BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    




                   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.