Groundwater recharge in the SGMA era

Kathleen Miller writes,

“Implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was always going to be tricky. Part of the necessary growing pains of SGMA is determining how the revolutionary statute interacts with traditional tenets of water law.   As with any other sweeping legislative change, SGMA does not provide direct answers for every practical question which arises as the law is put into place.

Take SGMA’s so called “six deadly sins” – the undesirable results that newly formed groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) are tasked with avoiding, running the gamut from seawater intrusion to subsidence. One of the ways to combat undesirable results is to implement a more robust groundwater recharge program – diverting high surface water flows during wet years (as we just experienced) to aquifers. In fact, we’ve begun to see innovative projects, such as Recharge Net Metering andFlood-MAR, sprout up in the wake of SGMA to do exactly that. But how do we get water for those projects in the first place? … ”

Read more from the Legal Planet blog here:  Groundwater recharge in the SGMA era

California groundwater management, science-policy interfaces, and the legacies of artificial legal distinctions

Dave Owen and Michael Kiparsky write,

“One of the many noteworthy features of California’s  Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is that it requires local government agencies to consider and address the effects of groundwater management upon interconnected surface water. That requirement is an important step towards rationalizing California water management, which has long treated groundwater and surface water as separate resources.

The requirement also is part of a larger story about evolving science and policy in a changing world. … ”

Read more from the Legal Planet here: California groundwater management, science-policy interfaces, and the legacies of artificial legal distinctions

California groundwater management, science-policy interfaces, and the legacies of artificial legal distinctions

“One of the many noteworthy features of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is that it requires local government agencies to consider and address the effects of groundwater management upon interconnected surface water.

That requirement is an important step towards rationalizing California water management, which has long treated groundwater and surface water as separate resources.  The requirement also is part of a larger story about evolving science and policy in a changing world. … “

Continue reading at the Legal Planet Blog here:  California groundwater management, science-policy interfaces, and the legacies of artificial legal distinctions

California Court Finds Public Trust Doctrine Applies to State Groundwater Resources

Richard Frank writes,

“The California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District has issued an important decision declaring that California’s powerful public trust doctrine applies to at least some of the state’s overtaxed groundwater resources.  The court’s opinion also rejects the argument that California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) displaces the public trust doctrine’s applicability to groundwater resources.

The Court of Appeal’s opinion in Environmental Law Foundation v. State Water Resources Control Board decides two key issues of first impression for California water law: first, whether the public trust doctrine applies to California’s groundwater resources; and, second, if it does, if application of that doctrine has been displaced and superseded by the California Legislature’s 2014 enactment of SGMA.  A unanimous appellate panel answered the first question in the affirmative, the second in the negative. … “

Read more from the Legal Planet here: California Court Finds Public Trust Doctrine Applies to State Groundwater Resources