AB 1390, as amended, Alejo. Groundwater: adjudication.
The California Constitution requires that the water resources of the State be put to beneficial use to the fullest extent of which they are capable. Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which applies to all groundwater basins in the state, all basins designated as high- or medium-priority basins by the Department of Water Resources as basins that are subject to critical conditions of overdraft, as specified, are required to be managed under a groundwater sustainability plan or coordinated groundwater sustainability plans by January 31, 2020.
This bill would establish special procedures for a comprehensive adjudication, which is defined as an action filed in superior court to comprehensively determine the rights to extract groundwater in a basin. The bill would authorize the court to determine all rights to groundwater in a basin whether based on appropriation, overlying right, or other basis of right. The bill would require these special procedures to govern all comprehensive adjudications except in cases not involving a comprehensive allocation of a basin’s groundwater supply or cases that can be resolved among a limited number of parties and that do not involve a comprehensive determination of rights to extract groundwater within the basin.
This bill would require a complaint filed in an adjudication action to name certain defendants, including all general or special districts managing or replenishing groundwater resources in the basin in whole or in part, and to be served and published in a specified manner. The bill would require the complaint to be accompanied by a draft notice and draft form answer, as specified, and certain disclosures related to the plaintiff’s groundwater use. The bill would require the court to hold a preliminary hearing within 180 days of the filing of the
complaint to determine if the action should proceed to comprehensively determine rights to extract groundwater within the basin in accordance with the special procedures for comprehensive adjudications. If the court makes that determination, based on a finding that at least one of 4 specified conditions is met, the bill would require the court to issue an order declaring the case a comprehensive adjudication
begin delete andend delete authorizing the service of the landowners of the basin. After the court order begin delete authorizing service of the landowners of the basin,end delete the bill would require the plaintiff to begin delete file an ex parte application seeking court approval of the draft notice and draft form answer filed with the complaint. If the court approves the draft notice and draft form answer, the bill would require the
tax collector or tax collectors of the county or counties in which the basin to be adjudicated lies to include the court-approved notice and form answer with the next annual property tax bill sent to each landowner identified by the plaintiff, as specified.end delete The bill would require the begin delete plaintiff, and other parties as may be ordered by the court, to reimburse the
tax collector or tax collectors for the costs of including the court-approved notice and form answer with the property tax bills and, after those materials have been included with the property tax bills, would require theend delete plaintiff to file with the court a notice of the completion of the mailing. The bill, on the 60th day following completion of the mailing, as described above, would deem fulfillment of the service and publication provisions as effective service of process of the complaint and notice on all interested parties of the comprehensive adjudication for purposes of establishing
in rem jurisdiction and the comprehensive effect of the comprehensive adjudication.
This bill would authorize the court to convene a case management conference at such time the court deems appropriate, after which the court could divide the comprehensive adjudication into
begin delete phases’end delete based on its own discretion or the motion of a party. The bill would require the court to define the scope of any phase of the comprehensive adjudication by written order. The bill would provide that the court’s discretion is not limited in ordering as many phases as the court deems appropriate for the expeditious and appropriate resolution of competing claims to the groundwater basin. In a phase of a comprehensive adjudication, the bill would require discovery to be strictly limited to the
scope of the phase and would authorize the court to issue a written statement of decision at the completion of each phase. In addition, the bill would require each party to make, under penalty of perjury, specified initial disclosures to all other named parties and a special master, if one has been assigned in the action, within 60 days after appearing in the comprehensive adjudication, except a plaintiff would be required to make the initial disclosures at the time it files the complaint. By expanding the scope of an existing crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would authorize the court to appoint a special master in a comprehensive adjudication, who may be one or more individuals, to report on legal and factual issues designated under a specific order of reference. The bill would provide that the special master’s duties could include, among other things, initiating a technical committee to conduct joint factfinding regarding the basin and would require the special master
to compile a technical report of the findings, as specified. On or before January 1, 2017, the bill would require the Department of Water Resources to establish and maintain a list of individuals who may serve as special masters in comprehensive adjudications and would prescribe the experience needed for an individual to be placed on the list.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 830) is
2added to Title 10 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, to read:
(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
9(1) Diverse economic, environmental, and social interests are
10implicated by sustainable groundwater management.
11(2) Efficient resolution of conflicts concerning the right to use
12and manage groundwater will promote beneficial use of the waters
13of the state consistent with Section 2 of Article X of the California
14Constitution, the state water policies mandated in Chapter 1
15(commencing with Section 100) of Division 1 of the Water Code,
16and as intended by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
17(Part 2.74 (commencing with Section 10720) of Division 6 of the
19(3) Previous comprehensive groundwater adjudication actions
20have taken more than a decade before issuance of a final judgment
21by the court the action.
P5 1(4) In light of the scope and complexities of comprehensive
2groundwater adjudication actions, the state’s welfare will be
3promoted by the development of specially tailored legal procedures
4to efficiently process actions to comprehensively determine rights
5to extract groundwater in a basin.
6(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to do all of the following:
7(1) Develop procedures to provide a more
efficient process to
8comprehensively adjudicate groundwater rights, while at the same
9time fully respecting established principles of water rights law and
10providing participants appropriate due process.
