Kern County Acts to Streamline Oil & Gas Permitting

In a process that took nearly three years to complete, on Monday, November 9, the Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a significant change to its oil and gas regulations.

The change affects Title 19 of the Kern County Zoning Ordinance and provides a streamline permitting process for oil and gas operations. The change required the County to conduct an extensive environmental analysis pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).

Prior to the amendment, the Zoning Ordinance authorized “unrestricted drilling,” with no County permit required in certain areas, subject to compliance with requirements set by the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”). However, opposition in recent years from environmental activists challenging DOGGR’s environmental review of oil projects prompted the County to conduct a nearly County-wide environmental review to allow for a more efficient approval process.

The amendments put new requirements and costs on oil and gas producers, but allow for more certainty in permitting. Beginning December 9, 2015, county staff will review all proposed projects to determine if they comply with the new zoning ordinance. If a proposed project does not violate the county rules, the producer will pay a fee and receive a permit in as little as seven days from when the application was submitted. No conditional use permits are required, meaning no public hearings and no further environmental studies are needed.

The new amendments encourage producers to work with surface owners to agree on a development plan. Under the amended zoning ordinance, the surface owner needs to sign off on a drilling plan before the oil and gas developer can get a fast-track permit. Without getting the surface owner’s approval, the permit process can face delays of up to 4 months.

While this amendment comes as good news to many, and despite its broad local support, it will undoubtedly face multiple legal challenges in the coming months.

Kern County leads the state in oil and natural gas production. Kern County produces approximately 75% of California’s in-state oil and about 58% of the state’s total natural gas.

Environmental Justice Lawsuit Accuses L.A. of Discriminatory Oil Permitting

On Friday, November 6, three environmental organizations filed suit against the City of Los Angeles in California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles. The three groups, Youth for Environmental Justice, the Center for Biological Diversity and the South Central Youth Leadership Coalition, allege that the “City of Los Angeles has for years employed a pattern or practice of rubber stamping oil-drilling applications in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).” Verified Complaint and Petition for Writ of Mandate, at 2. By categorically exempting oil-drilling projects from CEQA, the Complaint states that L.A. has permitted a disproportionately high number of drilling operations in low-income communities and neighborhoods where people of color reside. According to the environmental groups, this is a racially discriminatory practice because the City of L.A. exhibits a pattern of “developing and approving weaker conditions for drill sites in communities where a vast majority of the residents identify as Latino and black.” Id. at 26.

The Complaint focuses especially on the risks of drilling operations on children. “Because  they breathe at a higher rate, and drink more water and consume more food in proportion to their body size, children receive higher doses of toxins and contaminants than adults.” Id. at 12-13. Further, in contrast to the public outcry over fracking, the environmental groups note that the emissions from oil and gas development in L.A. are associated with “traditional drilling,” not necessarily hydraulic fracturing. The Complaint also addresses the alleged risks of acidizing and gravel packing techniques, though. Continue Reading

Bunn’s “Renewal Plan” will Overhaul Oil & Gas Regulation in California Starting Next Year

On October 8, the California Department of Conservation (“DOC”) released a Renewal Plan for Oil and Gas Regulation (“Renewal Plan”) to revamp its regulatory program.  The goal of the Renewal Plan is to continue the DOC’s focus on environmental protection and public health, and it will shape the DOC’s regulatory decisions for the next two years.

The Renewal Plan contains four objectives: (1) regulatory overhaul, (2) new regulations for “new realities,” (3) modernization of data management, and (4) ensuring a high-quality workforce.  California’s Underground Injection Control (“UIC”) program is a key focus, and the Renewal Plan calls for a review of aquifer exemptions.  Exempt aquifers are those that are permitted to receive injection of Class II fluids (fluids associated with the production of oil and gas).  The review of exempt aquifers will ensure that Class II fluids are not being injected into potential drinking water sources. Continue Reading

California Water Commission Adopts Regulations For Changing Groundwater Basin Boundaries

On October 21, 2015, the California Water Commission (“CWC”) adopted emergency regulations formulated by the Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) that establish a process by which local agencies may seek groundwater basin boundary modifications.  The proposed regulations are the first of their kind authorizing DWR to formally consider requests by local agencies to modify groundwater basin boundaries. These new regulations take effect January 1, 2016. The underlying idea is to provide flexibility to local public agencies as part of the implementation process of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”).

