BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:  April 14, 2015


                  ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON WATER, PARKS, AND WILDLIFE


                                 Marc Levine, Chair


          AB 938  
          (Salas) - As Introduced February 26, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Sustainable Groundwater Management Act 


          SUMMARY:  Clarifies that a statutory section that refers to an  
          agency in the singular also means agencies in the plural.


          Specifically, this bill amends the Sustainable Groundwater  
          Management Act (SGMA) to specify if the Department of Water  
          Resources reclassifies a basin such that it becomes subject to  
          SGMA then not just a local agency overlying a groundwater basin  
          subject to SGMA would be entitled to additional time to comply  
          with SGMA but also if there is a combination of local agencies  
          overlying a groundwater basin they would be entitled to  
          additional time.


          EXISTING LAW:


          1)States that the singular number includes the plural and the  
            plural the singular in the Water Code. 


          2)Requires the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to evaluate  
            groundwater basins and designate them as high, medium, low or  








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            very low, according to various factors including, but not  
            limited to, level of dependence upon the basin by municipal  
            and agricultural users;


          3)Requires that local agencies in high- and medium-priority  
            groundwater basins subject to SGMA form one or more local  
            Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) by June 30, 2017 in  
            order to develop and implement Groundwater Sustainability  
            Plans (GSPs) that provide for the sustainable management of  
            the groundwater basin or subbasin, as defined.


          4)Requires that GSAs in basins with chronic overdraft develop  
            and adopt GSPs for their basin or subbasin by January 31,  
            2020.


          5)Requires that GSAs in all other high- and medium-priority  
            basins subject to SGMA develop and adopt GSPs by January 31,  
            2022.


          6)Delays enforcement for failure to a adopt a GSP in a high- or  
            medium-priority basins that is in a condition where  
            groundwater extractions result in significant depletions of  
            interconnected surface waters until January 31, 2025.


          7)Requires that adopted GSPs utilize a 50 year planning horizon  
            that will achieve sustainability in a basin or subbasin within  
            20 years and include identified milestones at five year  
            intervals.


          8)Allows that if a low or very low priority basin is  
            reprioritzed by DWR such that it becomes subject to SGMA, then  
            local agencies shall have two years from the date of  
            reprioritization to form a GSA and five years from the date of  








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            reprioritization to adopt a GSP.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  None.  This bill keyed non-fiscal by the  
          Legislative Counsel.


          COMMENTS:  This bill would make a minor technical change to  
          SGMA.  The author states this bill is needed because it is  
          ambiguous as to whether the language stating that local agencies  
          shall have two years from the date of reprioritization to form a  
          GSA and five years from the date of reprioritization to adopt a  
          GSP would also apply to "a combination of agencies." 


          Supporting arguments.  Supporters state that this bill clarifies  
          that "a combination of local agencies" can also establish a  
          Groundwater Sustainability Agency.


          SGMA-related legislation


          This is one of 14 bills in the Legislature proposing changes to  
          SGMA and its related statutes.  The other bills are: AB 452  
          (Bigelow) prohibiting the State Water Board from using Water  
          Rights Fund monies for SGMA enforcement, except funds collected  
          from SGMA enforcement; AB 453 (Bigelow) allowing groundwater  
          management plans adopted prior to SGMA to be amended and  
          extended; AB 454 (Bigelow) adding one year to the deadline to  
          form a GSA or adopt a GSP; AB 455 (Bigelow) requiring the  
          Judicial Council to come up with a 270-day process for  
          completing all California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) legal  
          challenges to SGMA projects; AB 617 (Perea) adding mutual water  
          companies to GSAs; AB 939 (Salas) changing the time period for  
          providing technical data upon which a fee is based from 10 days  
          to 20 days before the meeting to adopt the fee;  AB 1242 (Gray)  
          prohibiting the State Water Board from setting in-stream flows  
          standards unless the Board mitigates for the potential local  








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          response of increased groundwater use; AB 1243 (Gray) rebating  
          50% of all SGMA enforcement penalties back to local governments  
          and water districts for groundwater recharge projects; AB 1390  
          (Alejo) creating a streamlined process for groundwater  
          adjudications and exempting them from SGMA, except minimal  
          reporting requirements; AB 1531 (Environmental Safety and Toxic  
          Materials Committee) making minor technical changes to SGMA; SB  
          13 (Pavley) making noncontroversial technical cleanup changes to  
          SGMA; SB 226 (Pavley) adding a streamlined groundwater  
          adjudication section to SGMA; and SB 487 (Nielsen) exempting  
          SGMA projects from CEQA.


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Association of California Water Agencies


          Rural County Representatives of California




          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Tina Cannon Leahy / W., P., & W. / (916)  
          319-2096








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