Policy and Economic Drivers in California which Affect Groundwater Management and Sustainability in Agricultural Regions
A number of significant policy drivers within California influence the ability of water districts and overlying groundwater users to sustain agricultural and rural economies. Changes to state laws, whether driven by the legislature or voter initiative, have altered the state water policies and the groundwater management environment in the state, creating both opportunities and constraints for local water managers and growers. This presentation will describe some of the recent changes to local and state laws in California that serve as policy ?drivers? that can positively and negatively impact agricultural districts when seeking to implement conjunctive use to optimize available surface and groundwater resources and keep agricultural water costs affordable. Trends in special district and local government funding; changes in environmental and land use laws; requirements to coordinate land use and water supply decisions to allocate water; and opportunities for integrated planning all need to be understood by local water managers if they are to work within their communities to optimize the management of available groundwater resources, keep water costs down, prevent overdraft and avoid conflicts and litigation.