Seeking a boundary modification is completely voluntary by local agencies, but if a local agency decides to pursue a boundary modification, the agency must comply with the process set out in the emergency regulations. First, the proposed regulations require that each modification request include a local agency board resolution formally initiating the local agency boundary modification request. This requirement is intended to assure that a public meeting occurs where public comment can be heard. Second, the proposed regulations require the necessary support of local agencies and public water systems affected by the change. The threshold for this support is 75% of all local agencies and public water systems in the affected basins. This level of support signifies broad acceptance of the request at the local level while preventing the potential for one or two local agencies or public water systems from blocking the request for reasons unrelated to sustainable groundwater management. Third, local agencies are required to support a modification request with a variety of technical and non‐technical information in order to provide a comprehensive picture of the basin conditions and management practices to justify the modification.

A boundary change request is due to DWR by March 30, 2016. Each request will be evaluated in its entirety to determine whether the basin modification will result in a sustainable condition and not impact the ability of adjacent basins to achieve sustainability. DWR will post the proposed changes on its website and hold a public meeting where final public comments can be heard. While DWR makes the final determination on boundary modifications, the proposals will be presented to the California Water Commission and their comments will be heard and considered before finalizing any basin boundary modifications.

Basin boundaries are critically important when implementing SGMA because the boundaries define the physical area for managing local groundwater. In turn, basin boundaries impact stakeholder interests, whether arising from water rights, water supply reliability needs or other economic interests such as assessments or administrative fees that will be imposed once the local public agency acting as a groundwater sustainability agency is formed and operating.

Update on California Water Legislation Regarding Groundwater, Recycled Water and More

October 11, 2015, marked the deadline by which Governor Brown had to act on legislation submitted to him by the legislature in September. In addition to those bills the Governor signed, we note below legislation that has been identified as two-year legislation. Stoel Rives’ Water Law Team has been monitoring water-related legislation, especially given California’s historic drought. We will continue to monitor bills identified as two-year bills, as well as any bills introduced in the second half of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session. We will provide periodic updates as these bills move through the legislative process. Below is the status and summary of some of the bills Stoel Rives is monitoring.

Supply and Groundwater

AB-307 (Mathis): Graywater: groundwater recharge
STATUS: Currently identified as a two-year bill.
If passed by the legislature and signed into law, AB-307 would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to explicitly permit the usage of residential, commercial and industrial graywater for the recharge of a groundwater basin or aquifer.

AB-453 (Bigelow): Groundwater Management
STATUS: Currently identified as a two-year bill and pending in the Senate.
If passed by the legislature and chaptered, this bill would authorize, until a groundwater sustainability plan is adopted, a local agency to amend an existing groundwater management plan in furtherance of, and consistent with, the groundwater management plan’s objectives.

AB-647 (Eggman): Beneficial use: storing of water underground
STATUS: Currently identified as a two-year bill and pending in the Senate.
If signed into law, this bill would:

  • declare that the storing of water underground constitutes a beneficial use of water if the diverted water is used while it is in underground storage for specified purposes;
  • state the intent of the Legislature that this storage of water underground not injure any legal user of the water involved; and,
  • provide that the period for the reversion of a water right does not include any period when the water is being used in the aquifer or storage area or is being held in storage for later application to beneficial use, as prescribed.

Continue Reading

California Attorney General Targets Prop. 65 Plaintiffs’ Settlement Terms

The California Office of the Attorney General is seeking to limit certain payment provisions common in Prop. 65 plaintiffs’ settlements with defendants. The proposed rulemaking, published September 25, 2015, would limit the sums payable to the plaintiffs “in lieu of” civil penalties (often referred to as “Additional Settlement Payments”), as well as require ongoing judicial supervision of how plaintiffs actually expend these funds. The proposal would also permit award of plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and costs only in cases where there a “significant” public benefit was obtained. The Attorney General’s office stated that the proposals are intended to bring Prop. 65 practice more in line with the drafters’ intent, as well as increase public accountability of the plaintiffs’ bar. Continue Reading

Environmental Activists Attack State Water Resources Control Board Order Approving Oil Industry Wastewater Disposal Methods

On August 28, Earthjustice filed a petition with the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) seeking to overturn a Central Valley Regional Water Board (“Regional Board”) order allowing an oil and gas wastewater disposal company to maintain their ongoing waste water operations, which can employ unlined disposal pits in Kern County.