11(2) Establish procedures by which courts may conduct
12 comprehensive determinations of rights to extract groundwater in
14(3) Encourage early resolution of groundwater rights disputes.
15(4) Substantially reduce the time and expense of comprehensive
16groundwater adjudications, while ensuring fair procedures to
17protect all parties’ rights to groundwater.
18(5) Ensure the judicial process is not used to unnecessarily delay
19or thwart the goal of managing groundwater in a sustainable
21(6) Reduce the burdens placed on the judiciary under the current
For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions
25(a) “Basin” means a groundwater basin or subbasin identified
26pursuant to Section 839.
27(b) “Bulletin 118” means the department’s report entitled
28“California’s Groundwater: Bulletin 118” updated in 2003, as it
29may be subsequently updated or revised.
30(c) “Complaint” means a complaint filed in superior court to
31determine rights to extract groundwater and includes any
32cross-complaint that initiates a comprehensive adjudication in
33response to a plaintiff’s complaint or other cross-complaint.
34(d) “Comprehensive adjudication” means an action filed in
35superior court to comprehensively determine rights to extract
36groundwater in a basin.
37(e) “Department” means the Department of Water Resources.
38(f) “Groundwater” means water beneath the surface of the earth
39within the zone below the water table in which the soil is
P6 1completely saturated with water, but does not include water that
2flows in known and definite channels.
3(g) “Groundwater extraction facility” means a device or method
4for extracting groundwater from within a basin.
5(h) “Groundwater recharge” means the augmentation of
6groundwater, by natural or artificial means.
7(i) “Person” includes, but is not limited to, counties, local
8agencies, state agencies, federal agencies, tribes, business entities,
10(j) “Plaintiff” means the person filing the complaint initiating
11 a comprehensive adjudication and includes a cross-complainant
12who initiates a comprehensive adjudication by cross-complaint.
13(k) “Sustainable Groundwater Management Act” means the
14provisions of Part 2.74 (commencing with Section 10720) of
15Division 6 of the Water Code.
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (e), this chapter
17establishes special procedures for an action that would
18comprehensively determine rights to extract groundwater in a
19basin, whether based on appropriation, overlying right, or other
20basis of right. This chapter applies to an Indian tribe and the federal
21government, to the extent authorized by federal law. This chapter
22shall not alter groundwater rights or the law concerning
23groundwater rights. The other provisions of this code apply to
24procedures in a comprehensive adjudication to the extent they do
25not conflict with the provisions of this chapter.
26(b) The court’s final judgment in a comprehensive
27as to the right to groundwater of each party, may declare the
28priority, amount, purposes of use, extraction location, and place
29of use of the water, together with appropriate injunctive relief,
30subject to terms adopted by the court to implement a physical
31solution in the comprehensive adjudication.
32(c) The procedures of this chapter shall govern all
33 comprehensive adjudications. If the court finds any one of the
34following, the action shall proceed in accordance with other
35provisions of law:
36(1) The action concerns only claims that the operation of a
37party’s groundwater extraction facility is interfering with the
38physical availability of groundwater to one or more other parties’
39groundwater extraction facility or facilities and does not involve
40a comprehensive allocation of the basin’s groundwater supply.
P7 1(2) The action concerns only claims to extract, or to prevent
2interference with extractions of, a specific source of groundwater
3recharge and does not involve a comprehensive allocation of the
4basin’s groundwater supply.
5(3) The action can be
resolved among a limited number of
6parties and does not involve a comprehensive determination of
7rights to extract groundwater within the basin.
8(d) In implementing this chapter and applying the other
9provisions of this code in a comprehensive adjudication, the court
10should expedite resolution of the comprehensive adjudication and,
11where a groundwater sustainability plan is required pursuant to
12the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the court should
13encourage the parties to cooperatively develop a groundwater
14sustainability plan that may serve as the basis of a stipulated
15judgment setting forth a physical solution for management of the
17(e) This chapter does not apply to the Antelope Valley
18Groundwater Cases (Judicial Council Coordination Proceedings
(a) Unless a court orders otherwise for good cause, the
24complaint in a comprehensive adjudication shall name all of the
25following persons as defendants:
26(1) All general or special districts managing or replenishing
27groundwater resources in the basin in whole or in part.
28(2) The operator of a public water system that uses groundwater
29from the basin to supply water service.
30(3) The operator of a state small water system that uses
31groundwater from the basin to supply water service.
32(b) The complaint in a comprehensive adjudication shall identify
33all counties or cities that provide water service and overlie the
34basin in whole or in part.
35(c) Within 30 days of the filing of the complaint, both of the
36following shall occur:
37(1) The plaintiff shall serve the complaint on all persons named
38as defendants pursuant to subdivision (a) and all counties or cities
39identified in the complaint pursuant to subdivision (b) in the
P8 1manner prescribed by Article 3 (commencing with Section 415.10)
2of Chapter 4 of Title 5.
3(2) The plaintiff shall publish notice of the complaint pursuant
4to Section 6066 of the Government Code.
court shall allow the following persons to intervene in
6the comprehensive adjudication:
7(1) A county or city identified in the complaint pursuant to
8subdivision (b). A county or city identified in the complaint
9pursuant to subdivision (b) that files an ex parte application shall
10give notice to the plaintiff consistent with the California Rules of
12(2) A person demonstrating, upon an ex parte application, that
13that person holds fee simple ownership in a parcel in the basin. A
14person filing the ex parte application shall give notice to the
15plaintiff consistent with the California Rules of Court.
