New plans-to-make-groundwater-management plans as drought continues

Submitted: Sep 10, 2014
Badlands Journal editorial board

 For us to become literate in the present California water dilemma, in addition to reading all the "California Drought" stories in the press, we should devote a certain amount of attention to the topic of "Water Bills," those statements of special interests and political ambition upon which members of the state Legislature and Congress vote.


As far as water politics is concerned, most of our attention has been drawn for several years to a local war occurring mainly in the San Joaquin Valley of California between those farmers of alkali flats on the west side of the valley and the farmers of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Peace talks between the two sides have been going on for half a century and it is fortunate that neither side has an air force. The bone of contention between the two sides has been that the west side wants all the Delta water and the Delta farmers and communities do not want to give it to them. The latest "issue" has been a plan to tunnel under the Delta and bring Sacramento River water around it, connecting with the giant north-south canals, leaving the Delta to stave off encroaching sea water without enough fresh water to keep it back, in other words, to become a salty slough. The artillery in this contest has been deafening and is expected to get worse as Election Day approaches when we the people will vote on they, the lobbyists' water bond.


But, in a drought, when irrigation districts cannot provide much surface water, our thoughts turn to what is beneath the ground and it is Christmas for well drillers. We want our wells yesterday and deeper. Reversing the usual proportions, we pump 60 instead of 40 percent of our water, and get 40 rather than 60 percent of our irrigation water from rivers and creeks.


In this drought, the terrifying shadow of the menace of groundwater regulation has fallen upon the orchards, vineyards, and vegetable crops of the land. It is about the only shade available.


Groundwater regulation is the end of civilization, built on the myth of private property, as we have known it. If I come into your area and buy a half section of pasture land, I have the absolute right to put the biggest pump I can afford into the deepest well I can afford and suck the aquifer as far down as I damn well please to water my new nut trees. If the neighbors want to find me, rots of ruck, buddy. You can talk to my farm manager, who's supervising the well-drilling and the planting and you may get as far as a secretary on Wiltshire Blvd. or Wall Street. Why should I want to talk to people who actually live in that godforsaken desert?


Then you've got other types like former Chairman of the Merced County Planning Commission Steve Sloan who has many pumps emptying the aquifer under his ranch to sell the water to a water district in a neighboring county for a price in the low eight figures.


What we have included below for your study are analyses by state Legislature committee staffers of three bills now on the governor's desk to regulate, sort of, California groundwater.


We're really not too terrified of the power of these bills, first of all because two of them are authored by state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills. Pavley fills us with confidence because she was the author of the bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing drilling in the state. On that bill, Pavley honed to a fine art the practice of making a bill appear to regulate when in fact there is language in the new law that appears to be vintage product of the petroleum lawyers's art -- vague, therefore lawsuit-worthy language concerning if and when the California Environmental Quality Act applies or doesn't.


A weaker regulation claims jurisdiction over a class of industry and exempts that class from regulation under the stronger regulatory act. It's quite an elegant compromise between bad and worse.


<!--[if !supportLists]-->·          <!--[endif]-->In the groundwater regulation, to be largely funded by the water bond to be voted on in November, the state generously gives great control of the problem of collapsing aquifers to local "agencies," a word that is given quite a broad workout in this legislation. However, there are too many eye-witness accounts of how completely useless local "agencies" are in regulating groundwater extraction to take this law seriously, just on this first point. Badlands editors have attended meetings of a variety of local agencies in eastern Merced County for 16 years and we can report with confidence that although various "agencies" are happy to receive public funds to measure groundwater loss, they haven't stopped an inch of it. However, they have at times experimented with replacing lost groundwater by injecting surface water into the ground. We could say with some confidence that local "agencies" will be happy to receive more and more public funds to do almost anything but actually enforce sustainable groundwater management. But when it gets down to defining what sustainable groundwater management is, it is defined negatively as management that would not cause “significant economic, social, or environmental” impacts. It couldn't be done without causing some of those impacts. The "local agencies," while quite sensitive to economic and social impacts, are stone deaf to environmental concerns, at least, we would venture to say, in those regions with the most severely overdrafted aquifers.


