Governor Jerry Brown and California’s lawmakers want to capitalize on the current patched conditions to pass legislation which will define how groundwater is used.
Up to now, California remains the only state in Western part if the United States that doesn’t have existing groundwater legislation, but this could change in the next few months.
The proposal by California is to ask local agencies to come up with good plans for managing groundwater by 2020.
Laws and regulations on groundwater have been very politically poisonous since the time the state was founded. However, Gov. Jerry Brown and his administration are counting on the current conditions and the cautious cooperation of interest groups who once offered serious opposition for the existence of this kind of policy and legislation to pass the legislation by the end of this month.
According to assembler Roger Dickinson this falls under never wasting a crisis.
The drought that is being experienced right now is propelling the law makers to work with the office of the governor to ensure that the right policies and legislation are put in place.
Gov. Brown is doing negotiations regarding the bond measures for the November ballot and they are at pain comprehending how much borrowing voters should be done in order for the approval of such projects as groundwater cleanup and storage to be achieved.
But for now, the effects of the drought have been buffered by the ground reserves that are available out there.
However, the results of a study that was released last month shows that the state’s economy has been hit to the tune of $2.2 billion this year alone just because of the drought conditions which have been experienced for the past three years.
But the amount of damage to the economy could be much higher if pumping of ground water would not have been done. Policy analysts and researchers say that underground pumping replaced up to 75% of the amount of water that were replaced from surface sources such as lakes, rivers and many more.
There are no rules that govern how much ground water should be pumped statewide and since time immemorial, water under the soil have been considered as the right of the person owning the land.
Because there is a lot of shortage of water from other sources, their extraction have become inconsistent, hence pushing people to do more drilling and pumping of underground water. This has caused water removal at a higher pace than it can be replaced especially in agricultural rich areas.
“Whatever we are doing with underground water can just be compared to deficit spending,” said Lester Snow who heads a non profit foundation in California. He further said that something bad would happen especially in the unforeseeable future.
Some water districts or regions have started managing their water underground water resources on their own while others have just started being regulated after a long grueling battle.
However, there are many other key basins which are yet to be regulated and there exist some huge gaps regarding the information provided by the state on groundwater supply.