BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1390


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          Date of Hearing:  May 13, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          AB  
          1390 (Alejo) - As Amended April 30, 2015


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
          No


          SUMMARY:


          This bill streamlines procedures used in a legal action to  
          obtain a basin-wide adjudication of groundwater rights.   









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          FISCAL EFFECT:


          No additional state costs.  


          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose.  According to the author, this bill will address the  
            time sinks that occur in current groundwater adjudications by  
            clarifying and streamlining the processes that must be  
            followed.


          2)Background.  Groundwater is either a subterranean stream  
            flowing through a known and definite channel or percolating  
            groundwater. Groundwater that is a subterranean stream is  
            subject to the same State Water Resources Control Board  
            (SWRCB) water right permitting requirements as surface water.  
            There is no statewide permitting requirement for percolating  
            groundwater, which is the majority of groundwater in the  
            state.

            The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is required to  
            prioritize  groundwater basins based on multiple factors  
            including, but not limited to, the level of population and  
            irrigated acreage relying on the groundwater basin as a  
            primary source of water and the current impacts on the  
            groundwater basin from overdraft, subsidence, saline intrusion  
            and other water quality degradation.


            The groundwater basins identified in DWR's Groundwater Report,  
            Bulletin 118, are required to be regularly and systematically  
            monitored locally and the information is required to be  
            readily and widely available.  DWR is required to perform the  
            groundwater elevation monitoring function if no local entity  








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            will do so, but then bars the county and other entities  
            eligible to monitor that basin from receiving state water  
            grants or loans.


          3)The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  Last year,  
            AB 1739 (Dickinson, Chapter 347, Statutes of 2014) and SB 1168  
            (Pavley, Chapter 346, Statutes of 2014), established landmark  
            state policy and requirements for groundwater sustainability  
            and management. By January 31, 2020, SGMA requires groundwater  
            sustainability plans (GSPs) in all groundwater basins  
            experiencing critical conditions of overdraft that DWR  
            determines to be of medium or high priority.  SGMA requires  
            sustainable groundwater management plans for all other medium  
            or high priority basins by January 31, 2022, unless the basin  
            is legally adjudicated or the local agency establishes it is  
            otherwise sustainably managed.    

            SGMA requires local agencies to identify or form a groundwater  
            sustainability agency (GSA) by January 1, 2017.  Counties are  
            presumed to be the default agency if no other agency  
            identifies itself.  Water corporations regulated by the PUC  
            are able to participate in the GSA if other agencies approve.

            During last year's Committee hearings on groundwater  
            management, California Court of Appeal Judge Ronald Robie  
            suggested that even with comprehensive sustainable management  
            plans, the state would still need to streamline its  
            groundwater adjudication procedures.  Governor Brown made the  
            same point when he signed the SGMA legislation.   


            This bill would make several changes in the manner in which  
            basin-wide adjudications are initiated, noticed, and  
            conducted.  












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          Analysis Prepared by:Jennifer Galehouse / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081