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News & Views Magazine

Edition 1, 2015

By Trudi Hughes and John Larrea

CLFP Government Affairs Directors

Water Supply Issues:

Mandatory Water Reductions

On April 1, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown issued an

executive order which directed the State Water Board

to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and

towns across California to reduce potable urban water

usage by 25 percent statewide. OnMay 5, 2015, the State

Water Resources Control Board unanimously approved

emergency regulations to implement the governor’s

executive order.

The emergency regulations include:

• Mandatory 25% reduction in potable urban water


• Commercial, industrial and institutional potable

water use reductions;

• Prohibition on using potable water for irrigation of

ornamental turf in street medians;

• Prohibition on using potable water for irrigation

outside of new home construction without drip or

micro-spray systems;

CLFP expressed concerns to the State Water Board

about maintaining the current statutory process

water exemption that provides water suppliers the

flexibility to exempt industrial water users from water

conservation mandates.


Last year the California Legislature passed and

the governor signed the Sustainable Groundwater

Management Act (SGMA) of 2014. In brief, this Act

requires the adoption of a “groundwater sustainability

plan” (GSP) for all high or medium priority basins. The

Act allows any local agency or combination of agencies to

establish a groundwater sustainability agency (GSA) for

the purpose of developing and implementing a GSP.

There are several legislative efforts currently underway

to provide clean-up to the Act. These efforts include

an expedited adjudication process to help provide

more certainty in existing water rights and designating

groundwater storage as a beneficial use.

CLFP also is monitoring the efforts of the Department

of Water Resources (DWR) in implementing its new

and expanded responsibilities under SGMA, including:

(1) developing regulations to revise groundwater basin

boundaries; (2) adopting regulations for evaluating

and implementing GSPs and coordination agreements;

(3) identifying basins subject to critical conditions

of overdraft; (4) identifying water available for

groundwater replenishment; and (5) publishing best

management practices for the sustainable management

of groundwater.

On March 13, 2015, DWR released a draft strategic

plan that describes its new responsibilities and vision

for carrying out the SGMA. DWR is requesting public

comment feedback on the plan by June 1, 2015.

DWR also hosted public listening sessions in late April

and early May regarding the development of Emergency

Regulations on Groundwater Basin Boundary Revisions.

According to DWR, these listening sessions were in

addition and prior to the required public meetings that

will occur once the draft regulations are developed. DWR

presented information and will be seeking input on basin

boundary issues that could create potential difficulties

with SGMA implementation.

Water Bond/Storage

In November 2014, California voters passed Proposition

1, a $7.5 billion water bond. The bond provides $2.7

billion to increase the state’s water storage capacity

and designates the California Water Commission as the

state agency responsible for developing and adopting

Regulatory Report