(a) Within 180 days of the filing of a complaint to
17adjudicate groundwater rights, the court shall conduct a preliminary
18hearing to determine if the action should proceed to
19comprehensively determine rights to extract groundwater within
20the basin in accordance with this chapter. At the preliminary
21hearing the court may hear expert or lay testimony and the plaintiff
22shall demonstrate one of the following:
23(1) There is substantial evidence that declining groundwater
24levels may cause an undesirable result in the basin.
25(2) The court cannot provide adequate relief among the potential
26claimants to a groundwater right in the basin subject to the
27comprehensive adjudication unless the comprehensive adjudication
to Section 847, the parties have agreed to a
30proposed judgment in the comprehensive adjudication.
31(4) Consistent with Section 2 of Article X of the California
32Constitution, the interests of groundwater rights holders will be
33expeditiously and effectively served by the completion of the
35(b) If, after the preliminary hearing, the court finds that any
36condition described in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, of
37subdivision (a) is met, the court shall issue an order
begin delete declaring that
38the case is a comprehensive adjudication subject to this chapter
39and authorizing service of landowners in accordance with Section
9(c) If, after the preliminary hearing, the court finds that no
10condition described in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, of
11subdivision (a) is met, the court shall either dismiss the action
12without prejudice, or find that the action is not subject to this
13chapter under Section 831 and permit the action to proceed
14pursuant to the other provisions of this code.
15(d) Before the preliminary hearing, the court may allow
16expedited discovery limited to the matters listed in paragraphs (1)
17to (4), inclusive, of subdivision (a). The court shall actively manage
18the expedited discovery to minimize the burdens on responding
19parties and to prevent delays
begin delete in order to enable, to the greatest
20extent possible and pursuant to Section 833, service of landowners
21through the next annual mailing of property tax bills within the
(a) At the same time as filing the complaint, the plaintiff
24shall lodge all of the following with the court:
25(1) (A) A draft notice titled “NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT
26OF GROUNDWATER BASIN ADJUDICATION” in no less than
2720-point font and the following text printed immediately below
28the draft notice title in no less than 14-point font:
29“THIS NOTICE IS IMPORTANT. ANY RIGHTS YOU CLAIM
30TO PUMP OR STORE GROUNDWATER FROM THE BASIN
31IDENTIFIED IN THIS NOTICE MAY BE AFFECTED BY A
32LAWSUIT INITIATED BY THE COMPLAINT SUMMARIZED
34A copy of the complaint may be
obtained by contacting the
35plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney identified in this notice. If you
36claim rights to pump or store groundwater within the basin, either
37now or in the future, you may become a party to this lawsuit by
38filing an answer to the lawsuit on or before the deadline specified
39in this notice. You may file an answer by completing the attached
40form answer, filing it with the court indicated in this notice, and
P10 1sending a copy of the form answer to the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s
3Failing to participate in this lawsuit could have a significant
4adverse effect on any right to pump or store groundwater that you
5may have. You may seek the advice of an attorney in relation to
6this lawsuit. Such attorney should be consulted promptly. A case
7management conference in this groundwater basin adjudication
8proceeding shall occur on the date specified in this notice. If you
9intend to participate in the groundwater adjudication proceeding
10to which this notice applies, you are advised to attend the initial
11case management conference in person or have an attorney
12represent you at the initial case management conference.
13Participation requires the production of all information regarding
14your groundwater use. You must provide this information by the
15date identified in this notice.
16A form answer is provided for your convenience. You may fill
17out the form answer and file it with the court. Should you choose
18to file the form answer, it will serve as an answer to all complaints
19and cross-complaints filed in this case.”
20(B) The following information shall be provided immediately
21following the text described in subparagraph (A):
22(i) The name of the basin that is the subject of the comprehensive
24(ii) A space to be completed with the case number assigned to
25the comprehensive adjudication, and the name and address of the
26court and department to which the action is assigned.
27(iii) The name, address, telephone number, and email address
28of the plaintiff, or plaintiff’s attorney, from which the complaint
29may be obtained.
30(iv) A statement advising anyone claiming the right to use
31groundwater within the basin that he or she must file an answer
32with the court within
begin delete 30end delete days after service by mail, as provided
33for in this section.
34(v) A summary of the causes of action alleged in the complaint
35and the relief sought. The summary shall not exceed 25 lines.
36(2) (A) A draft form answer titled “ANSWER TO
37ADJUDICATION COMPLAINT” in no less than 20-point font
38and the following text printed immediately below the draft form
39answer title in no less than 14-point font:
P11 1“The undersigned denies all material allegations in the complaint
2or cross-complaint in this action that seeks to adjudicate rights in
3the groundwater basin and asserts all applicable affirmative
4defenses to that complaint.”
5(B) Notwithstanding any other law, the filing of an answer in
6the form described in subparagraph (A) in a comprehensive
7adjudication is sufficient to put at issue all material allegations and
8applicable affirmative defenses to the complaint in the
9comprehensive adjudication. If a party intends to seek adjustment
10of the basin’s boundaries, it shall disclose that intention in the form
11answer described in subparagraph (A).
