Here’s what the legislators have to say about the Senate’s passage of groundwater legislation:
From Senator Tom Berryhill:
“It took us more than 10 years to come up with a water bond that works for all of California. To tell the people of California “we got it covered” after one week is ridiculous and won’t work. There are more than 500 water basins, agriculture, urban areas and mountain communities in California and they all have different issues.
One size does NOT fit all. This bill was not a collaborative effort; it does not address the needs of competing interests. Assemblyman Dickenson’s legislation, while well intentioned, is an approach to water that does not take into account the needs of agriculture; it does not take into account the needs of mountain communities. Just weeks ago we passed a bipartisan water bond which proves we can all work together to do what’s best for all of California. Now we have urban legislators reverting to the old play book of big cities ignoring the needs of rural California. This is a classic case of urban legislators telling everyone else what is best. It’s just bad policy.”
From Senator Jean Fuller:
“New layers of bureaucracy, additional fees, and the disruption of existing water rights are not the answer to effective management of our local underground water reserves. Groundwater management is better administered at the local level by the agencies and governments directly responsible to their customers and constituents.
“In order to ensure healthy groundwater systems, significant above-ground storage and more consistent state and federal water deliveries are required.
“We need to protect our groundwater resources. The solution to this problem is new storage and reliable supply of surface water to supplement groundwater water recharge during the wet season and reduce groundwater dependence during the dry season.”
AB 1739 is 1 of 2 bills that are part of a legislative initiative that will significantly change California water policy.
From Senator Fran Pavley:
“The California Senate voted 26-11 to approve AB 1739 (Dickinson), part of bill package by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) and Assemblymember Dickinson, to sustainably manage California’s groundwater for the first time. The bipartisan vote also garnered support from Legislators throughout the state from Northern and Southern California districts.
“Groundwater is a critical source of fresh water for families, farmers and businesses, and this legislation will help ensure that it will still be available for future generations,” Senator Pavley said.
Groundwater makes up about 40 percent of California’s water in normal years and up to 60 percent during droughts. Three of four Californians rely on groundwater for at least a portion of their drinking water.
Unlike surface water from lakes, rivers and streams, California’s groundwater is not systematically managed or regulated. Groundwater is being pumped faster than it can be replenished, a condition known as “overdraft” that causes sinking land (“subsidence”), damage to infrastructure, increased costs for farmers and residents who have to drill deeper wells, water contamination, impairment of underground water storage and other problems.
Senate Bill 1168 (Pavley), to be taken up in the Assembly tomorrow, and AB 1739 (Dickinson) would create a framework for local and regional groundwater management providing for the establishment of local and regional groundwater sustainability agencies throughout the state. The bills focus on high priority basins which are in the most critical overdraft.
“This bill package provides tools to manage groundwater in the interest of all water users, recognizing that this is best done at the local level,” Senator Pavley said.”
From Senator Andy Vidak:
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