9900 Indiana Avenue
Suite 7 Riverside
Presentation by David Sandino, ESQ.
Senior Staff Counsel California Department of Water Resources
Groundwater is essential to meet California’s consumptive and environmental water needs. In dry years, as much as forty-five percent of the state’s total consumptive water use is satisfied by groundwater. Groundwater overdraft, land subsidence, water quality degradation, and seawater intrusion are major groundwater problems that occur in certain regions of the state and present challenges to sustainable groundwater management. Effective groundwater legal systems are essential to address these problems and manage groundwater sustainably. Unlike most other states, California does not have a statewide regulatory system for groundwater. Instead, in 2014 California adopted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which confers significant authority to local agencies to sustainably manage groundwater basins through planning and implementation. SGMA implementation has started and will ultimately have to rely on sound groundwater legal systems to achieve its sustainability goals. This presentation will review groundwater legal systems, describing areas where they do not accurately reflect the physical environment and pose problems for effective groundwater management. The presentation will propose changes to groundwater legal systems that better reflect the physical environment with the goal of improved groundwater management.
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