BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”





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          |                                                                 |
          |         SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES AND WATER         |
          |                   Senator Fran Pavley, Chair                    |
          |                    2011-2012 Regular Session                    |
          |                                                                 |
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          BILL NO: AB 359                    HEARING DATE: June 28, 2011
          AUTHOR: Huffman                    URGENCY: No
          VERSION: May 27, 2011              CONSULTANT: Dennis O'Connor
          DUAL REFERRAL: No                  FISCAL: Yes
          SUBJECT: Groundwater Management Plans
          
          BACKGROUND AND EXISTING LAW
          Under existing law, local agencies may, but are not required, to 
          adopt groundwater management plans.  Such plans are sometimes 
          known as "AB 3030 Plans."

          If a local agency wishes to receive state funds administered by 
          the Department of Water Resources (DWR) for groundwater projects 
          or for other projects that directly affect groundwater levels or 
          quality, the local agency must have an AB 3030 plan or 
          equivalent groundwater management plan meets specific 
          requirements.  These requirements are sometimes known as "SB 
          1938 requirements."  To meet the SB 1938 requirements, a local 
          agency must:
           Prepare and implement a groundwater management plan that 
            includes basin management objectives for the groundwater basin 
            that is subject to the plan.  The plan must include components 
            relating to the monitoring and management of groundwater 
            levels, groundwater quality degradation, inelastic land 
            surface subsidence, and changes in surface flow and surface 
            water quality that directly affect groundwater levels or 
            quality or are caused by groundwater pumping in the basin.
           Prepare a plan that enables the local agency to work 
            cooperatively with other public entities whose service area or 
            boundary overlies the groundwater basin.
           Prepare a map that details the area of the groundwater basin 
            and the area of the local agency that will be subject to the 
            plan, as well as the boundaries of other local agencies that 
            overlie the basin in which the agency is developing a 
            groundwater management plan.
           Adopt monitoring protocols that are designed to detect changes 
            in groundwater levels, groundwater quality, inelastic surface 
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            subsidence for basins for which subsidence has been identified 
            as a potential problem, and flow and quality of surface water 
            that directly affect groundwater levels or quality or are 
            caused by groundwater pumping in the basin.  The monitoring 
            protocols must be designed to generate information that 
            promotes efficient and effective groundwater management.
           For areas outside delineated groundwater basins, local 
            agencies are required to prepare groundwater management plans 
            using use geologic and hydrologic principles appropriate to 
            those areas.

          A local agency with an existing plan that meets the SB 1938 
          requirements, or a local agency that completes an upgrade of its 
          plan to meet those requirements within one year of applying for 
          funds, are be given priority for funding by DWR over local 
          agencies that are in the process of developing a groundwater 
          management plan.  DWR is required to withhold funds from the 
          project until the upgrade of the groundwater management plan is 
          complete.
          PROPOSED LAW
          This bill would change provisions governing both AB 3030 plans 
          and the SB 1938 requirements.  

          Specifically, this bill would change the process for developing 
          and adopting AB 3030 plans by adding the following requirements:

           Local agencies would be required to provide DWR with a copy of 
            their resolution of intent to adopt a groundwater management 
            plan within 30 days of the date of adoption.  
           Local agencies would be required to allow any person or entity 
            to request to be placed on a list to receive notices regarding 
            plan preparation and copies of draft documents.
           Local agencies would be required to provide any interested 
            person or entity with a copy of the proposed groundwater 
            management plan and map identifying recharge areas for the 
            cost of reproduction.  
           Local agencies would be required to notify interested persons 
            of the date, time, and place of the hearing to determine 
            whether to adopt the 
           Failure to maintain a contact list or provide interested 
            persons with the required information would not invalidate the 
            adoption of a groundwater management plan.
           DWR would be required to post information on its internet site 
            information regarding local agencies that have jurisdiction to 
            develop groundwater management plans and any maps developed as 
            a part of a groundwater management plan.

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          This bill would also add the following elements to the SB 1938 
          requirements:

           The groundwater management plan must include a map identifying 
            the recharge areas for the groundwater basin.  Recharge areas 
            are defined as areas that substantially contribute to the 
            replenishment of the groundwater basin. 
           The local agency must provide the map to the appropriate local 
            planning agencies after adoption of the groundwater management 
            plan.
           The local agency must notify organizations representing 
            landowners within the recharge areas that it has provided maps 
            to the local planning agencies. At a minimum, the local agency 
            must notify the following organizations:
             o    The California Farm Bureau Federation
             o    The Western Growers Association
             o    The California Cattlemen's Association, and 
             o    The California Chamber of Commerce.
           The bill would allow local agencies to request state funds to 
            map groundwater recharge areas to the extent that the request 
            is consistent with eligibility requirements for those funds.

          The bill would also make technical changes regarding AB 3030 
          plans and SB 1938 requirements.