12(3) The initial disclosures required to be lodged by the plaintiff
13pursuant to Section 840.
14(b) Within 15 days of a court order authorizing service of
15landowners pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 832.5, the
16plaintiff shall file an ex parte application that seeks the court’s
17approval of plaintiff’s draft notice and draft form answer filed
18 pursuant to subdivision (a). The plaintiff shall provide notice of
19the ex parte application to all parties in accordance with the
20California Rules of Court regarding ex parte hearings. Notice may
21be provided electronically. The plaintiff’s notice of the ex parte
22application shall include a copy of the draft notice and draft form
23answer filed pursuant to subdivision (a).
24(c) Once the court approves the draft notice, service of that
25notice in accordance with this section shall substitute for the
26summons otherwise provided for in civil actions pursuant to
a court order authorizing service of landowners pursuant to this
30section, the plaintiff
begin delete shall identify, as expeditiously as possible
31and using the records of the tax collector or tax collectors of the
32county or counties in which the basin to be adjudicated lies, the
33assessor parcel numbers of all real property within the basin and
34the names and addresses of all holders of fee title to real property
35within the basin. The plaintiff shall provide the court and all parties
36with notice of its acquisition of, or sufficient access to, this
37information. Upon receipt of the court order authorizing service
38of landowners pursuant to this section and the plaintiff’s draft
39notice and draft form answer, as approved by an order of the court,
40the tax collector or tax collectors shall include the court-approved
P12 1notice and form answer with the next annual property tax bill sent
2to each landowner identified by the plaintiff in accordance with
3this subdivision. The plaintiff, and other parties as may be ordered
4by the court, shall reimburse the tax collector or tax collectors for
5the costs of including the court-approved notice and form answer.
6The tax collector or tax collectors may appear at any court
7proceeding concerning the costs associated with including the
8court-approved notice and form answer with the property tax bills.
9The court may authorize alternative means of service in accordance
10with this subdivision, as it deems appropriate.end delete
begin deleteAfter the tax collector or tax collectors include the
38court-approved notice and form answer with the property tax bills end delete
39pursuant to subdivision (d), the
P13 1plaintiff shall file with the court a notice of the completion of the
10 Following a court order authorizing service of landowners
11pursuant to this section, the plaintiff shall serve any known person
12that pumps groundwater who would not otherwise be served
13pursuant to subdivision (d) of this section or noticed pursuant to
14paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 832. Service pursuant
15to this subdivision may be by personal delivery or by mail in the
16manner prescribed by Article 3 (commencing with Section 413.10)
17of Chapter 4 of Title 5.
19 Service on the United States shall be made in accordance
20with Section 666 of Title 43 of the United States Code.
22 The court may authorize any other procedures it finds
23appropriate and necessary to provide notice to persons who may
24hold groundwater rights in the basin.
26 On the 60th day following completion of the mailing, as set
27forth in this section, and notwithstanding any other law, the
28fulfillment of the service provisions of this section, the publication
29provisions of paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) of Section 832, and
30the remaining service and notice provisions of this chapter shall
31be deemed effective service of process of the complaint and notice
32on all interested parties of the comprehensive adjudication for
33purposes of establishing in rem jurisdiction and the comprehensive
34effect of the comprehensive adjudication.
35(j) The tax collector or tax collectors shall notify the plaintiff
36and the court of any problems with carrying out his or her
37obligations under this section. If the tax collector or tax collectors
38complete the mailing based upon the best available information,
39neither a county, nor an officer or employee of a county, shall be
40liable for any injury caused by an act or omission in the
P14 1interpretation or application of this section, including, without
2limitation, an injury arising from any defect in service arising out
3of a tax collector’s or tax collectors’ actions or omissions in
4providing the notice described in this section.
5(k) The court may require notice to be made available in
6languages other than English.
7(l) The plaintiff shall provide the
begin delete draftend delete notice and
begin delete draftend delete answer to the department. The department shall post
begin delete draftend delete notice and begin delete draftend delete answer on the
10department’s Internet Web site within 15 days of receipt.
11(m) Section 389 shall not apply to a failure to join the United
12States or an Indian tribe to a comprehensive adjudication.
Within 15 days of the service of a complaint against or
14by a local agency in a comprehensive adjudication, the court may,
15and upon the motion of any party the court shall, request the
16chairperson of the Judicial Council to assign a judge from a neutral
17county to hear the comprehensive adjudication for all purposes.
18For purposes of this section, “local agency” has the same definition
19as that term is defined in subdivision (m) of Section 10721 of the
In a comprehensive adjudication there may only be two
22disqualifications of judges pursuant to Section 170.6, and only one
23disqualification by each side. For purposes of this section, in a
24comprehensive adjudication the parties claiming overlying
25groundwater rights will be on one side of the action and the parties
26claiming appropriative groundwater rights will be on the other side
27of the action. A request or motion to disqualify a judge under
28Section 170.6 shall be filed after service is completed pursuant to
29Section 833 and within 30 days of a judge being assigned.
begin deleteAn end deletecomprehensive adjudication is presumed to be
31a complex case within the meaning of Rule 3.400 of the California
32Rules of Court unless a party demonstrates that the comprehensive
33adjudication is not complex.
