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

 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.
·          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.
·          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).
·           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  ****

          |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
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