The Ojai Basin Groundwater Management Agency (OBGMA) was created in 1991 in the fifth year of a drought amidst concerns of local water agencies, water users, and well owners about potential overdraft of the Ojai Groundwater Basin, in Ventura County. Creation of the agency required a special act of the California legislature, the Ojai Basin Groundwater Management Agency Act (SB 534, October 1991). OBGMA is one of only 13 special act districts with legislative authority to manage groundwater in California.
OBGMA is responsible for managing the supply and demand of Ojai Groundwater Basin for the protection and common benefit of agricultural, municipal, and industrial water users of the basin. The agency is required to have a groundwater management plan to guide its operations. Elements of OBGMA’s Groundwater Management Plan are implemented in the form of policies, rules, regulations, and ordinances.
Agricultural demand accounts for about 60% of the water drawn from the basin and urban demand accounts for about 40%.
Key activities of the OBGMA:
- Conducts groundwater management and planning
- Documents groundwater extraction from reported pumping
- Collects extraction charges from well owners
- Coordinates with the county and private entities to monitor basin conditions
- Supports the operation and maintenance of the San Antonio Spreading Grounds Rehabilitation Project
- Maintains a groundwater model of the basin
- Monitors water levels in the basin
- Performs groundwater-related outreach and education activities
- Participates in watershed, county, and state meetings