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT
          The author quotes the California Department of Water Resources' 
          California Groundwater, Bulletin 118, issued in 2003:  

               "Groundwater recharge areas, and the human activities that 
               can render them unusable, are an example of the need to 
               coordinate land use activities to protect both groundwater 
               quality and quantity. Protection of recharge areas, whether 
               natural or man-made, is necessary if the quantity and 
               quality of groundwater in the aquifer are to be 
               maintained."

          According to the author, "There is currently no requirement for 
          local agencies to identify and map groundwater recharge areas.  
          Without this information the ability to effectively manage a 
          groundwater basin is seriously limited."

          "AB 359 promotes the management and protection of the state's 
          groundwater supplies by requiring, as a condition of receiving a 
          state grant or loan, local water agencies to map the recharge 
          areas that substantially contribute to the replenishment of the 
          groundwater basin, and submit this information to local planning 
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          agencies. "

          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION: None Received

          COMMENTS 
           Bulletin 118.   The state groundwater report commonly known as 
          Bulletin 118 has a long and important history in California.  
          The Bulletin 118 series was preceded by Water Quality 
          Investigations Report No. 3, Ground Water Basins in California, 
          published in 1952 by the Department of Public Works, Division of 
          Water Resources (the predecessor of DWR).  The Bulletin 118 
          series is widely acknowledged as the source of information on 
          California's groundwater resources.

          The most recent update of Bulletin 118 made 7 major findings.  
          The 7th finding was:
            Land use decisions affecting recharge areas can reduce the 
            amount of groundwater in storage and degrade the quality of 
            that groundwater.
                 In many basins, little is known about the location of 
               recharge areas and their effectiveness.
                 Protection and preservation of recharge areas are seldom 
               considered in land use decisions.
                 If recharge areas are altered by paving, channel lining, 
               or other land use changes, available groundwater will be 
               reduced.
                 Potentially contaminating activities can degrade the 
               quality of groundwater and require wellhead treatment or 
               aquifer remediation before use.
                 There is no coordinated effort to inform the public that 
               recharge areas should be protected against contamination 
               and preserved so that they function effectively.

           Naming Names  .  While supportive of the broad policy of the bill, 
          a number of people have raised significant concerns about the 
          bill calling out for notification of specific entities.  Clean 
          Water Action's comments are typical.  "Broad public notice of 
          these mapping efforts is key, and recent amendments requiring 
          local landowners to be notified of the mapping efforts make 
          sense.  However, the language requiring specific notification of 
          the California Farm Bureau Federation, Chamber of Commerce, 
          Western Growers Association and California Cattleman's 
          Association seems either too narrow ›or] excessive.  If 
          organizations are to be named, local watershed and conservation 
          groups should be added to the list, as well as statewide 
          organizations, such as Clean Water Action, that have a specific 
          interest in protecting groundwater supplies, or the Trust for 
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          Public Land, which is a large statewide property owner.  
          Conversely, specific organizations could be removed, citing 
          current notice requirements for planning agencies."
           
          Could Benefit From Additional Polishing.   While the bill has 
          been amended only twice, the newer provisions of the bill would 
          benefit from additional refining and some restructuring.  For 
          example: 

           Definitions - the bill refers to "any person or entity," yet 
            the definition of person in the water code includes not just 
            persons, but firms, associations, organizations, etc.
           Encroachment - as drafted, the bill could be interpreted to 
            allow local agencies to manage groundwater planning within the 
            service area of another local agency.
           Revisions - presumably, the author's intent is that current 
            groundwater management plans would be revised to include the 
            new mapping provisions.  Yet current law does not prescribe 
            how such revisions should be made.
           Public Notice - in addition to the concerns about naming 
            names, the public notice provisions are inconsistent across 
            the entire groundwater management plan development process, 
            and the consequences for failing to follow the public notice 
            provisions of this bill could be refined.

          Amendments to address these issues are reflected in the attached 
          mock-up.

           Related Bills.   This bill is similar to last sessions AB 2304 
          (Huffman).  The Governor vetoed that bill because he was 
          "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."  Neither that bill 
          nor this bill includes any language regarding rezoning lands to 
          be used for a groundwater recharge area.

          SUGGESTED AMENDMENTS:  See attached mock-up

          SUPPORT
          California Groundwater Coalition (Co-sponsor)
          Groundwater Resources Association (Co-sponsor)
          American Society of Civil Engineers
          California Coastkeeper Alliance
          California Groundwater Coalition
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          California Trout
          Clean Water Action (and amend)
          Community Water Center
          East Bay Municipal Utility District
          Inland Empire Utilities Agency
          Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
          Natural Resources Defense Council
          Northern California Water Association
          Planning and Conservation League
          Sierra Club California
          The Nature Conservancy
          Three Valleys Municipal Water District
          Trout Unlimited
          Water Replenishment District of Southern California
          Private Citizens (1)

          OPPOSITION
          None Received





























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