“Prohibition of water mining. It shall be unlawful within (municipality) for any corporation or government to dig water wells to a depth greater than the most shallow of the three closest lawfully-constructed water wells.”
Water Wells – Permitting – Critical Water Basins-Summary
SB 252 will require new well permit applicants in critically overdrafted basins to provide basic information about their proposed well, and inform their neighbors about their intent to build a new well. It will require cities and counties in critically overdrafted basins to make new well permit applications public prior to approval. It provides technical assistance to cities and counties to help implement this act.
According to the California Department of Water Resources, 21 groundwater basins throughout the state are deemed “critically overdrafted,” causing wells to dry up, land to subside and damage infrastructure, saltwater to intrude from the sea, and jeopardizing the availability of groundwater for future generations.
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act was a critical step toward achieving groundwater sustainability. However, it will not be fully implemented for several years, allowing groundwater overdraft to continue, negatively impacting water supplies for existing pumpers.
|Greater transparency is needed to provide existing pumpers and landowners in critically overdrafted basins with important information about the use of shared groundwater resources, specifically regarding applications for new well permits.|
In 2014, California adopted landmark legislation, the Sustainable Groundwater
Management Act (Part 2.74 (commencing with Section 10720) of Division 6 of the Water Code), to sustainably manage groundwater resources.
Protects groundwater pumpers and landowners most at risk from increased groundwater overdraft by increasing transparency about proposed new wells in critically overdrafted basins.
Informs existing pumpers and landowners in critically overdrafted basins by requiring new well permit applicants to notify their neighbors of their intent and provide basic information about the proposed well, and by requiring cities and counties to make the details of new well permit applications publicly available, prior to approval. Exempts small domestic wells, replacement wells, and cities or counties with ordinances that protect existing pumpers from increased overdraft.
Clean Water Action
Environmental Justice Coalition for Water
Sierra Club California
Planning and Conservation League
Leadership Council for Justice & Accountability
CA. League of Conservation Voters
The Nature Conservancy
North County Watch
CA. Coastal Protection Network
Community Water Center
North Coast Stream Flow Coalition
Union of Concerned Scientists
Environmental Defense Fund
Agricultural Council of California
Almond Alliance of California
Association of California Egg Farmers
California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers
California Association of Wheat Growers
California Bean Shippers Association
California Business Properties Association
California Chamber of Commerce
California Citrus Mutual
California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association, Inc.
California Dairies, Inc.
California Farm Bureau Federation
California Fresh Fruit Association
California Grain and Feed
California League of Food Processors
California Pear Growers Association
California Seed Association
California Strawberry Commission
California Tomato Growers Association
California Warehouse Association
Far West Equipment Dealers Association
Milk Producers Council
Nisei Farmers League
Western Agricultural Processors Association
Western Growers Association
Western Plant Health Association
Kings River Conservation District
In Paso Robles, financiers are buying up vineyards for the unfettered water rights and selling it back to residents. Paso Robles had a vineyard explosion that led to dry wells and drilling over 1,200 feet into ancient aquifers. This is a must see film. A few more drought years and this could be common place to mine the resources that belong to everyone for corporate profit. Vineyards were not watered until 1970. Water means profits and production since watering began has almost doubled tonnage per acre.
Director Marina Zenovich refers to her new film as “Chinatown,” the documentary. The filmmaker’s latest work “Water & Power: A California Heist” shines the spotlight on modern-day water barons in California’s San Joaquin Valley and the backroom deals that have helped pad their pockets.
Stewart and Lynda Resnick, owners of the Wonderful Company, feature prominently, as does the Kern County Water Bank they partially control, and the Monterey Amendments, which helped make that possible.
In the film, lush orchards are juxtaposed with local residents whose taps have run dry, as the film explores the impacts of California’s drought and the valley’s groundwater crisis. It also zeros in on business interests looking for lucrative groundwater in other parts of the state.
“Water & Power,” produced by Academy Award-winner Alex Gibney, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and has begun airing on the National Geographic Channel in 171 countries.
Journalists at Water Deeply recently spoke with Zenovich, who is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, and Adam Keats, an attorney with the Center for Food Safety, who is featured in the film.
Images: Marina Zenovich is the director of “Water & Power: A California Heist,” a new film airing on the National Geographic Channel. Jeff Vespa/WireImage A still from the film shows a pipeline allegedly owned by Stewart Resnick bringing water from Dudley Ridge to Lost Hills. National Geographic/Ted Gesing