Following the passage of California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in 2014, the Salinas Valley Basin faced the challenge of creating a new, local management agency to oversee the critical basin. This Groundwater Sustainability Agency would be responsible for developing a sustainability plan for the basin and implementing it over the coming decades. But before that, the basin needed to come together to determine just who would be involved in such an agency and, just as importantly, how they would come to those decisions.

CBI was hired in late 2015 to help local government, utilities, farmers, nonprofits, and other stakeholders come together in an interactive process to establish the new agency. Through stakeholder interviews and extensive outreach, CBI helped create a transparent process to involve all interested stakeholders and local water users. A collaborative work group ran alongside stakeholder forums to develop recommendations on how the Agency should be developed and who should be involved.