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Analysis of California's Mega-Water Bill, SB 820

On 10/07/2005 "The Governator" vetoed SB 820, California's Mega Water Bill that would have offered significant advantages to Borrego as well as many other areas of the state.

SB 820

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Date of Hearing: August 17, 2005


Judy Chu, Chair

SB 820 (Kuehl) - As Amended: August 15, 2005

Policy Committee: Water, Parks & Wildlife Vote: 8-2

Urgency: No State Mandated Local Program:

No Reimbursable:


This bill expands and enhances the processes by which the

Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water

Resources Control Board (SWRCB) collect and compile data related

to the supply of surface water and groundwater to determine the

status of existing water supplies and to project future water

supply needs.


1)Potentially significant ongoing costs, up to $2.5 million

annually starting in FY 2007-08, to the SWRCB to receive and

process groundwater extraction notices from potentially

thousands of new extractors. The actual cost is likely to be

less since persons who extract groundwater would be exempt

from filing the notices if other conditions are met. The

SWRCB is authorized to cover costs associated with processing

these notices with revenue generated by a filing fee. (Water

Rights Fund.)

2)Moderate GF costs, about $300,000 starting in FY 2012-13 and

periodically thereafter, to DWR to include energy-related

information in the California Water Plan (CWP).


Specifically, this bill:

1)Expands, starting January 1, 2007 from four counties (Los

Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura) to statewide,

the requirement that persons who extract significant volumes

SB 820

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of groundwater file, with the State Water Resources Control

Board (SWRCB), a "Notice of Extraction and Diversion of Water,

unless these extractions are made in an area governed by a

Groundwater Management Plan (GMP) and information is provided

and updated via two other basinwide reporting options.

2)Requires GMPs to be updated by local agencies by December 31,

2008 and every five years thereafter and to provide more

information on the plan's effectiveness and progress in

assuring adequate water supplies, and requires an adopted GMP

to be delivered to more entities.

3)Reduces the circumstances under which a person who diverts

surface water is exempt from reporting statement requirements

and makes a person who fails to file a statement ineligible

for funds provided by SWRCB, DWR, or the California Bay-Delta

Authority (CBDA).

4)Requires the California Water Plan (CWP), developed and

periodically updated by DWR as the department's "Bulletin

160," to include information on the amount of energy produced

and used by various water supply methods and to add to CWP

assumptions and estimates the amount of this energy associated

with current and projected water supply needs.

5)Increases notification and availability requirements for Urban

Water Management Plans (UWMPs) by, among other things, adding

agencies and other entities that must receive a copy and by

requiring an UWMP to be posted on an appropriate website.

6)Reinstates and updates the requirement that an agricultural

water supplier prepare an Agricultural Water Management Plan

(AWMP), modifies the circumstances under which an AWMP must be

prepared, requires an adopted AWMP to be delivered to more

entities and be made available on an appropriate website, and

requires the AWMP to be updated every five years.

7)Reinstates the requirement that DWR investigate the status of

the state's groundwater basins, requires an initial report by

January 1, 2010, and an update every five years.

8)Makes any entity who violates the reporting requirements

associated with extractions, GMPs, UWMPs, and AWMPs,

ineligible for funds provided by the SWRCB, DWR, or the CBDA.

SB 820

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9)Requires DWR, starting in 2007 and biennially thereafter, to

report to State Water Project (SWP) contractors and local and

regional water planning departments in the SWP service area on

overall water delivery capability and allocations to each

contractor and on deliveries and allocations for each of the

ten prior years. (This provision codifies the "Monterey

Agreement" whereby DWR settle a lawsuit brought by the

Planning and Conservation League.)


Rationale . The author contends that DWR, SWRCB, and other state

and local agencies that regulate water supply and water use do

not currently have enough data about water supply and water use

to enable them to effectively determine current status and to

project long-term water supply and water use needs. Because

groundwater extractions only have to be reported in four

counties and because most groundwater basins are not managed to

ensure adequate supply and beneficial use, there is little

information available to help ensure the long-term well-being

and availability of groundwater supplies in California. The

author believes SB 820 expands the base of information on

California's groundwater use and use of water, primarily for

agriculture. California is one of only two states without a

comprehensive, statewide groundwater regulatory system.

Analysis Prepared by : Steve Archibald / APPR. / (916)


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