The Glenn Groundwater Authority Encourages Water Conservation

The Glenn Groundwater Authority (GGA) is encouraging you to help our groundwater basin by conserving water. Conserve at home. Conserve at work. Conserve on the farm. We are experiencing a significant drought and we need your help. Eight of the last ten years have been classified as below normal, dry, or critical based on the Sacramento Valley Water Year Hydrologic Classification. The Northern Sierra Precipitation 8-Station Index states our region is only at 79% of average precipitation this year. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows over 97% of Glenn County is in Extreme Drought.

The GGA is the Groundwater Sustainability Agency managing the Glenn County portion of the Colusa Subbasin. This covers the area generally south of Stony Creek, east of the coast ranges, west of the Sacramento River, and north of the Glenn-Colusa County line.  In coordination with the Colusa Groundwater Authority, the GGA submitted the Colusa Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) as required by the Sustainability Groundwater Management Act in January 2022.  The GSP is a long-term, comprehensive, dynamic plan that will guide how groundwater is managed in the Colusa Subbasin. The goals of the GSP are the maintain locally-managed sustainable groundwater resources to preserve and enhance the economic viability, social well-being, and culture of all who use groundwater, while avoiding undesirable results. What constitutes an “undesirable result” is quantified in the GSP for the required sustainability indicators which include, for example, groundwater levels and land subsidence. Conditions are monitored throughout the subbasin and measured relative to the criteria set within the GSP. 

Basin conditions are evaluated at least annually during the development of the required Annual Report.  The Annual Report submitted in April 2022 indicated that groundwater levels have generally dropped since 2020, especially around Orland and Artois. Since 2015, land subsidence has occurred in various areas, but most prominent between Orland and Artois with up to -1.5 feet of vertical displacement. It is unclear how much of this subsidence is permanent.

How is the GGA helping during drought? The GSP includes a list of Projects and Management Actions that can be implemented to help reach and maintain sustainable groundwater conditions. The GGA is evaluating these projects and longer-term options to enhance drought resiliency. Immediate term solutions are being sought by Glenn County, cities, and local water providers. If you are experiencing water supply issues, be sure to report your issues to Glenn County or the California Department of Water Resources. There may be an assistance program that fits your circumstances. The link to report water insecurities can be found on our website.  The GGA is also pursuing planning for groundwater recharge projects, has added additional monitoring for land subsidence, and is preparing for a grant opportunity that could provide funds for on-the-ground projects. 

The GGA supports the actions taken by local municipal water suppliers to encourage water conservation. The City of Orland implemented Stage 2 of the Water Conservation and Shortage Contingency Plan effective May 1, 2022. This includes limiting watering lawn and landscape to 3 days per week between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. and implements a Stage 2 tiered rate structure. Cal Water, serving residents in the City of Willows, implemented Stage 2 of Cal Water’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan on May 23, 2022. Restrictions include limitations on outdoor watering to 2 days per week between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. and increased water waste penalties. 

If you are a resident outside of these water service areas, we encourage you to implement a limited watering schedule and to reduce water waste. Fix leaks. Wash vehicles only with a hose that has a shutoff nozzle or similar device. Do not put water on driveways and sidewalks, unless for health and safety purposes. Do not water outdoor landscape within 48 hours after measurable rainfall. Be creative in finding your own solutions!

Local agricultural producers have also been affected by drought. Surface water allocations have been significantly reduced or eliminated across the subbasin, with some receiving no surface water at all.  In many cases, annual crops have been fallowed or fewer acres planted while trees and other permanent crops are being irrigated sparingly. Agricultural water users are similarly encouraged to utilize best management practices and conserve water as much as possible. Utilize your surface water supplies if you have them and minimize groundwater pumping. Coordinate with neighbors, when possible, to minimize possible well interference. Visit our website for links to additional resources.

We challenge you to do your part in helping to conserve our precious water resources. No matter what you use water for, we are all in this together and every drop counts! Visit our website at to access additional tips, information, and resources.


Lisa Hunter, GGA Program Manager


[email protected]  

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