Valley Water Management Co. (“Valley”), the operator of the disposal facilities, has been disposing of wastewater in the pits, along with another disposal site, since the 1930’s. The company takes in nearly half a million gallons of oil field wastewater each day for dozens of drillers in the region. In addition to the pits, Valley uses an “irrigation” system, which uses high-powered sprinklers to spray wastewater onto parts of the 94-acre facility.

Regional Board staff recommended the immediate closure of the spray field and a provided a closure deadline of December 2016 for the pits. However, after hearing testimony from various groups, the Regional Board amended the order to allow for continued discharge into the pits until 2018. According to the company, the spray irrigation system disposes of nearly 50% of the daily wastewater received by Valley. Valley claims that closing the disposal facility would reduce oil production among the companies that rely on its facilities and would be economically devastating.

As part of its order, the Regional Board required Valley to conduct monitoring and assessment activities on the site to ensure no off-site contamination. The order also allows for a transition away from the disposal site to alternative forms of disposal, such as injection into deep underground formations.

In addition to the legal petition, a coalition of local organizations sent a letter to the Governor’s office, Water Board and other agencies requesting that they intervene and close these facilities.

Status of Oil and Gas-related Bills Proposed in California’s 2015-2016 Legislative Session

September 11, 2015, was the deadline for lawmakers to pass legislation and send to the Governor for signature or veto. Below is a summary of several bills related to oil and gas activities, which Stoel Rives has been monitoring. We note that several bills have been identified as two-year bills and, as such, we will provide periodic updates as those bills move through the remainder of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session.


SB-13 (Pavley): Groundwater

SB-13 was chaptered on September 3, 2015.

This bill will:

  • Specify that the State Water Resources Control Board (“the Board”) is authorized to designate a high-or medium-priority basin as a probationary basin.
  • Provide a local agency or groundwater sustainability agency 90 or 180 days, as prescribed, to remedy certain deficiencies that caused the board to designate the basin as a probationary basin.
  • Authorize the board to develop an interim plan for certain probationary basins one year after the designation of the basin as a probationary basin.
  • Authorize a mutual water company to participate in a groundwater sustainability agency and would provide that a water corporation or a mutual water company may participate through a memorandum of agreement or other legal agreement.
  • Require, if the Department of Water Resources (“the Department”) determines that all or part of a basin or subbasin is not being monitored, the Department to determine whether there is sufficient interest in establishing a groundwater sustainability plan.
  • Eliminate the provision requiring a local agency or combination of local agencies that elect to be a groundwater sustainability agency for a basin to submit a prescribed notice of intent to the Department that includes the proposed boundaries of the basin and requires the Department to post the notice on its Internet Web site within 15 days of receipt.
  • Require local agencies to seek to reach agreement to allow prompt designation of a groundwater sustainability agency.
  • Require a new notice to be submitted and the Department to post notice if agreement is reached by the local agencies involving a material change from the information in the posted notice.
  • Require the Department to post only complete notices it receives.
  • Extend the deadline for a basin that is elevated to a medium- or high-priority basin before January 31, 2017, and is not subject to critical conditions of overdraft to be managed under a groundwater sustainability plan to January 31, 2022.
  • State that a guideline, criterion, bulletin, or other technical or procedural analysis or guidance prepared by the department as required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is not subject to the Administrative Procedure Act, except as prescribed.

SB-20 (Pavley): Wells: reports: public availability

SB-20 is a two-year bill. Stoel Rives will continue to monitor this bill during the 2015-2016 legislative process and will provide updates accordingly.

This bill would create the California Water Resiliency Investment Fund in the State Treasury and provide that moneys in the fund are available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for the purpose of providing a more dependable water supply for California.

 SB-32 (Pavley): California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: emissions limit

SB-32 failed to move forward prior to the September 11, 2015 deadline and has effectively failed. Stoel Rives will provide an official update as to SB-32’s status when available.

