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Report: Groundwater Management Plans Need Significant Improvement

Jul 10, 2014

file photo
Credit California Department of Water Resources

A new report finds local water agencies need to do a better job managing groundwater in California. Amy Quinton has the details from Sacramento.

The California Water Foundation looked at 120 groundwater management plans adopted by local water agencies. In a nutshell, the results aren’t good. Almost 30 percent were written in 2002 or earlier. Many lacked objectives and an implementation strategy.

Andrew Fahlund with the California Water Foundation says the state’s current groundwater laws are inadequate. The way the system is set up now, large groundwater withdrawals could pit neighbor against neighbor.

Fahlund: “The only recourse we have when one person is exercising their water right and harming the water right of another person is to sue. And that’s a pretty lousy instrument to get anything done.”

The report recommends requiring local agencies to develop and enforce management plans and the state provide technical and financial support to do so. Large groundwater withdrawals have led to saltwater intrusion and caused land to sink in some areas of the state.