California’s depleted groundwater basins will not go unmanaged any longer. That’s the directive of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“Act”), passed late Friday, August 29 by the California Legislature, which Governor Brown is expected to sign. For at-risk basins, the Act requires the designation of a “groundwater sustainability agency” and adoption of a “groundwater sustainability plan” within roughly five to seven years. The plan must set the basin on a course toward “sustainable management” to eliminate adverse groundwater conditions specified as “undesirable results” by roughly 2040. If a local agency is not designated as a groundwater sustainability agency, or if a compliant groundwater sustainability plan is not prepared within designated time frames, the State Water Resources Control Board (”SWRCB”) may intervene and adopt and enforce its own plan for the basin.
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