Words like "sustainability" and "development," in the hands of politicians and lobbyists, gradually lose all meaning in the snow storms of clever amendments that blur meaning flutter down from various domes of government.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·          <!--[endif]-->Oh yes, finally -- no really important bill would be complete without it -- a new layer of bureaucracy with a new name. "Groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) shall be established hither and thither upon the land wherever groundwater levels are falling (i.e. everywhere), charged with developing Groundwater sustainability plans (GSP's).

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·          <!--[endif]--> Or, as we are fond of saying, "Another plan-to-make-a-plan." -- blj

Whether by intention or incompetence, the variously named plans – Merced Water Supply Plan (all phases), Merced Groundwater Basin Groundwater Management Plan, Merced Irrigation District Groundwater Management Plan, and Regional Groundwater Management Plan – are incomprehensible to the public, alleged beneficiaries of them, even to a public as familiar with such documents as we are. -- Re: Opposition to Groundwater Basin Groundwater Management Plan Update, July 1, 2008,








          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                       SB 1168|

          |Office of Senate Floor Analyses   |                              |

          |1020 N Street, Suite 524          |                              |

          |(916) 651-1520         Fax: (916) |                              |

          |327-4478                          |                              |




                                 UNFINISHED BUSINESS



          Bill No:  SB 1168

          Author:   Pavley (D), et al.

          Amended:  8/29/14

          Vote:     21




          AYES:  Pavley, Evans, Hueso, Jackson, Lara, Monning, Wolk

          NOES:  Cannella, Fuller


           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  5-2, 5/23/14

          AYES:  De León, Hill, Lara, Padilla, Steinberg

          NOES:  Walters, Gaines


          SENATE FLOOR  :  24-12, 5/27/14

          AYES:  Beall, Block, Corbett, Correa, De León, DeSaulnier, 

            Evans, Galgiani, Hancock, Hernandez, Hill, Hueso, Jackson, 

            Lara, Leno, Lieu, Mitchell, Monning, Padilla, Pavley, Roth, 

            Steinberg, Torres, Wolk

          NOES:  Anderson, Berryhill, Cannella, Fuller, Gaines, Huff, 

            Knight, Morrell, Nielsen, Vidak, Walters, Wyland

          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Calderon, Liu, Wright, Yee


           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  Not available



           SUBJECT  :    Groundwater management


           SOURCE  :     Author



           DIGEST  :    This bill requires adoption of a sustainable 

          groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) by January 31, 2020, for 

          all high or medium priority basins that are subject to critical 

          conditions of overdraft and by January 31, 2022, for all other 

          high and medium priority basins unless the basin is legally 

          adjudicated or the local agency establishes it is otherwise 

          being sustainably managed.


           Assembly Amendments  add chaptering language with AB 1739 

          (Dickinson) and SB 1319 (Pavley); revise and recast the Senate 

          provisions relating to all groundwater basins and subbasins in 

          the state, enacting the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act 

          (Act), and adopting a GSP.


           ANALYSIS  :   


          Existing law:


          1.Provides the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water 

            Board) with broad powers to regulate the waste and 

            unreasonable use of water, including groundwater.


          2.Categorizes groundwater as either a subterranean stream 

            flowing through a known and definite channel or percolating 

            groundwater.  Groundwater that is a subterranean stream is 

            subject to the same State Water Board water right permitting 

            requirements as surface water.  There is no statewide 

            permitting requirement for percolating groundwater, which is 

            the majority of groundwater.


          3.Encourages local agencies to work cooperatively to manage 

            groundwater resources within their jurisdictions and, if not 

            otherwise required by law, to voluntarily adopt groundwater 

            management plans.


          4.Requires that a groundwater management plan contain components 

            related to funding, management, and monitoring in order for a 

            local agency to be eligible for groundwater project funds 

            administered by the Department of Water Resources (DWR).


          5.Allows a groundwater management plan to voluntarily contain 

            additional listed components.


          6.Requires all of the groundwater basins identified in DWR's 

            Groundwater Report, Bulletin No. 118, to be regularly and 

            systematically monitored locally and the information to be 

            readily and widely available.


