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Environmental Law. CARCD Annual Meeting & Conference November 13, 2014 PRESENTED BY Steve Anderson Partner Key Components of California Groundwater Legislation.

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Presentation on theme: "Environmental Law. CARCD Annual Meeting & Conference November 13, 2014 PRESENTED BY Steve Anderson Partner Key Components of California Groundwater Legislation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Environmental Law

2 CARCD Annual Meeting & Conference November 13, 2014 PRESENTED BY Steve Anderson Partner Key Components of California Groundwater Legislation & Water Bond ©2014 Best Best & Krieger LLP

3 Environmental Law Groundwater Legislation On September 16, 2014, Gov. Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (Act). Purposes of the Act:  Statewide management of groundwater;  Avoid “undesirable results,” e.g., chronic lowering of water levels, reduction in storage capacity, seawater intrusion, degraded water quality, land subsidence, and surface water depletions.  Provide for the local management of basins; State will step in if locals refuse to act.

4 Environmental Law Basin Prioritization By January 31, 2015, DWR will establish the initial priority—high, medium, low, or very low—for each groundwater basin in the state. Only high and medium priority basins will be subject to sustainable groundwater management mandates. Adjudicated basins are exempt.

5 Environmental Law Basin Prioritizatio

6 Environmental Law Groundwater Sustainability Agencies High and medium priority basins must be governed by GSA’s by June 30, Local agencies may form GSAs after a public hearing. Multiple local agencies can form a single GSA.  All sustainability agencies must formally coordinate their planning.  The entire basin must be covered by an agency - no dead zones. Counties are the default agency in unmanaged areas, but they may decline that role.

7 Environmental Law Groundwater Sustainability Agencies GSA must provide annual groundwater reports to DWR that include elevation data, extraction data, surface water availability for groundwater recharge or in-lieu use, total water use, and changes in groundwater storage. GSAs must:  Consider the interests of all beneficial uses and users of groundwater;  Establish and maintain a list of persons interested in receiving notices regarding plan preparation, meeting announcements, and availability of draft plans, etc.

8 Environmental Law GSAs have authority to: Adopt rules, regulations, ordinances, and resolutions Impose fees and levy groundwater charges Require registration of and impose requirements on wells and other groundwater extraction facilities Require measurements of every well Acquire and dispose of real and personal property, including water rights

9 Environmental Law GSAs have authority to: Transport, reclaim, purify, desalinate, treat, or otherwise manage and control polluted water, wastewater, or other waters for subsequent use Validate groundwater sustainability plans; Control groundwater extractions by regulating extractions of groundwater pumpers Authorize transfers of groundwater extraction within their boundaries

10 Environmental Law Groundwater Sustainability Plans DWR will review all GSPs  Single plan by one agency or multiple agencies,  Multiple plans by multiple agencies GSPs for high and medium priority basins must be adopted by January 31, 2022 or by January 31, 2020 if a basin is subject to critical conditions of overdraft.

11 Environmental Law Contents of GSPs GSPs plan must include:  Long-term planning, objectives, and goals to achieve basin sustainability within 20 years;  Technical information regarding the basin;  Components for monitoring and management of groundwater levels, groundwater quality degradation, inelastic land surface subsidence, and changes in surface flow and surface water quality that directly affect groundwater levels or quality;  Mitigation of overdraft;  Recharge areas and basin replenishment.

12 Environmental Law Alternatives to GSPs Local agencies may use an alternative to GSP if:  A groundwater management plan covers the basin;  The basin is managed under an adjudication; or  The basin has operated within sustainable yield for the past 10 years. Alternative plans due by January 1, DWR will review alternative plans. The State Water Resources Control Board may also impose yearly reporting requirements on local agencies.

13 Environmental Law Should My Agency be a Groundwater Sustainability Agency?? Being a member of a joint groundwater sustainability agency will:  Give your RCD a voice in the management of local groundwater basins;  Raise the profile of your agency; and  Increase the likelihood of joint projects, including those eligible for state grant funding.

14 Environmental Law Important Deadlines January 31, 2015DWR sets initial priority for groundwater basins (§ ) January 1, 2016DWR adopts regulations on criteria for modifying groundwater basin boundaries. (§ , subd. (b).) April 1, 2016First reports due from exempt adjudicated basins (§ , subd. (f).) June 1, 2016DWR adopts regulations for evaluating groundwater sustainability plans and alternatives, for the implementation of groundwater sustainability plans, and for coordination agreements. (§ ) January 1, 2017Local agency submission for DWR approval of an alternative to a groundwater sustainability plan if the local agency believes the alternative satisfies the objectives of the Act. (§ )

15 Environmental Law Important Deadlines June 30, 2017A local agency of collection of local agencies elects to be a sustainability agency for a basin. (§ , subd. (a)(1).) July 1, 2017If there is an area within a basin that is not within the management area of any groundwater sustainability agency, and the county does not assume responsibility, extractions must be reported to the State Water Board. (§§ 5202, subd. (a)(2), 10724, subd. (b).) January 31, 2020Groundwater sustainability plans required for medium- and high- priority basins that are in critical overdraft. (§§ , , subd. (a)(2).) January 31, 2022Groundwater sustainability plans required for medium- and high- priority basins that are not in critical overdraft. (§§ , , subd. (a)(4).) 20 years after plan adoption Groundwater sustainability plans achieve the sustainability goal. (§ , subd. (b).)

16 Environmental Law Water Bond

17 Environmental Law Thank you for attending. Steve Anderson Partner Best Best & Krieger LLP 3390 University Avenue 5th Floor Riverside CA, Phone: (951) Website:


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