34(b) The presiding judge shall assign a comprehensive
35adjudication to one judge for all purposes.
Service of pleadings and papers in a comprehensive
37adjudication, other than the complaint initiating a comprehensive
38adjudication, shall occur electronically to the greatest extent
39possible. The court may provide, or authorize the use of, an
40electronic service system. If an electronic service system is not
P15 1provided or authorized by the court, the court and the parties shall
2serve documents by email or other equivalent electronic means to
3the greatest extent possible. To enable electronic service of
4pleadings and papers, the attorneys of record or parties representing
5themselves shall include an email address for service in the captions
6of all pleadings they file in the comprehensive adjudication.
(a) In managing a comprehensive adjudication the court
11may, notwithstanding any other law, convene a case management
12conference at such time the court deems appropriate.
13(b) After service is completed pursuant to Section 833 and a
14case management conference is held, the court may, based on its
15own discretion or the motion of a party, divide the comprehensive
16adjudication into phases. This section does not limit the court’s
17discretion to order as many phases as the court deems appropriate
18for the expeditious and appropriate resolution of competing claims
19to the groundwater basin. The court shall define the scope of any
20phase of the comprehensive adjudication by written order and shall
21revisit that definition only upon a demonstration that continuing
22with the phase as previously defined would substantially impede
23the expeditious resolution of the comprehensive adjudication.
24(c) In a phase of a comprehensive adjudication, discovery shall
25be strictly limited to the scope of the phase, as defined in the court’s
26written order. The court may make any appropriate orders to ensure
27that discovery during a phase remains within the scope of the phase
28and, unless an injustice would otherwise result, shall impose
29monetary sanctions on parties, attorneys, or both parties and
30attorneys, who, during the phase, propound discovery outside the
31scope of the phase.
32(d) Pursuant to Section 632, a court may
issue a written
33statement of decision at the completion of each phase of the
34comprehensive adjudication. If the court issues a written statement
35of decision, that written statement of decision shall be considered
36a resolution of the phase and shall be binding for the remainder of
37the comprehensive adjudication unless reversed or modified by
38an appellate court. Appellate review of a court’s written statement
39of decision that concludes a phase of the comprehensive
P16 1adjudication may be by writ only and a party may only appeal the
2court’s final judgment.
3(e) A court may facilitate the formation of a class or classes of
4overlying groundwater rights holders pursuant to the criteria
5specified in Section 382.
(a) Subject to subdivision (b), the initial basin boundaries
7for a comprehensive adjudication shall be the basin boundaries
8identified in Bulletin 118 as of the date the complaint initiating
9the comprehensive adjudication is filed. The plaintiff shall use
10these boundaries in initiating the procedures to serve the complaint
11on landowners in a comprehensive adjudication in accordance with
13(b) The court may consider adjusting a basin’s boundaries at
14the initial phase of a comprehensive adjudication. The court may
15refer consideration of adjustment of a basin’s boundaries to the
16department for recommendations in accordance with the procedures
17described in Section 10722.2 of the Water Code. The court may
18stay any proceedings in the comprehensive adjudication pending
19the department’s resolution of any boundary adjustments. During
20the stay, the court may require the parties to make initial disclosures
21pursuant to Section 840.
22(c) If a court, following receipt of
23recommendations, determines the basin’s boundaries separately
24and before the trial of other issues in the comprehensive
25adjudication, the basin’s boundaries as determined by the court
26shall be the basin’s boundaries for all purposes in all subsequent
27phases of the comprehensive adjudication. Appellate review of a
28court’s determination of the basin’s boundaries may be by writ
29only and shall not be subject to any later writ or appeal.
(a) Except as otherwise stipulated by the parties or ordered
31by the court, and without waiting for a discovery request, a party
32shall provide to all other named parties and, if one has been
33assigned in the action, the special master, initial disclosures that
34include all of the following information:
35(1) The name, address, telephone number, and email address of
36the party completing a form developed pursuant to subdivision
38(2) The quantity of any groundwater extraction from the basin
39by the party, or the party’s representative or agent, during each of
P17 1the 10 calendar years immediately preceding the filing of the
3(3) The claimed basis of the right to extract groundwater.
4(4) The beneficial purpose of any use of groundwater from the
5basin or the beneficial use of any alternative water use that the
6party claims as its use of groundwater.
7(5) The location of any extraction of groundwater from the basin
8by the party, or the party’s representative or agent.
9(6) The location of any beneficial use of groundwater from the
10basin or beneficial use of any alternative water use that the party
11claims as its use of groundwater.
12(7) The quantity of any beneficial use of any alternative water
13use that the party claims as its use of groundwater under any
14applicable law, including, but not limited to, Section 1005.1,
151005.2, or 1005.4 of the Water Code.
16(8) Identification of all surface water rights and contracts that
17the party claims provides the basis for its water right claims in the
18 comprehensive adjudication.
