Governor Signs Jackson Bill to Ensure an Accurate Picture of Groundwater Supplies
In the midst of California’s severe and record-breaking drought, Governor Jerry Brown has just signed a bill by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) to allow a groundwater management agency in Ventura County to inspect wells to verify how much water has been withdrawn.
Senate Bill 988 authorizes the Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency (FCGMA) to inspect any groundwater extraction facility within its boundaries with the consent of an owner to gather information on the status of the well. Currently, the agency relies on self-reporting, which can include omissions and errors.
“During this drought, groundwater is becoming more and more precious and in ever shorter supply,” said Jackson. “Just like a bank account, local agencies need to accurately know just how much is in the account, and how much is being withdrawn, to be wise stewards of this very precious shared resource. This provides a Ventura County water management agency with an important tool to better assess and manage its limited groundwater during this period of extreme drought and in the future.”
If the owner does not provide consent, this bill allows the agency to seek a warrant to inspect the facility.
Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency currently manages 1,200 wells in the Fox Canyon Aquifer in Ventura County, the majority of them on agricultural land.