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Brown Signs Groundwater Legislation

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown signs groundwater legislation on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014.

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

It’s going to become more difficult to drill a well in California. Katie Orr Governor Jerry Brown today signed a package of groundwater legislation signed into law.

The regulations will require local agencies to create and implement groundwater management planswithin five years and meet groundwater sustainability levels within 20 years. Brown says the laws, combined with the Legislature's bi-partisan approval of a water bond slated for the November ballot, represent a giant step forward toward securing the state’s water supply.

“Just signing the bill today is only the beginning,” Brown says. “This process that is set in motion by the law is going to take many, many years.”

But Republican Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen says unlike the water bond, the groundwater legislation was pushed through in the final weeks of session without vital input from stakeholders.

“We could have had real, viable solutions that will protect and enhance our groundwater resources without inflicting so much harm on the people and the farmers and the businesses that call the Central Valley their home,” she says.

Olsen is already working on clean-up bills to introduce next year. Brown says he'll also propose legislation aimed at streamlining the process of settling water rights disputes.