groundwater

Here Today, Gone to Maui

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Environment-Friendly Ruling in Major Clean Water Act Case

This week the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the Court’s most important environmental law case of the current Term: County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund.  In a somewhat surprising ruling, the justices rejected both sides’ argument over the scope of government authority to regulate water pollution discharges under the federal Clean Water …

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The World’s Looming Water Crisis

Climate Change Worsens Chronic Water Shortages for One-Quarter of Earth’s Population

The World Resources Institute recently released a disturbing report chronicling increased, dire water shortages around the globe that threaten millions of the earth’s inhabitants.  Climate change is a major contributing factor.  Public health crises, social unrest and global political conflicts are the inevitable consequences if the problem is not addressed successfully–and soon. “17 Countries, Home …

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Groundwater Recharge in the SGMA Era

California clarifies beneficial use guidelines for recharge projects addressing SGMA undesirable results

Implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was always going to be tricky. Part of the necessary growing pains of SGMA is determining how the revolutionary statute interacts with traditional tenets of water law. As with any other sweeping legislative change, SGMA does not provide direct answers for every practical question which arises as …

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2019 California Water Law Symposium Set for February 2nd in San Francisco

This Year’s Edition of the Award-Winning Event Focuses on Groundwater Management

The 15th Annual California Water Law Symposium will convene on Saturday, February 2, 2019. This year’s Symposium venue is the UC Hastings College of the Law in downtown San Francisco. The theme of next month’s Symposium is California groundwater, with a focus on implementation of the state’s landmark 2014 legislation, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”). The Water Law …

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When are markets appropriate tools for sustainably managing groundwater?

New report from Berkeley Law’s CLEE outlines critical considerations for local groundwater markets under SGMA

Locals implementing California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) are rapidly turning from questions about who will manage groundwater and how they should approach institutional design to next-level questions: What does sustainability mean for a particular basin, and how will local managers achieve it? One of many potential management tools is a local groundwater market. SGMA opens the door …

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Tragedy of the Commons–California Drought-Style

State Farmers Planting New Almond Orchards Despite Critical Water Shortages

Traveling through California’s drought-striken San Joaquin Valley repeatedly over the past year, I’ve been surprised and disheartened to see that Valley farmers continue to convert their agricultural fields to newly-planted almond orchards.  (My anecdotal observations have been confirmed by various recent press accounts.)  This development is a striking, current example of Garrett Hardin’s Tragedy of …

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Accelerating Cost-Effective Green Stormwater Infrastructure: Learning from Local Implementation

A new Berkeley Law report

California decision makers focused on responding to the current drought might question whether stormwater deserves a slice of their attention right now. Although it might be tempting to relegate stormwater planning, management decisions, and infrastructure improvements to a back burner until drought concerns cool off, doing so would be counterproductive. Below, I explain why stormwater management is relevant …

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California’s New Groundwater Law: An Interactive Timeline

Groundwater irrigation

What are the major deadlines for local groundwater management agencies, and when can—or must—state agencies act?

Many (including Legal Planet’s own Rick Frank) have examined the pros and cons of California’s new locally-focused groundwater management law.  Such analyses will continue to be critically important as state and local players move forward with the nitty-gritty of actual implementation, and the legislation’s practical, on-the-ground (and under-the-ground) implications become clearer. In this post, however, my goal …

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Groundwater Management Lite for California

New State Groundwater Legislation a Key Step Forward, But No Immediate Fix or Long-Term Panacea

The California Legislature, in the waning hours of its 2014 session, enacted legislation creating a first-ever  statewide system of groundwater management.  The three-bill package (SB 1168 [Pavley]; SB 1319 [Pavley]; and AB 1719 [Dickinson]) is expected to be signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown before the end of this month, and will take …

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Is California Finally Ready to Get Serious About Groundwater Reform?

Prospects Good for Passage of Landmark Groundwater Legislation

California, which prides itself as being a national and international leader in so many areas of environmental policy, lags woefully behind other jurisdictions when it comes to at least one subject area: groundwater regulation.  Alone among the Western states in the U.S., California lacks any statewide system of groundwater regulation and planning.  (Until a few …

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