In Response to Drought, California Takes Historic Step to Regulate Groundwater

09.22.2014
Daily Journal

Nossaman Partner Paul Weiland was quoted in the Daily Journal article, "In Response to Drought, California Takes Historic Step to Regulate Groundwater," regarding the recently passed groundwater legislation in California. Governor Jerry Brown signed three historic groundwater bills making it the first time in California history that groundwater  will be regulated.  The bill was backed by various groups including environmentalists and urban water suppliers.  Opposition came from agriculture groups, most notably the California Farm Bureau Federation.

The three bills will put pressure on local governments to manage their groundwater and basins with a set timetable being enforced. Agencies will have 20 years to develop management plans with an additional 20 years to meet the plans' long term goals.

Groundwater debates have been persistent for decades with several cases ending up in courts. The new legislation hopes to change that by divvying up the groundwater supplies in times of severe drought. The hope is that so-called  "turf battles" will not become a bigger issue.

"The law is vague on that matter, allowing for maximum flexibility, although it does specify that joint powers authorities and other partnerships are allowable," Weiland said.

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