SB-209 (Pavley): Surface mining: inspections: training

SB-209 failed to move forward prior to the September 11, 2015 deadline and has effectively failed. Stoel Rives will provide an official update as to SB-209’s status when available.

SB-248 (Pavley): Oil and gas: well history

SB-248 is a two-year bill. Stoel Rives will continue to monitor this bill during the 2015-2016 legislative process and will provide updates accordingly

If passed, SB-248 will:

  • Require the State Oil and Gas Supervisor (“supervisor”) to establish an inspection program for all activities regulated pursuant to these provisions and would require the total number of inspections and results of the inspections to be included in the above-referenced report.
  • Require the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources’ (“division”) regulations, field rules, notices, manuals, and other requirements to be reviewed and revised, as needed, through a public process at least once every 10 years. Require the division, as part of the Oil and Gas Data Management System developed pursuant to the Budget Act of 2015, to ensure that required well data and well-related submissions are retained and readily available to the public and that publicly available data are machine readable. Unless otherwise incorporated in the Oil and Gas Data Management System, the bill would require the division to post certain information that it receives on its Internet Web site.
  • Define “enhanced oil recovery” for purposes of provisions relating to the regulation of oil and gas.
  • Require the division, by July 1, 2017, to develop and implement additional safeguards, as needed, to protect groundwater where a well stimulation treatment is proposed for a shallow well or at a shallow depth in a well, as specified.
  • Require all operations on or in the well of any form to be systematically, completely, and accurately described and recorded in the well history.
  • Require fluid injected or emplaced in the well to be fully characterized and reported as part of the. history, as specified.
  • Require the monthly statement to the supervisor to include the full characterization of the chemical composition of water produced from each well.
  • Require the operator of a waste disposal well to provide to the supervisor each quarter certain information regarding waste disposal injections.
  • Prohibit, commencing July 1, 2017, a chemical from being injected or emplaced in a well unless the division has in its possession specified information developed through established techniques about its physical, chemical, and biological properties in order to permit assessment of its toxicity, persistence, and mobility in the surrounding environment.
  • Require the division to post a list of chemicals and the measured parameters that meet this criteria on its Internet Web site. The bill would require the division to consult with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment in establishing the acceptable techniques and the list of measured parameters. Because a violation of these requirements would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
  • Require the division, on or before January 1, 2018, to update and revise these regulations, except as specified, according to specified criteria and would require the division to consult with independent experts and stakeholders in the development and review of the regulations.
  • Require the regulations to include certain requirements, including reporting requirements.
  • Require injection wells and well projects existing as of December 31, 2017, to be brought into compliance with these regulations on or before January 1, 2020.
  • Require these provisions to be liberally construed in order to meet specified requirements and to provide public transparency.
  • Provide that where the division shares jurisdiction over an injection well with a federal entity, the division’s rules and regulations are to apply in addition to all applicable federal laws and regulations.
  • Require an injection well subject to specified emergency regulations, or any successor regulations, of the division regarding aquifer exemptions to immediately cease injection operations, other than those required for plugging and abandonment operations, if the well is not in compliance with those regulations by the applicable regulatory deadline. Because a violation of these requirements would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
  • Revise the definition of an oil sump and provide that, in order to protect groundwater, surface water, air quality, and wildlife resources, commencing July 1, 2017, no oil sumps shall be used for the disposal of waters or waste waters attendant to oil and gas field exploration, development, and production.

SB-545 (Jackson): Oil and gas operations

SB-545 is a two-year bill. Stoel Rives will continue to monitor this bill during the 2015-2016 legislative process and will provide updates accordingly.

If passed, SB-545 would:

