Plans Across the USA

Groundwater management plans are an important tool for guiding policies and actions that help to achieve and preserve the desired state of the aquifer, while meeting economic, social and environmental goals. Groundwater management plans set out a vision, specify concrete goals and objectives, and identify polices that will collectively serve to achieve these goals and objectives.  Effective groundwater planning requires knowledge of the groundwater system and an ability predict, determine the effects of, monitor, and control the human actions that impact the groundwater system.

In the USA, the management of groundwater primarily falls under state jurisdiction, as such, the legal and regulatory environment for groundwater management planning varies substantially. In some states, a state-level agency is responsible for the development of groundwater management plans [top-down]. In other states, legislative or administrative laws designate regional or local-level agencies responsibility for the formation of groundwater management agencies and groundwater management plans. States may legally require those agencies produce plans [bottom-up mandatory] or states may instead provide an enabling framework that encourages and incentivizes but does not require those agencies to develop groundwater management plans [bottom-up voluntary]. Incentives may be financial (including eligibility for grants, loans, or assistance), technical support, or involve the granting/devolution of regulatory powers to those who develop plans. Lastly, some states include groundwater management in state water plans or integrated plans rather than producing independent groundwater management plans.

Figure 1: Requirements for groundwater management planning, by state. Click the state for more details, including a URL to the regulatory code.  Map may be slow to load.

US - GWMP Map Placeholder