Private Well Owners

Private Well Owners (PWOs) are individuals or businesses that have a groundwater well that they operate independently of any water agency, and that supplies water for domestic use, livestock, irrigation, and/or commercial/industrial use. Any well serving up to four connections is considered an Individual Water System. The Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency (SMGWA) is hopeful that PWOs that have wells in the Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin will engage with the process of developing a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) for the basin. To help ensure that the concerns and interests of PWOs are heard, two PWO representatives from within the basin are serving on the SMGWA Board. Remember, sustainable groundwater levels benefit all users in the basin.

Click here to view a recording of the Well Owner Representative meeting held December 6th, 2020

Meeting Agenda

Meeting Notice Posting

Presentation: Groundwater in Your Well

Presentation: How do Private Wells and Small Water Systems Impact the Basin

Presentation: The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and the Role of Private Well Owners (De Minimis Pumpers)

Presentation: Ways to be a Good Citizen of the Aquifer

Click here to review the Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency’s Guiding Principles

We encourage every PWO in the Santa Margarita Basin to take the following actions:

1) Sign up for the SMGWA email listserve at the bottom of our Homepage. We use the listserve to provide monthly updates on the process and upcoming events;

2) Attend monthly Board meetings to learn more and share your ideas;

3) Volunteer for our Well Sounding Program and track the water levels in your well;

4) Read the PWO FAQs linked below;

5) Still have questions? Contact one of the SMGWA and PWO representatives:

CLICK HERE to view Frequently Asked Questions specific to PWOs

How Can I Help?

Outdoor Water Conservation

  • Plant a drought tolerant landscape and use mulch to retain moisture.
  • Use drip irrigation or hand watering
  • Ensure all hoses have a shut off nozzle
  • Install soil moisture meters to determine the need for watering
  • Use irrigation timers and avoid watering from 10 am-5 pm.
  • Collect rainwater for outdoor irrigation
  • Modify drainage to promote infiltration of rainwater
  • Use a pool cover
  • Consider washing your animals, including horses, less frequently

Indoor Water Conservation

  • Install efficient toilets, washing machines, and shower heads
  • Keep showers to 5 minutes or less
  • Use buckets to collect warm-up water or install a circulation pump
  • Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily
  • Turn off the sink when brushing teeth or rinsing dishes

Well Management

  • Consider installing a meter on your well so you know how much water you are using and track the progress of conservation efforts.
  • Check for and repair water leaks to avoid water waste and to extend the life of your well pump and equipment (installing a meter can help you quickly detect leaks).
  • Perform basic well maintenance.
  • Request a well sounding measurement to monitor groundwater levels in your well. Contact Nathan Salazar from the County at (831) 454-2145 to schedule a visit.

Helpful Information

The Department of Water Resources has put together some FAQs for the Act and the GSA formation. Those can be found here: