State lawmakers are pushing a historic shift in regulating groundwater. California remains one of the last states in the West with a pump-as-you-please policy, but that could change with a bill passed yesterday by the state Senate. It would require some local governments to start managing wells and authorizes the state to step in under certain situations if they don't.
Republicans object to the legislation, and warn about state and local "water police." There are also concerns about the bill being pushed through during the final days of the legislative session.
"Groundwater is a private property right, and now the state is going to usurp that right. This legislation will drastically change the way Californians deal with groundwater, and yet, the public has not been included in the deliberation,” Senator Jim Nielsen said.
Democratic Senator Fran Pavley says over-pumping not only dimishes our supply, but has led to land subsidence. 40 percent of California’s water comes from groundwater, yet the state has never had a plan to manage it.