SACRAMENTO - Putting California communities on a path to become more resilient to water shortages, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed historic legislation to strengthen local management and monitoring of groundwater basins most critical to the state's water needs.
"We have to learn to manage wisely water, energy, land and our
investments," said Governor Brown. "That's why this is important."
The three bills signed by the Governor today - AB 1739 by Assemblymember
Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) and Senate Bills 1168 and 1319 by
Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) - create a framework for
sustainable, local groundwater management for the first time in
California history. The legislation allows local agencies to tailor
sustainable groundwater plans to their regional economic and
environmental needs. A signing message can be found here.
"California will no longer be the only Western state that does not
manage its groundwater," said Senator Pavley. "The cost of doing nothing
is the biggest economic gamble. Thousands of homes and small farms
cannot keep pace with the race to drill deeper and deeper wells. The
bills take a balanced approach - they protect property rights and
incentivize local control."
"Ensuring a sustainable supply of groundwater is a critical element of
addressing the water challenges facing California," said Assemblymember
Dickinson. "Over drafting our groundwater leads to subsidence and
contamination; consequences we cannot afford. With these new laws in
effect, California will take important steps to ensure we are protecting
our valuable water supply for years to come.
"I applaud the leadership of Governor Brown, Senator Pavley and
Assemblymember Dickinson on the passage of this landmark legislation to
better manage our precious groundwater supplies," said Senate President
pro Tem-elect Kevin de León. "There's still a lot of hard work left to
do, but these bills coupled with the $7.5 billion water bond proposal we
adopted in August will help protect our residents', farmers' and
industry's access to affordable and reliable water."
"Today's bill signing is a historic step for our state. It is so
important that we take these steps to preserve and protect one of our
most valuable resources, groundwater," said California State Board of
Food and Agriculture President Craig McNamara.
"Not very many years from now, I believe that we will look back on today
as a turning point in securing reliable, long-term water supplies for
California's vital agricultural economy," said Association of California
Water Agencies Executive Director Tim Quinn.
"This legislation marks a new beginning for enduring sustainable
management of California's rivers and groundwater systems," said The
Nature Conservancy External Affairs Director Jay Ziegler.
"At Driscoll's, we are highly dependent on groundwater. The future of
agriculture in areas along the central coast hinges on sustainable
management of this precious resource," said Driscoll's CEO Miles Reiter.
A photo from today's bill signing can be found below.
Groundwater is a critical element of the state's water system, making up
more than one-third of California's water supply. The bills establish a
definition of sustainable groundwater management and require local
agencies to adopt management plans for the state's most important
groundwater basins. The legislation prioritizes groundwater basins that
are currently overdrafted and sets a timeline for implementation:
- By 2017, local groundwater management agencies must be identified;
- By 2020, overdrafted groundwater basins must have sustainability plans;
- By 2022, other high and medium priority basins not currently in overdraft must have sustainability plans; and
- By 2040, all high and medium priority groundwater basins must achieve sustainability.
Additionally, the legislation provides measurable objectives and
milestones to reach sustainability and a state role of limited
intervention when local agencies are unable or unwilling to adopt
sustainable management plans.
In addition to this legislation, the Governor announced that he has signed the following bills today:
- AB 2453 by Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) - Paso Robles Basin Water District.
- AB 1043 by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) - Safe Drinking
Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal
Protection Bond Act of 2006: groundwater contamination.
For full text of the bills, visit: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov
Governor Brown was also joined today by representatives from the
Association of California Water Agencies, B and E Lundberg Farm,
Driscoll's, Sierra Orchards, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Bay
Area Council, California Building Industry Association, California
League of Conservation Voters, California State Association of Counties,
California Water Foundation, Clean Water Action, Community Water
Center, Irvine Ranch Water District, Metropolitan Water District of
Southern California, Nature Conservancy, Northern California Water
Association, Orange County Water District, Parker Groundwater, Resources
Legacy Fund, San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority, Santa Clara
Valley Water District, S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, State Water
Contractors, West Yost Associates, and the Wine Institute.
Today's announcement follows on more than a year of action to strengthen
and make more resilient California's water system. Last December, the
Governor formed a Drought Task Force
to closely manage precious water supplies, to expand water conservation
wherever possible and to quickly respond to emerging drought impacts
throughout the state. In January, the administration finalized a
comprehensive Water Action Plan
that charts the way for California to become more resilient in the face
of droughts and floods. During that same month, the Governor declared a
drought state of emergency and in April 2014, called on the state to redouble their efforts at combating drought. Last month the Governor signed legislation to put a water bond before voters after winning bipartisan approval in the Legislature.
Governor Brown has called on all Californians to reduce their water use
by 20 percent and prevent water waste - visit SaveOurWater.com to find
out how everyone can do their part and visit Drought.CA.Gov to learn
more about how California is dealing with the effects of the drought.