          7.Requires DWR to perform the groundwater elevation monitoring 

            function if no local entity will do so but then bars the 

            county and other entities eligible to monitor that basin from 

            receiving state water grants or loans.


          8.Requires DWR to prioritize groundwater basins based on 

            multiple factors including, but not limited to, the level of 

            population and irrigated acreage relying on the groundwater 

            basin as a primary source of water and the current impacts on 

            the groundwater basin from overdraft, subsidence, saline 

            intrusion and other water quality degradation.


          This bill:


          1.Makes findings including, but not limited to, California's 

            high reliance on groundwater to meet its water needs; the 

            necessity of integrated surface and groundwater management in 

            order to meet the state's water management goals; and the 

            failed wells, deteriorated water quality, environmental 

            damage, and irreversible land subsidence that occur when 

            groundwater is not properly managed.


          2.Establishes that it is the policy of the state that all 

            groundwater basins are managed sustainably for multiple 

            economic, social and environmental benefits and that such 

            management is best achieved locally based on best available 



          3.Enacts the Act with the stated intent of empowering local 

            groundwater agencies to sustainably manage groundwater basins 

            through the development of GSPs.


          4.Defines sustainable groundwater management, among other terms.


          5.Encourages the voluntary participation of California Native 

            tribes and federal agencies in sustainable groundwater 

            management while preserving and acknowledging the federally 

            reserved rights of federally recognized Indian tribes.


          6.Specifies that groundwater basins are those identified by the 

            DWR in Bulletin No. 118, as it may be amended, and includes 




          7.Requires DWR, by January 31, 2015, to prioritize each basin as 

            either a high, medium, low, or very low priority using factors 

            under the California Statewide Groundwater Elevation 

            Monitoring (CASGEM) program that include, but are not limited 

            to: population, extent of public wells; overlying irrigated 

            acreage; reliance on groundwater; any documented impacts upon 

            the basin from overdraft, subsidence, saline intrusion and 

            other water quality degradation; or any other information 

            determined to be relevant by the department, including adverse 

            impacts on local habitat and local stream flows.


          8.Requires that high and medium priority basins that are in a be 

            sustainably managed through a GSP but excepts:


             A.   Basins, or portions of basins, that were subject to a 

               groundwater adjudication; and


             B.   Basins that a local agency can demonstrate are already 

               being sustainably managed.


          1.Encourages low and very low priority basins to manage through 

            a GSP but, should they voluntarily choose to do so, exempts 

            them from any State compliance actions.


          2.Allows any local agency or combination of agencies to 

            establish a groundwater sustainability agency (GSA) for the 

            purpose of developing and implementing a GSP.  Allows water 

            corporations regulated by the Public Utilities Commission to 

            participate in a GSA if the local agencies forming the GSA 



          3.Recognizes and lists special districts that were created in 

            legislation for the purpose of managing groundwater and makes 

            those districts the exclusive entities within their boundaries 

            with authority to comply with the Act, unless they choose to 

            opt out.


          4.Allows a city or county to be the GSA or, in the case of an 

            area where no local agency has assumed management, presumes 

            the county to be the GSA unless the county opts out.  If the 

            county opts out and there is no other local agency, requires 

            reporting of groundwater extractions directly to the State 

            Water Board.


          5.Requires a local agency or combination of local agencies that 

            is electing to be, or forming, a GSA to notify DWR of the 

            intent to be a GSA and provide a notice to DWR that includes 

            the proposed boundaries of the GSA, among other information.  

            Requires DWR to post the notice to its Internet Web site.


          6.Following public notice, a public hearing, and final action to 

            become a GSA, requires the GSA to notify DWR within 30 days 

            and include copies of pertinent documents, as specified.  

            Requires DWR to post the final notice and documents to its 

            Internet Web site.  Ninety days following posting by DWR, the 

            GSA is presumed to be the exclusive GSA for its boundaries if 

            no other GSA submits a notice.


          7.Provides for public involvement in the development of GSPs and 

            sets forth a diverse set of interests that should be 

            considered by the GSA during that process including an entity 

            within the basin that is currently a CASGEM monitoring entity.


