By Jennifer Clary, California Program Manager
The California Legislature ended its 2014 session on Friday evening by adopting the first comprehensive groundwater regulation in the state’s 164-year history. SB 1168 (Pavley) and AB 1739 (Dickinson) provide a framework for managing the state’s groundwater basins that will require management plans and potentially pumping limits in the state’s most heavily used basins.
There’s an old adage that says “water flows to money.” That is definitely the case with groundwater, as large cities, irrigation districts and corporate agriculture can afford to drill wells ever deeper to capture dwindling groundwater supplies. The current drought, now in its third year, has brought this inequity to the forefront as groundwater levels have dropped precipitously in some parts of the state, causing groundwater-fed streams and small domestic wells to go dry. This means small farmers are losing their water supply to neighbors with a deeper well and more powerful pump. Read the rest of this entry »