RCRC and CSAC have jointly removed opposition to Senate Bill 552, authored by Senator Bob Hertzberg (D -Van Nuys), which, among other provisions, would have required a county to update its well permit application to include a checkbox or another input method to determine if the reason for the well permit application is due to a dry well, or due to a well that is actively failing or at risk of failing due to drought and water shortage, and report to the department and any groundwater sustainability agencies within its jurisdiction a summary of information on well permits, including the number and locations of both dry wells and wells that are actively failing or at risk of failing due to drought and water shortage.
The provisions containing these well permit reporting were amended into the bill in mid-June, prompting strong opposition by both RCRC and CSAC. However, due to RCRC and CSAC advocacy, these provisions were removed on August 26th, returning the bill to its original subject matter of implementation of recommendations based on DWR’s County Drought Advisory Group report.
RCRC would like to remind member counties that the bill still retains provisions requiring counties to establish a standing county drought task force starting Jan. 2022, per the bill’s specifications, and to develop a county drought response plan—again, as specified. However, the bill provides exceptions to the standing task force requirement for cases where a county: (1) has already established a drought task force by the time of the bill’s enactment in Jan. 2022, or (2) the county establishes an alternative process for “facilitating drought and water shortage preparedness for state small systems and domestic wells” in that county’s jurisdiction. Please refer to the bill text (linked here) for further detail on both the county task force and drought response plan requirements.
SB 552 was approved by the Legislature on Thursday, and headed to the Governor for his consideration. For more information, contact Sidd Nag, RCRC Legislative Advocate, by email or call (916) 447-4806.