BILL ANALYSIS Ó Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair AB 359 (Huffman) Hearing Date: 08/25/2011 Amended: 06/30/2011 Consultant: Brendan McCarthy Policy Vote: NR&W 5-2 _________________________________________________________________ ____ BILL SUMMARY: AB 359 places additional requirements on local water agencies that opt to develop groundwater management plans. The bill also requires the Department of Water Resources to make related information available on the internet. _________________________________________________________________ ____ Fiscal Impact (in thousands) Major Provisions 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 Fund Publishing information Minor and absorbable General Cost pressure on bond Unknown cost pressures, potentiallyBond * funds in the millions * Proposition 84. _________________________________________________________________ ____ STAFF COMMENTS: SUSPENSE FILE. Under current law, local water agencies are allowed, but not required, to develop groundwater management plans. If a local agency wishes to receive funds from the Department of Water Resources (for example, Proposition 84 bond funds) for projects that impact groundwater, the agency must have a groundwater management plan that meets certain criteria (or be developing such a plan). AB 359 adds additional criteria to the local groundwater management plans. Specifically, the bill requires groundwater management plans to include a map that specifies areas for groundwater recharge. A local agency would be required to provide the map of groundwater recharge areas to local planning agencies, once the groundwater management plan was adopted. The bill requires local agencies that are preparing groundwater management plans to make certain information about the proposed AB 359 (Huffman) Page 1 plan available to the public. The bill requires the Department of Water Resources to post information on its website regarding groundwater management plans. The bill allows local agencies to request state funds for the mapping of groundwater recharge areas, to the extent that such a request is consistent with existing eligibility requirements for those funds. The Department indicates that the cost to post information to the internet regarding local groundwater plans is minor and absorbable. The bill provides that local agencies may request state funds for mapping groundwater recharge areas. This use of funds is already allowed under existing bond funds and the bill specifies that such a request must conform to existing eligibility rules. However, because the bill requires local agencies to perform additional mapping, it is likely that demand for state bond funding will increase. The extent of this increase is unknown, and will depend on how many agencies request funding as they develop or update their plans. Given the large number of existing plans (about 135 developed so far) it is possible that the cost pressures could be in the millions. This bill is substantially similar to AB 2304 (Huffman, 2010) which was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.