California may finally regulate groundwater pumping by Big Ag, cities


California is the only state in the West that does not fully regulate groundwater pumping. This may finally be about to change. It’s long overdue. Aquifers are being drained, ground is sinking in affected areas, yet some farmers and cities aren’t required to have water meters or regulate the water they use from wells. Decades of foolish water policy are finally catching up with California due to the drought.

In what would be the most significant water law passed in California in nearly 50 years, lawmakers in Sacramento are working with Gov. Jerry Brown on a landmark measure to regulate groundwater pumping for the first time.

Although landowners who want to divert water from reservoirs and rivers have been required to get a permit from the state since 1914, farmers and cities who tap underground aquifers — California’s largest water source — can pump as much as they want, when they want and with almost no oversight or limits.

Unregulated groundwater pumping hurts everyone in California, while making a few wealthy. It needs to be stopped now. Plus, the cost of water to Big Ag and cities needs to rise, something which will also cut usage. This means everyone pays more for water and food. That’s just how it’s going to be.

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