On Tuesday, Nov. 17th, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of applying for state funding to develop an interim groundwater ordinance. This is a huge step forwards for a region where thousands of residents lack running water due to excessive groundwater pumping. After four years of drought, we need to take local action now to mitigate impacts and protect our most vulnerable residents.
Since January 2014, Fresno County has issued over 2,800 well drilling permits with few restrictions despite the adverse impacts of these new wells on rural residents in our fourth year of severe drought. With thousands of dry household wells in the San Joaquin Valley, our counties need to do a better job monitoring well drilling and addressing the negative impacts of virtually unrestricted groundwater pumping. At the Board of Supervisors meeting, Kristin Dobbin of the Community Water Center, Leticia Corona of Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, and Austin Hall of the Fresno Regional Partnership attended to testify in support of applying for state funding to develop an interim groundwater ordinance.
By voting to include funding for the development of a groundwater ordinance, the Board of Supervisors took a huge step forward towards protecting our most vulnerable residents and setting the County on the path towards sustainable groundwater management, as mandated by the new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Once the funding application is approved, our next step will be to work with Fresno County to ensure the interim groundwater ordinance adequately protects our valuable groundwater resources and prioritizes the human right to water.