. To keep this from happening, the water level in the aquifers need to be above sea level.

Q: Who pumps from our groundwater basins? Who uses the groundwater once it is extracted?

Groundwater from the four basins gets pumped by municipal and industry (M&I) and agriculture. Once the groundwater is pumped, it is distributed and used by more than 450,000 people residing and working in local homes, businesses, industry and agriculture.

Q: Why be concerned?

Without a sufficient water supply, the repercussions will be vast: Agriculture will become unstable and we could face an increased pressure for urban development; residents would also have to abide by more stringent conservation measures and risk harsher water rates. If we do not manage these groundwater basins at a sustainable yield, our quality of life will be greatly impacted.

Q: What is the solution?

FCGMA is faced with developing a strategy to generate new supplies of water, as well as conservation efforts, and seeks to optimize the aquifer system so basins can operate at a sustainable yield to meet all future needs . FCGMA is currently working to identify feasible and cost-effective water supply and conservation projects that can be implemented to minimize the amount of pumping reduction needed through new pumping allocation systems.

Q: Is the drought the blame for the low water levels in the aquifers? Since the drought is over, will rain be enough to replenish the aquifers?

The drought has exacerbated the long-term structural overdraft. Although rainfall in Ventura County was greater than average this winter, it will take many wetter than normal winters to recover from the drought as only some of this water can percolate into the ground to replenish the aquifers.

Q: Who is involved in the planning process?

We encourage our stakeholders to engage in the Groundwater Management planning process to help generate new ideas and solutions to develop a GSP proposal focused on a 20 year glide path to sustainability of our four basins

Q: How can I help?

Tell us the basin resupply projects or ideas you think will help.