Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

California’s newer groundwater regulatory structure, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (“SGMA”), was signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on September 16, 2014. The State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) is the enforcement agency for SGMA. SGMA requires the SWRCB to establish a schedule of fees sufficient to recover the costs incurred by

With Senate Bill 1262 (“SB 1262”), California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”) has become firmly rooted into the State’s water supply planning laws. Specifically, SB 1262 amends the Water Supply Assessment statute (commonly referred to as “SB 610”) and the Written Verification statute (commonly referred to as “SB 221”).

Background – SB 610 & SB 221

As way of background, SB 610 and SB 221 operate to help cities and counties make informed land use decisions by providing the local governments with information on water supply availability. SB 610 and SB 221 are companion laws that promote more collaborative planning between local water suppliers and cities and counties.  Both statutes require detailed information regarding water availability to be provided to the city and county decision-makers prior to approval of specified large development projects.

Under SB 610, Water Supply Assessments must be provided to local governments for certain projects subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). The Water Supply Assessment must analyze whether projected water supplies are sufficient to meet the projected water demand of the proposed development project.  Similarly, under SB 221, approval by a city or county of certain subdivisions requires an affirmative Written Verification of sufficient water supply.
Continue Reading With SB 1262, SGMA Becomes Further Entrenched in California’s Water Supply Planning Laws

California has moved one step closer to implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”), California’s landmark groundwater legislation. On Wednesday, May 18, the California Water Commission adopted a set of regulations that will govern the creation of groundwater sustainability plans (“GSPs”) by local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (“GSAs”). The emergency regulations, developed by the Department of Water Resources (“DWR”), take effect in June.

The new regulations will have some real impacts on GSAs and their implementation of SGMA. The most significant requirements include:
Continue Reading New Regulations for California Groundwater Management

Earlier this week, environmental consultant Susanne Heim of Panorama Environmental and Stoel Rives water lawyer Wes Miliband hosted the second part of the California Water Webinar series about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

In this webinar, Susanne and Wes covered implications of the recently adopted emergency regulations to amend groundwater basin boundaries, as well

October 11, 2015, marked the deadline by which Governor Brown had to act on legislation submitted to him by the legislature in September. In addition to those bills the Governor signed, we note below legislation that has been identified as two-year legislation. Stoel Rives’ Water Law Team has been monitoring water-related legislation, especially given California’s historic drought. We will continue to monitor bills identified as two-year bills, as well as any bills introduced in the second half of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session. We will provide periodic updates as these bills move through the legislative process. Below is the status and summary of some of the bills Stoel Rives is monitoring.

Supply and Groundwater

AB-307 (Mathis): Graywater: groundwater recharge
STATUS: Currently identified as a two-year bill.
If passed by the legislature and signed into law, AB-307 would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to explicitly permit the usage of residential, commercial and industrial graywater for the recharge of a groundwater basin or aquifer.

AB-453 (Bigelow): Groundwater Management
STATUS: Currently identified as a two-year bill and pending in the Senate.
If passed by the legislature and chaptered, this bill would authorize, until a groundwater sustainability plan is adopted, a local agency to amend an existing groundwater management plan in furtherance of, and consistent with, the groundwater management plan’s objectives.

AB-647 (Eggman): Beneficial use: storing of water underground
STATUS: Currently identified as a two-year bill and pending in the Senate.
If signed into law, this bill would:

  • declare that the storing of water underground constitutes a beneficial use of water if the diverted water is used while it is in underground storage for specified purposes;
  • state the intent of the Legislature that this storage of water underground not injure any legal user of the water involved; and,
  • provide that the period for the reversion of a water right does not include any period when the water is being used in the aquifer or storage area or is being held in storage for later application to beneficial use, as prescribed.

Continue Reading Update on California Water Legislation Regarding Groundwater, Recycled Water and More