          8.Empowers GSAs to collect information regarding the condition 

            of the basin and then develop and implement a GSP using, as 

            the GSA chooses, powers and authorities provided under the Act 

            including, but not limited to:


             A.   Acquiring land and water to carry out the plan, 

               including but not limited to spreading, storing, retaining, 

               percolating, transporting, or reclaiming water to recharge 

               the basin or provide water supplies in-lieu of groundwater;


             B.   Monitoring for compliance and limiting extractions; and


             C.   Proposing, collecting, updating and enforcing fees, 

               consistent with all statutory and Constitutional 



          1.Specifies that nothing in the Act or in any GSA adopted 

            pursuant to the Act determines or alters surface water rights 

            or groundwater rights under common law or any provision of law 

            that determines or grants surface water rights.


          2.Requires, by June 1, 2016, that DWR develop regulations 



             A.   GSP components;


             B.   Coordination of multiple GSPs for a basin; and


             C.   Alternative compliance, including submitting an existing 

               plan as a functional equivalent of a GSP or submitting an 

               analysis of basin conditions that demonstrates the basin is 

               being sustainably managed.


          1.Specifies, in those areas that require a GSP to be completed, 

            adopted, and submitted to DWR that the deadlines are:


             A.   January 31, 2020, in high and medium priority basins 

               that are subject to critical conditions of overdraft; and


             B.   January 31, 2022 for all other high and medium priority 



          1.Exempts the preparation and adoption of a GSP from the 

            California Environmental Quality Act but does not exempt a 

            project or action to implement the GSP.


          2.Requires GSPs to meet certain standards including:


             A.   Encompassing an entire basin or subbasin; and


             B.   Being designed to achieve sustainable groundwater 

               management within 20 years of adoption with progress 

               reports to DWR and the State Water Board every five years.


          1.Requires a GSA to annually report to DWR its groundwater 

            elevation data, aggregated extraction data, use or 

            availability of surface water for recharge or in-lieu 

            supplies, total water use, and change in groundwater storage.


          2.Allows DWR to adjust basin boundaries, as specified, and 

            re-prioritize low and very low basins according to criteria 

            that include adverse impacts to habitat and surface water 

            resources.  Requires DWR to adopt emergency regulations 

            governing basin boundary adjustments.


          3.Provides that if a basin is reprioritized to medium or high, 

            it shall have two years from the date of reprioritization to 

            form a governance entity for sustainable management or submit 



            an alternate means of establishing the basin is sustainably 

            managed.  If no alternate means is approved, allows five years 

            to adopt a GSP in compliance with the Act.


          4.Prohibits the adoption or renewal of existing groundwater 

            management plans that do not meet the requirements for a GSP 

            but allows such plans to remain in effect until a GSP is 



          5.Allows a GSA to become a CASGEM monitoring agency.


          6.Contains chaptering language that only allows this bill to 

            become operative if AB 1739 (Dickinson) and SB 1319 (Pavley) 

            are enacted and become operative this session.

          As Benjamin Franklin warned over 200 years ago, we know the 

          worth of water when the well is dry.  Unfortunately, for many 

          Californians that is a stark reality or a pending calamity that 

          has been coming in slow-motion for 50 years.  In its August 15, 

          2014, editorial the Sacramento Bee notes that it was in 1962 

          that an Assembly Interim Committee on Water dodged the issue of 

          needed groundwater management by advising the Legislature it 

          should act if the situation got worse.  It got worse.  Sixteen 

          years later, in 1978, the Governor's Commission to Review 

          California Water Rights Law, a group commissioned by Governor 

          Jerry Brown, found the groundwater situation was critical and 

          that comprehensive local management had not been undertaken in 

          many over drafted areas of the state.  Again, there was no 



          An August 18, 2014, Los Angeles Times column asserts there is      no  better time to act than now.  The Times notes that the 

          recently-passed $7.545 bond for water-related projects and 

          programs that is scheduled for the November 2014 ballot contains 

          $100 million for planning and implementing groundwater 

          management, $800 million for cleaning up groundwater, $700 

          million for recycling and $2.7 billion for dam building.  As the 

          Los Angeles Times column states, these are projects that can 

          help replenish underground basins but it will take pumping rules 

          to assure taxpayers that they are getting their money's worth.  

