The California State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) GAMA Program is a comprehensive assessment of statewide groundwater quality in California. From 2004 to 2012, the GAMA Program’s Priority Basin Project focused on assessing groundwater resources used for public drinking-water supplies. More than 2,000 public-supply wells were sampled by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for this effort. Starting in 2012, the GAMA Priority Basin Project began an assessment of water resources in shallow aquifers in California. These shallow aquifers provide water for domestic and small community-supply wells, which are often drilled to shallower depths in the groundwater system than public-supply wells. Shallow aquifers are of interest because shallow groundwater may respond more quickly and be more susceptible to contamination from human activities at the land surface, than the deeper aquifers. The SWRCB’s GAMA Program was developed in response to the Groundwater Quality Monitoring Act of 2001 (Water Code sections 10780-10782.3): a public mandate to assess and monitor the quality of groundwater resources used for drinking-water supplies, and to increase the availability of information about groundwater quality to the public. The U.S. Geological Survey is the technical lead of the Priority Basin Project.
Stewardship of California’s groundwater resources is a responsibility shared between well owners, communities, and the State. Participants and collaborators in the GAMA Program include Regional Water Quality Control Boards, Department of Water Resources, Department of Public Health, local and regional groundwater management entities, county and local water agencies, community groups, and private citizens. Well-owner participation in the GAMA Program is entirely voluntary.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
California Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA) Program Priority Basin Project--shallow aquifer assessment