Who's Winging it on Groundwater?

Minnesota spends a lot of time agonizing over our water policy and ways to continually make it better.  Our 2013 report on groundwater policy is one such example. It’s not until one sees that California has had next-to-nothing in the way of policies to manage groundwater reserves that you realize there are regions out there just winging it.

It has taken an epic drought with easily visible evidence of dry reservoirs for people in California to seriously consider doing something. (Anyone seen White Bear Lake lately?) Even so, there is opposition as wells are being drilled in record numbers and groundwater levels continue to plummet.  POLITICO has the story:

California farmers are calling on Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to veto a package of groundwater bills passed by the state legislature in the waning hours of its latest session, which officially ended Sunday. The bills (AB 1739, SB 1168 and SB 1319) effectively seek – for the first time – to regulate the pumping of groundwater by farmers and municipalities and passed despite considerable concerns from lawmakers representing big agriculture districts. The bills would require, among other things, that basins and aquifers meet certain planning horizons and objectives in addition to putting regulatory requirements on farmers for their groundwater use.

Should the legislation be signed by the governor, it would be the “most drastic change in California water law in 101 years,” Rich Matteis, administrator of the California Farm Bureau Federation. “This would be a massive new regulatory program that will be very expensive – we are talking billions” of dollars a year to the government.

“We think it’s overreach and we are going to ask for a veto,” Matteis says. More from the state farm bureau on the bills here: http://bit.ly/1tUA0p0. More on the end of the California Legislative Session available here: http://bit.ly/1qP6JLe