California's groundwater provides about 40 percent of the state's water supply - more during dry years.
The Department of Water Resources has now released the first draft regulations to manage groundwater sustainably. The plan lays out the steps local public agencies will need to take to prevent chronic groundwater overdraft.
Excessive pumping of groundwater during the drought has caused wells to go dry and land to sink in California's Central Valley. In 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation aimed at preventing that problem.
The new draft regulations require local agencies to identify when and where groundwater conditions cause problems, such as saltwater intrusion or a decline in water quality. It describes how agencies should monitor and measure groundwater supplies.
A public comment period on the draft regulations ends on March 25th. The Department of Water Resources will also hold three public meetings between March 21st and 25th.