M&A developed 6 GSPs, facilitates implementation, and provides technical and strategic support to reach groundwater sustainability and comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency

Location: Monterey County, California
After leading the technical and policy aspects of GSP development, M&A continues to provide a range of services to help implement the GSPs and guide SVBGSA on the path to sustainability.


The Salinas Valley Basin is recharged mainly by the Salinas River, which must be managed in conjunction with groundwater management to meet agricultural, urban, domestic, and environmental needs. Monterey County’s $4.1 billion agricultural industry, cities, and many underrepresented communities and domestic users depend on groundwater. M&A works with the Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency (SVBGSA) to manage 6 hydraulically connected subbasins in the Salinas Valley and comply with SGMA.

M&A worked with diverse stakeholder groups to develop one of the first approved GSPs in the state for the critically overdrafted 180/400-Foot Aquifer Subbasin. Working together with 2 partner GSAs in the Valley, we subsequently developed 5 additional GSPs submitted in 2022, acknowledging the unique hydrogeologic and sociopolitical aspects of each subbasin. We cultivated stakeholder engagement through a bottom-up process working with interested parties in each subbasin while ensuring alignment and integration across the Valley. M&A led trainings to build a common understanding of the groundwater science, provided options for sustainable management criteria, and facilitated discussion on projects and management actions to reach sustainability.

During the GSP implementation phase, M&A continues to provide technical, strategic, and stakeholder support to SVBGSA. We complete SGMA compliance activities through annual monitoring and reporting and are working with the GSA to fill data gaps in the most efficient manner and develop needed groundwater modeling tools. In collaboration with SVBGSA staff, partner agencies, and interested parties, we work to conduct project feasibility work, develop more refined sustainability strategies, and translate the GSP into concrete actions to reach sustainability.


M&A led the technical aspects of the GSPs such as developing the hydrogeologic conceptual model, and the policy aspects such as developing sustainable management criteria and establishing the projects and actions that will achieve sustainability. We continue to support SVBGSA with a wide range of services that draw on the diverse expertise of M&A staff.

Water Policy & Water Rights

  • Advise GSA on SGMA compliance
  • Provide continual support on project feasibility and sustainability strategies
  • Facilitated stakeholder dialogues to develop realistic projects and management actions that could be used to reach sustainability
  • Led team to develop high-level cost comparison of GSP projects and management actions
  • Developed successful grant applications for GSP development and implementation funding
  • Assisted the GSA with developing a strategy to review well permits

Groundwater Modeling

  • Developed groundwater budgets to support GSPs
  • Modeled projects to help reach sustainability
  • Supported the GSA’s collaboration with USGS to develop a groundwater-surface water model of the Salinas Valley
  • Developed a 3D geologic model using Leapfrog Geo software to bring together multiple data sources as an input to a groundwater flow model grid
  • Built a dual-density seawater intrusion model to assess and design projects to address seawater intrusion and plan for sea level rise

Groundwater Management

  • Facilitate technical working group meetings to develop scientific consensus
  • Complete SGMA monitoring and reporting
  • Present technical content at planning, advisory, and Board meetings to support science-based decision making
  • Model and assess impact of projects on groundwater conditions
  • Developed sustainable management criteria

Data Management Services

  • Developed a data management and mapping system with a web interface to allow public access and understanding of the groundwater basin