The June 30, 2017 deadline for medium and high-priority groundwater basins to create Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (“GSAs”) under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”) is behind us, and the newly-formed regulatory agencies must now figure out how they will meet their purpose of stopping overdraft and bringing groundwater to sustainable levels. SGMA implementation can easily build on the experiences of the west.
We have all heard of the Gold Rush in the State of California. In recent years, however, a new kind of “gold rush” has taken over the state – the rush for new water supplies. As the drought continues into its 4th year unabated, farmers are scrambling to drill new and deeper wells into the ground. However, these farmers face serious new challenges in their quest to secure new water supplies. Continue reading
The fourth year of a statewide drought in California has brought some drastic changes to how citizens view and use water in the Golden State. First, both citizens and businesses are becoming more aware of their water use. State and local efforts to quantify how much water individual communities use have garnered recent media attention. Earlier this week, the California State Water Resources Control Board released data showing per capita water use by city across the state. The data showed that the tony cities of Rancho Santa Fe and Beverly Hills had some of the highest per capita water use despite the historic drought the state is facing. Second, the general public’s awareness of the importance of water issues to the state helped to get ballot measures like Proposition 1 across the finish line and into law despite two prior attempts to get a larger-sized measure on the ballot.
In the aftermath of the historic passage of both Proposition 1 and the groundwater legislation earlier this year, we should step back and determine what these measures both can and cannot do for the State of California. In this piece I will review these issues, and look at water planning in the state as we potentially move into the fourth year of drought in California. Continue reading