  • No longer require the supervisor to perform his or her duties in that manner.
  • Require the supervisor to supervise the exploration and production of hydrocarbons, including, among other things, the drilling, operation, maintenance, and abandonment of wells, use of enhanced oil recovery methods, as defined, and stimulation, as provided, and would authorize the supervisor to allow an owner or operator of a well to drill, operate, maintain, and abandon wells utilizing all known methods and practices to increase the ultimate recovery of hydrocarbons if the supervisor finds that those methods and practices are consistent with existing law.
  • Require an owner or operator of a well to file an application for approval to commence drilling, containing specified information, and would prohibit any drilling until written approval is given by the supervisor or the district deputy containing specified findings. The bill would authorize the supervisor, upon request, to grant a one-year extension if operations have not commenced within one year of the approval.
  • Require the applications and approvals by the supervisor or the district deputy to be posted on the division’s Internet Web site within 10 working days. Require the supervisor to perform his or her duties in conformance with that act. Limit the authorization to maintain the confidentiality of well records to exploratory wells and only if the owner or operator includes specified information in the written request. The bill would deem both the request for, and the granting of, confidential well status to be public records and would require that information to be accessible on the division’s Internet Web site.
  • Require all well records of a confidential well, as defined, to be posted on the division’s Internet Web site within 10 working days once the confidential well period has ended.
  • Require that the confidential period for an offshore well not exceed 3 years from the cessation of drilling operations and would authorize the supervisor to extend the period of confidentiality for confidential wells for only 6 months, upon receiving a written request documenting extenuating circumstances.
  • Require an owner or operator of a well to report specified information to the applicable regional water quality control board within 5 days of any loss of well and well casing integrity. Because a violation of this requirement would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
  • Authorize any committee of oil producers to make recommendations to the supervisor regarding oil and gas exploration and production, as specified, and would require the division to post any recommendations received by the supervisor on the division’s Internet Web site.


AB-356 (Williams): Oil and gas: groundwater monitoring

AB-356 is a two-year bill. Stoel Rives will continue to monitor this bill during the 2015-2016 legislative process and will provide updates accordingly.

If passed, AB-356 will

  • Authorize the supervisor to require a well operator to implement a monitoring program for belowground oil production tanks and facilities, and disposal and injection wells. Failure to comply with this requirement would be a crime.
  • Require the division to annually review underground injection or disposal projects approved by the division that use Class II wells.
  • Require the operator of the project, as a part of its application or the annual review process, to submit to the State Water Resources Control Board or appropriate regional water quality control board for its review and concurrence a groundwater monitoring plan containing certain information, including, among other things, a schedule for monitoring and reporting groundwater quality data, as provided.
  • Authorize the state board or appropriate regional water quality control board to periodically require the modification of the plan to reflect changing conditions.
  • Require the data be submitted to the state board in an electronic format compatible with the state board’s geotracker database. Because a violation of this requirement would be a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
  • Require the division, prior to proposing to the United States Environmental Protection Agency an aquifer for exemption, to hold a public hearing on the proposal and to submit the proposal to the state board for review and written concurrence.
  • Authorize the state board to concur with the proposal if certain conditions are met.

AB-815 (Ridley-Thomas): Oil spill prevention and response fees: collection

Chaptered by the Secretary of State on July 15, 2015.

The bill:

  • Authorizes a marine terminal operator or a refinery operator receiving petroleum products derived from crude oil refined in the state to presume the fee has been previously collected.
  • No longer requires the owner of the crude oil or petroleum products to remit the fee to the board.
  • States the intent of the Legislature that the board collect the oil spill prevention and administration fee only upon first delivery to a refinery or marine terminal and not upon the subsequent movement of that same crude oil or petroleum products following that first delivery.
  • Requires every person who operates a refinery in this state, a marine terminal in waters of the state, or a pipeline to transport crude oil out of the state or petroleum products into the state to register with the board for the purposes of the oil spill prevention and administration fee and the uniform oil spill response fee, as applicable.
  • Deletes the definition of oil, and would define barrel to mean 42 gallons of crude oil or petroleum products for these purposes.

AB-1034 (Obernolte): Surface mining and reclamation plans: exemption

Sent to the Governor for signature or veto on September 9, 2015

If signed by the Governor, this bill will:

  • Require a lead agency to consider the construction and operation of a renewable energy generation facility on disturbed mined lands to be an interim use and will prohibit a lead agency from requiring an amendment to an approved reclamation plan if specified criteria are met.
  • Require a lead agency to submit to the director an application for an operating permit for a renewable energy generation facility prior to approving the operating permit, as specified.
  • Authorize the director to prepare written comments to the operating permit application and would require the lead agency, at least 30 days prior to approving the operating permit, to prepare a written response to the director’s comments.

AB-1142 (Gray): Mining and geology: surface mining

AB-1142 failed to move forward prior to the September 11, 2015 deadline and has effectively failed. Stoel Rives will provide an official update as to this bill’s status when available.

