SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — State lawmakers have approved legislation asking local agencies to develop plans to manage groundwater, a supply that is largely unregulated throughout the state.
SB1168 by Democratic Sen. Fran Pavley of Agoura Hills also would allow a state agency to step in and manage groundwater supplies in certain situations, prompting a spirited debate among lawmakers.
The Senate approved the bill 24-12 on Tuesday, sending it to the Assembly.
Sen. Jim Nielsen, a Republican from Gerber, called it the “first step to dictatorial state control of our groundwater” and said the “well police” will always find faults. Pavley says the intent is to allow local agencies to manage their own water.
An analysis of the bill says California is the only state that does not have a mandatory statewide groundwater management system.