This project drew on SEI’s years of experience in guiding stakeholder-driven processes through the Robust Decision Support (RDS) practice. With funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), SEI led a team in using RDS to help Yolo County prepare for the implementation of SGMA, which requires California water agencies to halt the overdraft of priority basins and implement sustainability plans.
The project consisted of three components. The first, led by the University of Vermont, was to assess farmer attitudes on groundwater management. This was done using focus groups and a survey of Yolo County farmers. The second component was the development of an integrated hydro-economic model. This effort was led by ERA Economics and SEI. The third component was the implementation of the Robust Decision Support process with Yolo County stakeholders.
These three reports summarize the findings of a survey of Yolo County farmers, focusing on their concerns, preferences and practices.
RDS helps stakeholders create a shared mental model of available opportunities and potential trade-offs for various objectives.
This article describes the development of a groundwater sustainability plan for California's Yolo County, using a participatory decision-making process.