BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”



                                                                  AB 359
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:  April 27, 2011

                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT
                                Cameron Smyth, Chair
                    AB 359 (Huffman) - As Amended:  April 11, 2011
           
          SUBJECT  :  Groundwater management plans. 

           SUMMARY  :  Adds additional notification and mapping requirements 
          when a local agency is drafting a groundwater management plan.  
          Specifically,  this bill:
             
          1)Requires a local agency that develops a groundwater management 
            plan and drafts a resolution to adopt a plan, to provide a 
            copy of a resolution of intention to the Department of Water 
            Resources (DWR) within 30 days of the date of adoption.

          2)Requires the local agency, upon written request, to provide a 
            copy of the proposed groundwater management plan to an 
            interested person and to notify those interested persons at 
            least 30 days prior to the commencement of the second hearing 
            to determine whether to adopt the plan.

          3)Requires DWR to post on its Internet Web site the information 
            DWR possesses regarding the local agencies that have 
            jurisdiction to develop groundwater management plans and maps, 
            including agencies who have submitted resolutions of intention 
            to adopt groundwater management plans or agencies that have 
            opted to assume groundwater basin level monitoring functions.

          4)Specifies that the groundwater projects to which these 
            requirements apply include projects that are part of an 
            integrated regional water management program or plan.

          5)Requires, commencing January 1, 2013, that a groundwater 
            management plan include a map identifying recharge areas, as 
            defined, for the groundwater basin and, after adoption of the 
            groundwater management plan, provide the map to local planning 
            agencies.

          6)Allows a local agency to request state funds to map 
            groundwater recharge areas if eligible funding is available.
           
          EXISTING LAW  :









                                                                  AB 359
                                                                  Page  2

          1)Requires, prior to legislative body to adopting or 
            substantially amending a general plan, the planning agency to 
            submit copies of such plans to a public water system, as 
            defined, with 3,000 or more service connections, that serves 
            water to customers within the area covered by the proposal. 

          2)Provides that the public water system shall have at least 45 
            days to comment on the proposed plan and to provide the 
            planning agency with specified information.

          3)Requires a public water system to provide a planning agency 
            with the following information, as is appropriate and 
            relevant:

             a)   The current version of its urban water management;

             b)   The current version of its capital improvement program 
               or plan;

             c)   A description of the source or sources of the total 
               water supply currently available to the water supplier by 
               water right or contract, taking into account historical 
               data concerning wet, normal, and dry runoff years;

             d)   A description of the quantity of surface water that was 
               purveyed by the water supplier in each of the previous five 
               years;

             e)   A description of the quantity of groundwater that was 
               purveyed by the water supplier in each of the previous five 
               years;

             f)   A description of all proposed additional sources of 
               water supplies for the water supplier, including the 
               estimated dates by which these additional sources should be 
               available and the quantities of additional water supplies 
               that are being proposed;

             g)   A description of the total number of customers currently 
               served by the water supplier, 
             as identified by the following categories and by the amount 
               of water served to each category:

               i)     Agricultural users;









                                                                  AB 359
                                                                  Page  3

               ii)    Commercial users;

               iii)   Industrial users; and, 

               iv)    Residential users;

             h)   Quantification of the expected reduction in total water 
               demand, identified by each customer category, associated 
               with future implementation of water use reduction measures 
               identified in the water supplier's urban water management 
               plan; and,

             i)   Any additional information that is relevant to 
               determining the adequacy of existing and planned future 
               water supplies to meet existing and planned future demands 
               on these water supplies.

          4)Encourages local agencies to work cooperatively to manage 
            groundwater resources within their jurisdictions and, if not 
            otherwise required by law, to voluntarily adopt groundwater 
            management plans.

          5)Requires a groundwater plan to contain components related to 
            funding, management, and monitoring in order for a local 
            agency to be eligible for groundwater project funds 
            administered by the Department of Water Resources (DWR).

          6)Allows a groundwater plan to voluntarily contain additional 
            listed components.

          7)Requires all of the groundwater basins identified in DWR's 
            Bulletin 118 to be regularly and systematically monitored and 
            the information to be readily and widely available.

          8)Makes entities managing groundwater, including local agencies 
            that are monitoring groundwater pursuant to a groundwater 
            management plan, eligible for state water grants and loans.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  None

           COMMENTS  :   

          1)According to the author's office, groundwater is one of 
            California's most important natural resources and our reliance 
            on it continues to grow.  Periodically, DWR produces a report 








                                                                  AB 359
                                                                  Page  4

            on California's groundwater entitled Bulletin 118.  In the 
            most recent version of Bulletin 118, produced in 2003, 
            California was not only the single largest user of groundwater 
            in the nation, extracting 14.5 million acre-feet annually, but 
            that use represented 20% of all the groundwater extracted in 
            the entire United States.  Protecting the quality, quantity, 
            and sustainability of groundwater is critical.  Bulletin 118 
            estimated that 43% of all Californians obtain their drinking 
            water from groundwater.  Yet, despite California's heavy 
            reliance on groundwater, basic information for many of the 
            groundwater basins is lacking.

            Bulletin 118 highlighted the need for water managers and local 
            land use planners to identify groundwater recharge areas and 
            protect them from paving and contamination in order to ensure 
            they could continue to replenish high quality groundwater.

          2)According to the author's office, the purpose of AB 359 is to 
            increase the protection of groundwater recharge areas in order 
            to better manage and protect our groundwater supplies. Without 
            this information the ability to effectively protect and manage 
            a groundwater basin is seriously limited.

          3)This measure is almost identical to AB 2304 (Huffman, 2009) 
            that was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.  In his veto 
            message the Governor stated "I am concerned about the impact 
            this bill could have on privately-owned properties, both those 
            currently used as recharge areas and those that might be used 
            in the future.  Once mapped and those maps are provided to 
            local governments, the bill intends that these lands will be 
            rezoned to restrict their use to being a groundwater recharge 
            area.  Property law in California already allows landowners 
            and water districts to work outside of the watchful eye of 
            government and come to a private agreement about how they can 
            manage both their land and water resources. Although not 
            perfect, maintaining this current system allows them to work 
            together to develop solutions.  An area that serves as a 
            recharge basin today probably isn't the only place that can be 
            used to recharge a groundwater basin.  And areas that are 
            currently used for this purpose might be better put to some 
            other use in the future.  Unfortunately, this bill would 
            eliminate this type of flexibility and negotiation between a 
            landowner and a water district."

          4)Support arguments:  Supporters of this bill feel it takes 








                                                                  AB 359
                                                                  Page  5

            modest but important steps and will "provide for increased 
            coordination and consultation between California's water 
            supply agencies and land use approval agencies and the 
            protection of recharge areas in California's groundwater 
            basins."  Supporters also point out that it contains improved 
            public notice requirements that will better enable local 
            community members to provide input in the groundwater 
            management plan process.

            Opposition arguments:  The opposition states that their 
            underlying concern is "the impact this bill could have on 
            privately-owned properties and farming practices, both those 
            currently used as recharge areas and those that might be used 
            in the future.  Once mapped and those maps are provided to 
            local governments, it is a natural conclusion that these lands 
            will be rezoned to restrict their use.  Once these new 
            resource areas are identified, opposition is concerned that a 
            landowner will not be formally notified that the land has been 
            mapped as an area that substantially contributes to 
            groundwater recharge."

          5)This bill was heard by the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee 
            on March 22, 2011, where it passed with a 7-0 vote.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          CA Groundwater Coalition ›SPONSOR]
          Planning and Conservation League
          Sierra Club CA
          Three Valleys Municipal Water District

           Opposition 
           
          CA Chamber of Commerce (unless amended)
          CA Cattlemen's Association (unless amended)
          CA Farm Bureau Federation (unless amended)
          Western Growers Association (unless amended)

           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Katie Kolitsos / L. GOV. / (916) 
          319-3958 










                                                                  AB 359
                                                                  Page  6