AB-1490 Rendon: Oil and gas: well stimulation treatments: seismic activities

AB-1490 is a two-year bill. Stoel Rives will continue to monitor this bill during the 2015-2016 legislative process and will provide updates accordingly.

If passed, this bill would:

  • Prohibit a well operator from conducting a well stimulation treatment following the occurrence of an earthquake of magnitude 2.5 or higher on a well that is within a radius of 10 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake until the division completes a certain evaluation and is satisfied that the well stimulation treatment does not create a heightened risk of seismic activity.
  • Prohibit wastewater disposal wells and all well stimulation treatments within 10 miles of a recently active fault, as defined.
  • Violation of these prohibitions would be a crime.

AB-1501 (Rendon): Well stimulation treatments: emissions

AB-1501 is a two-year bill. Stoel Rives will continue to monitor this bill during the 2015-2016 legislative process and will provide updates accordingly.

If passed, this bill would require:

  • An air quality management district to establish an emission standard for methane from a well stimulation treatment, as defined, or a production facility, as defined, and to issue a permit or other regulatory document to an owner or operator to enforce that standard.
  • The emission standard to include specified components.
  • The State Air Resources Board or an air quality management district, as appropriate, to install monitoring stations near any site approved by the division for a well stimulation treatment or a production facility, as specified.

California Prop 65 Update: OEHHA Issues Pre-Regulatory Proposals That Harm Existing Defenses

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) recently released several new pre-regulatory draft proposals regarding Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”). With one possible exception, the pre-regulatory draft proposals double down on the existing Prop 65 burden for companies doing business in California, and would make defending a Prop 65 action even more costly. In an era when more should be done to curb Prop 65 abusive lawsuits, it is unfortunate to see proposals from OEHHA that further complicate the already difficult Prop 65 defense options.

Click through to read our full analysis.

California Groundwater Update: Public Comments Due For Basin Boundary Regulations

As one of many implementation steps under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA” codified as Water Code §§ 10720 et seq.), basin boundary regulations were released recently by the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”), with a public comment deadline set for Friday, September 4. DWR is holding public meetings this week to solicit public comments (see, The regulations, if approved later this year by the California Water Commission (“CWC”), would take effect on January 1, 2016 to allow local agencies to request changes to existing groundwater basin (or subbasin) boundaries identified in DWR Bulletin 118.

By way of brief background, SGMA is designed to establish sustainable groundwater management and specifically intended for local agencies to manage groundwater by forming a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (“GSA”) by June 30, 2017. A GSA would then need to form a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (“GSP”) by January 31, 2020 for basins in “critical overdraft,” and by January 31, 2022 for “medium- and high-priority” basins not deemed by DWR to be in critical overdraft.

The draft regulations are designed to increase the ability of local agencies to implement SGMA, which is much needed due to local dynamics varying significantly throughout the state such that a “one size fits all” approach does not fit SGMA. CWC approval of basin boundary regulations thus is very likely.

Under the draft regulations, two modification types exist: scientific and jurisdictional. Scientific changes involve preparation of a technical study related to a basin’s hydrogeological characteristics and conditions, while jurisdictional changes seek to expand or contract existing basin boundaries. The draft regulations contain specific criteria DWR will use to analyze a basin boundary change request.

The lack of alignment of GSA boundaries and basin boundaries – whether based on current or modified basin boundaries – present several implications that should be considered by public and private stakeholders. After all, implementation of SGMA impacts all who extract groundwater or rely on a groundwater supply extracted by another person or entity. Examples of implications include: (i) one or more GSAs governing within a basin, which might subject groundwater users to multiple GSAs; and (ii) impact to water rights including for a stakeholder with multiple parcels located in the same basin that could become subject to regulatory oversight by multiple GSAs.

Proactive efforts by local agencies and private stakeholders are critically important throughout the SGMA implementation process in order to preserve individual water rights and water supply interests. Efforts can be as simple as learning which basin those rights or interests arise from; which local agencies seek to be the GSA; and engaging in the basin boundary regulation process.

This blog will continue to monitor this situation as DWR holds additional meetings and formulates more regulations intended for implementing SGMA.