19(9) The quantity of any replenishment of water to the basin that
20augmented the basin’s native water supply, resulting from the
21intentional storage of imported or non-native water in the basin,
22managed recharge of surface water, or return flows resulting from
23the use of imported water or non-native water on lands overlying
24the basin by the party, or the party’s representative or agent, during
25each of the 10 calendar years immediately preceding the filing of
27(10) The names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email
28addresses of all persons possessing information that supports the
30(11) Any other information deemed appropriate by the court
31for initial disclosure in a comprehensive adjudication.
32(b) The Judicial Council may develop a form for initial
33disclosures made pursuant to subdivision (a) to facilitate the
34consistent, independent, impartial, and accessible administration
35of comprehensive adjudications. The Judicial Council may
36coordinate with the department in developing the form.
37(c) (1) Unless otherwise stipulated by the parties or ordered by
38the court, and not including the plaintiff that initiates the
39 comprehensive adjudication, a party shall make the initial
P18 1disclosures described in subdivision (a) within 60 days after
2appearing in the comprehensive adjudication.
3(2) A plaintiff that initiates a comprehensive adjudication shall
4make the initial disclosures described in subdivision (a) at the time
5it files the complaint by lodging the required information with the
6court in an electronic format. The plaintiff shall serve the required
7information on the defendants or cross-defendants that it names
8when it serves the complaint.
9(3) The court may order, after the initial case management
10conference, any supplemental disclosures, other than those
11described in subdivision (a), that may expedite resolution of the
13(d) Unless otherwise ordered by the court, a party that is first
14served, or otherwise joined to the comprehensive adjudication,
15after the initial case management conference shall make the
16disclosures described in subdivision (a) within 30 days after being
17served or joined, unless a different time is set by stipulation of the
18parties or an order of the court. The court shall liberally consider
19any motions or applications to extend the time for a newly-served
20or -joined party to make the disclosures described in subdivision
22(e) A party shall make its initial disclosures based on the
23information then reasonably available to it. A party is not excused
24from making its initial disclosures because it has not fully
25investigated the case, because it challenges the sufficiency of
26another party’s disclosures, or because another party has not made
28(f) A party that has made its initial disclosures, as described in
29subdivision (a), or that has responded to another party’s discovery
30request, shall supplement or correct a disclosure or response in
31either of the following situations:
32(1) In a timely manner if the party learns that in some material
33respect the disclosure or response is incomplete or incorrect and
34the additional or corrective information has not otherwise been
35made known to the other parties during the disclosure or discovery
37(2) As ordered by the court.
38(g) To the greatest extent possible, a party shall serve his or her
39initial disclosures electronically through an electronic service
40system, an electronic document repository, email, or another
P19 1method of electronic transmission. If it is not possible for the party
2to serve his or her disclosures electronically, he or she shall serve
3the disclosures in an electronic format saved on a portable storage
4media device such as a compact disc or flash drive.
5(h) A party’s obligations under this section may be enforced by
6a court on its own motion or the motion of a party pursuant to
8(i) A party’s disclosures under this section shall be verified
9under penalty of perjury as being true and correct to the best of
10the party’s knowledge.
(a) In addition to all other disclosures required by this
12chapter, a party shall disclose to the other parties the identity of
13any expert witness it may use at trial to present evidence. For
14purposes of this chapter, “expert witness” means a witness qualified
15pursuant to Section 720 of the Evidence Code.
16(b) Unless otherwise stipulated by the parties or ordered by the
17court, the disclosure made pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be
18accompanied by a written report prepared and signed by the expert
19witness if the witness is retained or specially employed by the
20party offering the expert witness to testify as an expert in the action,
21or if the expert witness’s duties as the party’s employee regularly
22involves giving expert testimony. The report shall include all of
24(1) A complete statement of all opinions the witness will express
25and the basis and reasons for those opinions.
26(2) The facts or data considered by the witness in forming his
27or her opinions.
28(3) Any exhibits the witness will use to summarize or support
29his or her opinions.
30(4) The witness’s qualifications, including a list of all
31publications authored by the witness in the previous 10 years.
32(5) A list of all other cases in which the witness testified as an
33expert at trial or by deposition in the last five years.
34(6) A statement of the compensation to be paid for the witness’s
35work and testimony in the comprehensive adjudication.
36(c) If subdivision (b) does not apply to an expert witness because
37of a stipulation by the parties or an order of the court, the witness’s
38disclosure shall include both of the following:
39(1) The subject matter on which the witness is expected to
P20 1(2) A summary of the witness’s opinions, and the facts or data
2considered by the witness in forming his or her opinions.
3(d) Unless otherwise stipulated by the parties, a party shall make
4the disclosures of any expert witness it intends to present at trial,
5except for an expert witness presented solely for purposes of
6impeachment or rebuttal, at the times and in the sequence ordered
7by the court. If there is no stipulation or court order, the disclosures
8of an expert witness shall be made as follows:
9(1) At least 30 days after the court’s entry of an order
10establishing the scope of the relevant phase of the comprehensive
12(2) Except for a supplemental expert witness described in
13paragraph (3), at least 60 days before the date set for trial of the
14relevant phase of the comprehensive adjudication.
15(3) For a supplemental expert witness who will express an
16opinion on a subject to be covered by another expert witness
17designated by an adverse party that was not among the subjects
18covered by an expert witness initially disclosed by the party
19offering the supplemental expert witness, no more than 20 days
20after the initial expert witness disclosure date.