          The Times Los Angeles column concludes, the State has been 

          ignoring experts' increasing warnings regarding groundwater 

          depletions for decades and holding off on groundwater regulation 

          since statehood but together this bill and a related measure AB 

          1739, seek to empower local governments to manage groundwater 

          sustainably while allowing the state to step in if they fail to 

          do so.


          While California uses more groundwater than any other state, it 

          is the last in the Union to lack an enforceable set of statewide 

          groundwater management standards.  Groundwater informational 

          hearings in the Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee and 

          the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee in March 2014 

          revealed disturbing statistics on the current degradation of 

          some of California's groundwater basins:  between 2003 and 2009 

          the groundwater aquifers for the Central Valley and its major 

          mountain water source, the Sierra Nevada, lost almost 26 million 

          acre-feet of water - nearly enough water combined to fill Lake 

          Mead, America's largest reservoir.  The findings reflected the 

          effects of California's extended drought and the resulting 

          increased rates of groundwater being pumped for human uses, such 

          as irrigation.


           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes   

          Local:  No


          According to the Assembly Appropriations Committee:


           Increased annual General Fund costs to DWR of approximately $4 

            million beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2019-20 to collect and 

            manage data, complete evaluations, and assist the State Water 

            Board in developing interim plans.  DWR received $22.5 million 

            in the 2014-15 Budget ($2.5 million for FY 2014-15 and $5 

            million each year from FY 2015-16 through FY 2018-19 which 

            will fund Bulletin 118 updates and technical assistance.


           Minor, if any, reimbursable local government costs.


           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/29/14)


          Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

          Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, 

          Zone 7

          American Planning Association

          Association of California Water Agencies

          Audubon California

          Barona Band of Mission Indians

          Bay Area Council

          California Climate and Agricultural Network

          California Coastkeeper Alliance

          California Council of Geoscience Organizations

          California Environmental Justice Alliance

          California Environmental Rights Foundation

          California Groundwater Coalition

          California League of Conservation Voters

          California ReLeaf

          California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation

          California State Pipe Trades Council

          California Teamsters Public Affairs Council

          California Tribal Business Alliance

          California Trout

          California Urban Streams Partnership

          California Water Foundation

          California Waterfowl Association

          City of Anaheim

          City of Los Angeles, Mayor's Office

          Clean Water Action

          Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation

          Community Alliance with Family Farmers

          Community Water Center

          Comte Civico Del Valle, Inc.

          Cucamonga Valley Water District


          East Bay Municipal Utility District

          East Orange County Water District

          EMAX Laboratories, Inc.

          Environmental Defense Fund

          Environmental Justice Coalition for Water

          Environmental Navigation Services, Inc.

          Groundwater Resources Association of California

          Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake

          Heal the Bay

          Horizon Environmental Inc.

          Inland Empire Utilities Agency

          Inyo County

          Irvine Ranch Water District

          Karuk Tribe

          Klamath Forest Alliance

          Klamath Riverkeeper

          Leadership Council for Justice & Accountability

          Local Government Commission

          Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

          Los Angeles City Council

          Los Angeles Waterkeeper

          Luhdorff & Scalmanini Consulting Engineers

          Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster

          Montclair Environmental Management, Inc.

          Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center

          Natural Resources Defense Council

          Orange County Water District

          Pacific Forest Trust

          Pala Band of Mission Indians

          Parker Groundwater

          Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians

          Planning & Conservation League


          PRO Water Equity

          Pueblo Unido CDC

          Quinn Environmental Strategies, Inc.

          Raymond Basin Management Board

          Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians

          Russian Riverkeeper

          Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples

          San Diego County Water Authority

          San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

          San Gabriel Valley Water Association

          San Jerardo Cooperative, Inc.

          Santa Clara Valley Water District

          Sierra Club California

          Sonoma County Water Agency

          Sullivan International Group, Inc.

          Sustainable Watershed Management

          The Nature Conservancy

          The Source Group, Inc.

