RCRC has expressed support for Assembly Bill 754, authored by Assembly Member Devon Mathis (R-Inyo), which would authorize the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to extend the deadline for submission of a groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) for a high- or medium-priority basin by up-to-180 days after January 31, 2022 upon the request of a local agency or groundwater sustainability agency.

Since their enactment over five years ago, the laws and regulations that are collectively referred to as the “Sustainable Groundwater Management Act” (SGMA) have directed local agencies to undertake significant research, analysis, planning, and political brokering over the management of local groundwater resources. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions, as well as other challenges to conducting robust stakeholder engagement and public review, local governments have been greatly hindered from conducting the kind of public process that they intended in order to meet the comprehensive requirements for submitting plans for high- and medium-priority basins. This bill will allow counties and groundwater sustainability agencies that encountered issues with drafting GSPs in 2020 to request additional time to ensure that plans submitted to DWR are informed by the stakeholder and public input necessary to meet the requirements of SGMA.

AB 754 was heard at the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife on April 26th, and passed with nine votes in support and four opposed (and with two committee members not recording a vote). RCRC and Modoc County Supervisor Geri Byrne testified in lead support of the bill. AB 754 will next be heard Wednesday, May 19th in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC’s letters of support are available here. For more information, contact Sidd Nag, RCRC Legislative Advocate by email or call (916) 447-4806.