21(e) The court may modify the disclosure requirements of
22 subdivisions (b) to (d), inclusive, for expert witnesses presented
23solely for purposes of impeachment or rebuttal. In modifying the
24disclosure requirements, the court shall adopt disclosure
25requirements that expedite the court’s consideration of the issues
26presented and shall ensure that expert testimony presented solely
27for purposes of impeachment or rebuttal is strictly limited to the
28scope of the testimony that it intends to impeach or rebut.
29(f) (1) A party whose expert witness has made a disclosure
30pursuant to this section shall promptly supplement or correct the
31expert witness’s disclosure in either of the following instances:
32(A) In a timely manner if the party learns that in some material
33respect the disclosure is incomplete or incorrect, if the additional
34or corrective information has not otherwise been made known to
35the other parties during the disclosure or discovery process.
36(B) As ordered by the court.
37(2) A party’s duty to supplement or correct its expert witness’s
38disclosure includes the information included in the report and the
39information given during the expert witness’s deposition. Unless
40otherwise stipulated by the parties or ordered by the court, any
P21 1supplementation or correction shall occur at least 14 days before
2trial of the applicable phase of the comprehensive adjudication.
3(3) The court may authorize a supplemental deposition of an
4expert witness based on a supplemental disclosure made pursuant
5to this subdivision. The court shall appropriately condition the
6authorization of a supplemental deposition of an expert witness to
7ensure the expeditious completion of the applicable phase of the
8comprehensive adjudication. The court may require the party whose
9expert makes the supplemental disclosure to pay some or all of
10the costs associated with the supplemental deposition.
11(g) To the greatest extent possible, the parties shall serve expert
12witness disclosures electronically through an electronic service
13system, an electronic document repository, email, or another
14method of electronic transmission. If it is not possible for the party
15to serve his or her expert witness disclosures electronically, he or
16she shall serve the expert witness disclosures in an electronic
17format saved on a portable storage media device such as a compact
18disc or flash drive.
19(h) If a party or its expert witness fails to comply with this
20section, the court may exclude the expert witness’s testimony from
21trial, authorize additional depositions of the expert witness at the
22party’s expense, or take other appropriate action upon the noticed
23motion, or ex parte application, of a party.
(a) A court
begin delete in comprehensive adjudicationend delete may require
25the parties to submit written
26testimony of relevant witnesses in the forms of affidavits or
27declarations under penalty of perjury in lieu of presenting live
28testimony. The required written testimony may include, but is not
29limited to, expert witness opinions and testimony that authenticates
30documentary evidence. The court may order that the written
31testimony constitutes the entirety of the witness’s direct testimony,
32require the written testimony to include any exhibits offered in
33support of the written testimony, and, in the case of written
34testimony of an expert witness, require a statement of the witness’s
36(b) If the court requires the submission of written testimony
37 pursuant to subdivision (a), a complete copy of the direct testimony
38shall be served at least 21 days before trial of the applicable phase
39of the comprehensive adjudication. A complete copy of any rebuttal
40testimony shall be served no later than the first day of trial of the
P22 1applicable phase of the comprehensive adjudication. The court
2shall ensure the rebuttal testimony is strictly limited to the scope
3of the direct testimony to which it responds.
4(c) If the contents of the written testimony would have been
5admissible if the witness testified orally, the written testimony
6shall be received by the court as a documentary exhibit if, at the
7trial of the applicable phase of the comprehensive adjudication,
8the witness whose written testimony is being offered is made
9available for cross-examination by all parties.
(a) In comprehensive adjudication, the court may
11appoint a special master to report on legal and factual issues
12designated under a specific order of reference. A special master’s
13duties may include the following:
14(1) Initiating a technical committee consisting of the parties,
15the parties’ designated representatives, or both, to conduct joint
16factfinding as to the basin’s safe yield of groundwater, water
17demand, and any other technical issues, as directed by the court.
18The special master shall compile a technical report of the findings
19in accordance with Section 844.
20(2) Overseeing settlement discussions.
21(3) Performing other tasks the court may deem appropriate.
22(b) The special master may be one or more individuals employed
23by the court as full-time or part-time employees, or retained as
24independent contractors. A special master’s compensation and
25other expenses related to the conduct of a comprehensive
26adjudication shall be fixed by the court, apportioned pro rata to
27the extent reasonably feasible to do so, and paid by all parties
28unless the parties agree to another allocation or the court determines
29that, in the interests of justice, another allocation is necessary. The
30court may provide for the collection and disbursement of special
31master fees as it deems appropriate.
32(c) (1) To assist trial courts in selecting special masters the
33department shall, on or before January 1, 2017, establish and
34maintain a list of individuals who may serve as special masters in
35comprehensive adjudications. To be placed on the list, an individual
36shall have at least 10 years experience as either of the following:
37(A) A licensed professional engineer, professional hydrologist,
38or professional geologist.
39(B) An attorney licensed to practice law in the state.
P23 1(2) The department shall establish any other qualifications that
2may be appropriate to ensure that individuals placed on the list are
3qualified to assist a court in a comprehensive adjudication.
(a) If a technical committee is established pursuant to
5Section 843, the special master shall provide all parties with a copy
6of a draft technical report he or she prepares and a notice setting
7a day at least 60 days after the draft technical report has been
8provided to all parties before which the parties may submit to the
9special master written objections to the draft technical report.
10(b) An objection to the draft technical report shall identify the
11specific grounds and evidence on which the objection is based.
12Within 10 days after the close of the period for filing objections,
13the special master shall provide copies of the objections to all
15(c) The special master may notice and hold hearings, as he or
16she deems appropriate, to gather information or address issues
17raised in the objections to the draft technical report.
18(d) The special master shall consider the objections to the draft
19technical report and develop a final certified copy of the technical
20report that shall be filed with the court, together with a certified
21copy of all evidence considered by the special master in preparing
22the draft technical report, all evidence identified in the objections
23to the draft technical report, and all evidence considered by the
24special master in preparing the final technical report.
Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 1115) of Division
269 of the Evidence Code shall apply to all mediations, settlement
27conferences, and other similar out-of-court negotiations in
28comprehensive adjudications subject to this chapter.
(a) It is the policy of the state to encourage the
30compromise and settlement of comprehensive adjudications.
31(b) Upon the motion of any party to a comprehensive
32adjudication, a court may do any of the following:
33(1) Stay a comprehensive adjudication for a period of up to one
34year, subject to renewal in the court’s discretion upon a showing
35of good cause, in order to facilitate any of the following:
36(A) (i) Timely development of a groundwater sustainability
37plan under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act that
38may serve as the basis of a stipulated judgment setting forth a
39physical solution for management of the basin.
P24 1(ii) If the court stays a comprehensive adjudication for purposes
2of facilitating timely progress on a groundwater sustainability plan,
3the court may direct the parties to provide the court with regular
4updates on the progress in developing the groundwater
6(B) Technical studies that may be useful to the parties in
7developing a stipulated judgment or physical solution.
8(C) Voluntary mediation on all, or a portion of, the subject
9matters or legal questions identified in the comprehensive
10adjudication or any phase of the comprehensive adjudication.
11(D) Compromise and settlement of the comprehensive
12adjudication, a phase of the comprehensive adjudication, or any
13subject matter of the comprehensive adjudication or a phase of the
14 comprehensive adjudication.
15(2) Schedule mandatory mediation and appointment of a neutral
16mediator concerning the comprehensive adjudication, a phase of
17the comprehensive adjudication, or any subject matter of the
18comprehensive adjudication or a phase of the comprehensive
20(3) Schedule phases of trial in combination with mandatory
21mediation for purposes of fostering compromise concerning the
22comprehensive adjudication, a phase of the comprehensive
23adjudication, or any subject matter of the comprehensive
24adjudication or a phase of the comprehensive adjudication.
25(c) A stay may be extended for up to one year at a time. If a
26party opposes an extension of a stay, a stay may only be granted
27after a showing that there is good progress being made on the
28issues that were identified as the reasons for the stay and that no
29rights or interest would be impaired by the stay. The total time
30period a comprehensive adjudication may be stayed shall not
31exceed 5 years.
32(d) A stay pursuant to this section shall not stay, or otherwise
33delay, the parties’ obligations to provide initial disclosures pursuant
34to Section 840 unless the court determines the initial disclosures
35will not benefit resolution of the comprehensive adjudication.
(a) A party or parties may submit a proposed stipulated
37judgment to the court. The court may impose any physical solution
38that is part of the stipulated judgment as a component of the final
39judgment in the comprehensive adjudication if the physical solution
40satisfies all of the following criteria:
P25 1(1) It furthers the interests of the state in ensuring that the water
2resources of the state are put to beneficial use to the fullest extent
3that they are capable, as required by Section 2 of Article X of the
5(2) It is consistent with all water right priorities in the basin.
6(3) It treats all objecting parties equitably as compared to the
8(b) A party may object to a stipulated judgment proposed
9pursuant to this section on the basis that it does not satisfy the
10criteria described in subdivision (a). The stipulated judgment may
11be in effect while any objections are being resolved.
(a) Before the court issues a final judgment in the
13comprehensive adjudication, a party may file a motion for an order
14determining that the judgment is consistent with the sustainability
15goal of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
begin deleteThe end deletedepartment begin delete mayend delete provide a report to the
19court evaluating if the judgment is consistent with the sustainability
20goal of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
21(c) If the court determines that the judgment will achieve the
22sustainability goal for the basin established by the Sustainable
23Groundwater Management Act, the judgment shall be considered
24an alternative to a groundwater sustainability plan and shall be
25deemed to satisfy the objectives of the Sustainable Groundwater
27(d) The court shall have sole jurisdiction to determine if the
28judgment complies with the Sustainable Groundwater Management
30(e) The court may consider a motion made pursuant to
31subdivision (a) for a proposed judgment before the court enters
33(f) For purposes of this section, “judgment” means a judgment,
34settlement, or other final order concluding proceedings in the
35comprehensive adjudication in the superior court.
The court may appoint a groundwater sustainability agency
begin delete may be appointed by the courtend delete to serve as the watermaster in any
3judgment entered in a comprehensive adjudication.
No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
5Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
6the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
7district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
8infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
9for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of
10the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within
11the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California