          The Trust for Public Land

          The Wildlands Conservancy

          Todd Groundwater

          Trout Unlimited

          Union of Concerned Scientists

          United States Department of Defense, Regional Environmental

          Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District 

          Valley Industry and Commerce Association

          Valley-Warner Center Chamber of Commerce

          Ventura County

          Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians

          Water Replenishment District of Southern California

          West Basin Municipal Water District

          Western Municipal Water District


          Women's International League for Peace and Freedom


           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  8/29/14)


          African American Farmers of California

          Agricultural Council of California

          Allied Grape Growers

          Almond Hullers & Processors Association

          Association of California Egg Farmers

          Blue Diamond Growers


          California Agricultural Aircraft Association

          California Ammonia Co.

          California Association of Nurseries & Garden Centers

          California Bean Shippers Association

          California Blueberry Association

          California Canning Peach Association

          California Cattlemen's Association

          California Chamber of Commerce

          California Citrus Mutual

          California Construction and Industrial Materials Association

          California Cotton Ginners Association

          California Cotton Growers Association

          California Dairies, Inc.

          California Farm Bureau Federation

          California Fresh Fruit Association

          California Grain & Feed

          California Groundwater Association

          California League of Food Processors

          California Pear Growers Association

          California Seed Association

          California State Floral Association

          California Tomato Growers Association

          California Warehouse Association

          California Women for Agriculture

          Campos Brothers Farms

          Coachella Valley Water District

          Dairy Farmers of America-Western Area

          Del Monte Foods

          Desert Water Agency (unless amended)

          Family Business Association

          Fruit Growers Supply Company

          Grower-Shipper Association of Central California

          Grower-Shipper Association of Santa Barbara & San Luis Obispo 


          Kaweah Basin

          Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District

          Kern County

          Kern County Water Agency

          Kings River Conservation District

          Kings River Water Association

          Land O' Lakes

          Nisei Farmers League

          Northern California Water Association

          Pacific Coast Producers

          Raisin Bargaining Association

          San Joaquin County

          San Joaquin River Exchange Contactors

          Stockton East Water District

          Sun-Maid Growers of California

          Sunsweet Growers Inc.

          Tulare Irrigation District

          Valley Ag Water Coalition

          Western Agricultural Processors Association

          Western Growers Association

                    Western Plant Health Association


           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    The author states that this bill is 

          needed because California faces a groundwater crisis.  The 

          author points out that the cumulative overdraft of our 

          groundwater basins is equivalent to the entire amount of water 

          stored in Lake Tahoe and that in many areas of the state, local 

          groundwater managers lack the tools and authorities to manage 

          the groundwater basins.  The author concludes that without 

          improved local management the overdraft in many parts of the 

          state will get even worse over the next several years.  Other 

          supporters add that a new statewide policy for sustainable 

          groundwater management is urgently needed and that this bill 

          addresses one of California's most pressing water management 

          issues.  Supporters point out that breadth of the stakeholder 

          involvement process that was used in order to help ensure the 

          right balance of provisions to empower local groundwater 

          management agencies with new tools and authorities and to create 

          an appropriate state backstop that will allow the state to 

          intervene only when needed.


           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    Opponents state they share the 

          author's interest in improving groundwater management but are 

          concerned about the broad scope and specific impacts of this 

          measure.  Opponents believe this bill is extraordinarily 

          ambitious and comprehensive and that in its current form it 

          would substantially alter the California landscape and economy 

          for generations to come.  Opponents are concerned that this bill 

          could require hundreds of millions of dollars in implementation 

          costs and are worried about potential affects to existing 

          groundwater rights and generate litigation.  Opponents maintain 

          the legislation goes beyond the goal of sustainable groundwater 

          management and will adversely affect the agricultural economy 

          and the landscape that is dependent upon it and cause a 

          potential devaluation in some land thus affecting property tax 

          collections in some areas and the services and programs that are 

          dependent upon them.  Opponents advocate delaying action in 

          order to avoid what they believe would be unanticipated 




          RM:e  8/29/14   Senate Floor Analyses


                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE


                                   ****  END  ****





<!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]-->




          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                       SB 1319|

          |Office of Senate Floor Analyses   |                              |

          |1020 N Street, Suite 524          |                              |

          |(916) 651-1520         Fax: (916) |                              |

          |327-4478                          |                              |




                                 UNFINISHED BUSINESS


          Bill No:  SB 1319

          Author:   Pavley (D) and Wolk (D)

