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Bill Would Require More Disclosure Before Drilling New Wells

AP Photo/Scott Smith

FILE: Jorge Vargas, a foreman for Maggiora Brothers Drilling Inc., works on drilling an 800-foot-deep water well at an almond farm in Chowchilla, Calif., on Friday, April 4, 2014.

AP Photo/Scott Smith

If you want a new well in California, you might have to let your neighbors know how much water you plan to pump. That's if it's tapping a critically overused aquifer, and if a bill on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk survives calls for a veto.

The bill would step up what’s required to get a permit to drill a well in certain parts of California.

As more people turned to water underground during the drought, California passed rules to require more public information about proposed wells. But those won’t phase in for a few years.

“I think my bill is really necessary, because there’s been a rush to drill before those plans are adopted,” Democratic state Sen. Bill Dodd said.

The proposal targets areas with heavily pumped aquifers, mainly in the San Joaquin Valley, from Merced down to Bakersfield.

Opposition includes the Western Growers Association, which is calling for a veto, citing concerns like privacy and local control. Still, Dodd defends his proposal.

“I just think it’s crazy to wait to provide greater transparency and information while new straws are continually put in the ground," Dodd said.

Gov. Brown has until mid-October to make a decision on the measure. 

Daniel Potter

Reporter

Daniel Potter started out as an intern at Nashville Public Radio, where he worked as a general assignment reporter for six years, covering everything from tornadoes to the statehouse.   Read Full Bio 

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