BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 359
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          Date of Hearing:   May 11, 2011

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                Felipe Fuentes, Chair

                   AB 359 (Huffman) - As Amended:  April 11, 2011 

          Policy Committee:                              Water, Parks and 
          Wildlife     Vote:                            7-0
                        Local Government                      5-3

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program: 
          No     Reimbursable:              No

          SUMMARY  

          This bill requires groundwater management plans to include a map 
          of groundwater recharge areas.  Specifically, this bill:

          1)Requires, commencing January 1, 2013, a local agency that 
            provides water service that is preparing a groundwater 
            management plan to include a map identifying the recharge 
            areas for the groundwater basin

          2) Requires the local water agency to provide the map to local 
            planning agencies after it adopts the groundwater management 
            plan.

          3)Requires DWR to post on its website information regarding the 
            local water agencies that have jurisdiction to develop 
            groundwater management plans and maps.

          4)Requires a local water agency that adopts a resolution of 
            intent to draft a groundwater management plan to provide a 
            copy of the resolution to DWR within 30 days of the adoption 
            and to provide interested persons with copies of proposed 
            plans and maps.

          5)Authorizes a local water agency to request state funds to map 
            groundwater recharge areas to the extent the request is 
            consistent with eligibility requirements for the funds.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          1)Minor, absorbable costs to DWR to accepts copies of 








                                                                  AB 359
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            resolutions of intent, post information online and review 
            funding requests.

          2)Cost pressure of an unknown amount, potentially in the 
            millions of dollars, to DWR or other state agencies to fund an 
            increased number of local water agency efforts to map 
            groundwater recharge areas.  (Bond funds or special funds.)\

            (Nothing in current law prevents a local water agency from 
            requesting state funds to map groundwater recharge areas.  In 
            fact, DWR's Local Groundwater Assistance Program (authorized 
            by AB 303 (Thomson, Chapter 708, Statutes of 2000) makes 
            grants to assist local agencies to manage groundwater.  It is 
            therefore reasonable to expect an increase in applicants for 
            state funding to pay for groundwater recharge area mapping as 
            a result of this bill.  DWR indicates program fund has about 
            $5 million in bond proceeds remaining and likely would be able 
            to fund all eligible requests.)

           COMMENTS  

           1)Rationale.  The author contends it is critical to attain, 
            through mapping of groundwater recharge areas, and make 
            available information on groundwater, given the state's heavy 
            reliance on this natural resource.

           2)Background.   According to DWR's 2003 update of its Bulletin 
            118, groundwater provides about 30% of California's water 
            supply in an average year, though, in some years on some 
            locations, groundwater accounts for more than half of water 
            supply.  DWR estimates that extraction of groundwater 
            outstrips recharge by between 1 million and 2 million 
            acre-feet annually.  DWR also notes that, in many basins, 
            little is known about the location of recharge areas and their 
            effectiveness and that local land use planning agencies rarely 
            consider protection and preservation of recharge areas.

           3)Related Legislation.   This bill is nearly identical to AB 2304 
            (Huffman, 2010), which was not heard by this committee but 
            passed the Assembly 48-28 and the Senate 22-12.  The governor 
            vetoed the bill, citing concerns about the effect the bill 
            might have on private properties as a result of land use 
            decisions made in response to groundwater recharge mapping 
            data.
                








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            4)Supporters  of this bill include several conservation and 
            environmental organizations, who contend the bill will allow 
            better management of groundwater by increasing knowledge about 
            groundwater recharge areas.

           5)Opponents  include the California Chamber of Commerce and a 
            number of agricultural organizations, who claim the mapping 
            required by the bill will lead to rezoning of land uses in 
            ways that will negatively affect current land uses.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Jay Dickenson / APPR. / (916) 319-2081