          Amended:  8/29/14

          Vote:     21





           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  Not available



           SUBJECT  :    Groundwater management


           SOURCE  :     Author



           DIGEST  :    This bill amends AB 1739 (Dickinson) of the current 

          legislative session which, together with SB 1168 (Pavley) of the 

          current legislative session, form the Sustainable Groundwater 

          Management Act and related provisions. 


           Assembly Amendments  delete the Senate version of the bill 

          relates to oil spills and instead insert the current language.


           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law authorizes local agencies to adopt and 

          implement a groundwater management plan.  Existing law requires 

          a groundwater management plan to contain specified components 

          and requires a local agency seeking state funds administered by 

          the Department of Water Resources (DWR) for groundwater projects 

          or groundwater quality projects to do certain things, including, 

          but not limited to, preparing and implementing a groundwater 

          management plan that includes basin management objectives for 

          the groundwater basin.







                                                                    SB 1319





          This bill revises provisions from the August 22, 2014 version of 

          AB 1739 (Dickinson) as follows:


          1.Prohibits the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) from 

            establishing an interim plan to remedy a condition where the 

            groundwater extractions result in significant depletions of 

            interconnected surface waters until January 1, 2025.  This 

            provision delays the similar provision in AB 1739 from 2022 to 



          2.Requires SWRCB to exclude any portion of a basin in compliance 

            with groundwater management requirements from probationary 

            status.  This provision narrows the similar provision in AB 

            1739 to only apply to the portion of the basin that is out of 



          3.Requires SWRCB to include any element of a groundwater 

            sustainability plan or the entire plan in its interim plan if 

            SWRCB finds it would help meet the sustainability goal.  This 

            provision revises the similar provision in AB 1739 to allow 

            for the inclusion of local plans when developing interim plans 

            for basins with probationary status.


          4.Provides the enactment of this bill is contingent upon the 

            enactment of AB 1739 (Dickinson) and SB 1168 (Pavley).


          5.Makes technical and conforming changes.




          On March 7, 2014 the Governor's Office released a draft 

          framework soliciting input on actions that can be taken to 

          assure local groundwater managers have the tools and authority 

          to sustainably manage groundwater.  The draft framework advises 

          that in developing ideas it may be helpful to consider whether 

          local agencies need enhanced local agency authority, and how the 

          state should structure state backstop authority when local 

          action has not occurred or has been insufficient.


          In response, Senator Pavley and Assemblymember Dickinson 

          introduced SB 1168 and AB 1739.  These bills which moved through 

          the legislation process in nearly identical form while the 

          authors and administration convened multiple stakeholder 





          meetings and further developed the provisions of the bills.  On 

          August 22, 2014, both bills were amended to divide the 

          provisions between the two bills.  Together, SB 1168 and AB 1739 

          provide a comprehensive groundwater sustainability management 



          AB 1739 (Dickinson), among other provisions, authorizes SWRCB to 

          designate a basin as a probationary basin under specified 

          circumstances and to develop an interim management plan in 

          consultation with DWR under specified conditions.


           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes   

          Local:  Yes


          According to the Assembly Appropriations Committee:


          1.Increased annual out-year costs of $1 million to $2.5 million 

            (special fund) for state interim plans to be covered by fee 

            revenues.  The revisions to AB 1739 provided by this bill will 

            likely result in lower costs due to delays in compliance 

            requirements and the ability to place only portions of basins 

            on probationary status.


          2.Absorbable General Fund costs for DWR to assist SWRCB in 

            developing interim plans.  DWR received $22.5 million in the 

            2014-15 Budget ($2.5 million for fiscal year (FY) 14-15 and $5 

            million each year from FY15-16 through FY18-19, which will 

            fund Bulletin 118 updates and technical assistance.



          RM:k  8/29/14   Senate Floor Analyses


                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  NONE RECEIVED


                                   ****  END  ****











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