FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 4, 2014
Omar Carrillo, Policy Analyst, 916-706-3346 (office), 619-829-3553 (cell), or Omar.Carrillo@CommunityWaterCenter.org
California Passes Historic Groundwater Legislation
Community Water Center urges Governor Brown to sign legislation for inclusive, sustainable groundwater management
Sacramento – On Friday, the California Legislature passed an historic trio of bills to protect state groundwater supplies.
The Community Water Center (CWC) advocated for Assembly Bill 1739 (Dickinson), Senate Bill 1168 (Pavley), and Senate Bill 1319 (Pavley), because this legislation provides an opportunity for sustainable groundwater regulation that would benefit all users.
“Safe, clean, and affordable drinking water is a human right,” said Laurel Firestone, CWC Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director. “The passage of this package of bills creates real, substantive change in the State’s ability to address the needs of communities that lack safe drinking water to meet their basic needs.”
As the last state in the West without groundwater regulation, Californians have been depleting groundwater supplies for decades. Unmeasured and uncontrolled pumping has led to dry wells, drinking water pollution, and land subsidence.
The legislation requires regionally controlled groundwater management agencies to develop groundwater sustainability plans. The bills require transparency and include small and disadvantaged communities in the planning and management process. If the regional agencies fail to demonstrate adequate, measurable progress within 20 years, the state is authorized to intervene.
The bills faced opposition from agricultural interests and key legislative members, but amendments and new language from the Administration led to the bills’ passage on the last day of the legislative session.
"Change is hard, but necessary,” said Jesus Quevedo, AGUA member and Cutler resident. “Even though our [Central] Valley representatives did not vote in favor, I am glad outside Valley representatives do understand this need. I am happy and also encouraged to continue to educate our Valley representatives."
The Community Water Center urges Governor Brown to sign this historic legislation.