"Some farmers are going to be having to cut back at least in the short run," said Doug Parker, director of the UC California Institute for Water Resources.
Thomas Harter, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis, predicted the farmers' successors will appreciate the coming regulations.
"In the long run, my view is that the next generation and two generations down of farmers will find this a lifesaver," Harter said.
The bills waiting for the governor's signature won't provide an instant fix, the story said. The law will take years to implement and it could take decades for the most depleted groundwater basins recover.
In most years, groundwater amounts to 30 to 45 percent of the state's water supply, but in dry periods, it increases to 60 percent. The new law will direct local public agencies to develop sustainable groundwater management plans. If they fail, the State Water Resources Control Board steps in. The legislation gives local basin managers the ability to:
- Collect fees from groundwater users
- Monitor withdrawals
- Limit pumping
- Buy water or water rights to replenish aquifers
The Association of California Water Agencies supports the new regulations; agricultural interests are opposed, the article says.
"We thought these bills were too far-reaching," said Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation.