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AB-2649 Water rights: water management.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/25/2018 09:00 PM
AB2649:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 25, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 04, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 22, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2649


Introduced by Assembly Member Arambula

February 15, 2018


An act to amend Sections 1242 and 1426 and 10720.5 of, and to add Section 1432 to, the Water Code, relating to water.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2649, as amended, Arambula. Water rights: water management.
Under existing law, the State Water Resources Control Board administers a water rights program pursuant to which the board grants permits and licenses to appropriate water. Existing law allows a person who has an urgent need to divert and use water to apply for, and the board to issue, a temporary permit, as prescribed. Existing law requires an applicant to pay an application fee and a permit fee, if a temporary permit is issued, both computed as specified.
This bill would require the board to prioritize a temporary permit for a project that enhances the ability of a local or state agency to capture high precipitation events for local storage or recharge, consistent with water rights priorities and protections for fish and wildlife. The bill would exempt temporary permits for these projects from the California Environmental Quality Act. The bill would require the board to set a reduced application fee for an applicant for a temporary permit for these projects.
The California Constitution requires that the water resources of the state be put to beneficial use to the fullest extent of which they are capable and that the waste or unreasonable use or unreasonable method of use of water be prevented. Existing law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, requires all groundwater basins designated as high- or medium-priority basins by the Department of Water Resources that are designated as basins subject to critical conditions of overdraft to be managed under a groundwater sustainability plan or coordinated groundwater sustainability plans by January 31, 2020, and requires all other groundwater basins designated as high- or medium-priority basins to be managed under a groundwater sustainability plan or coordinated groundwater sustainability plans by January 31, 2022, except as specified. The act requires groundwater management pursuant to the act to be consistent with the constitutional provision and provides that the act does not modify rights or priorities to use or store groundwater consistent with the constitutional provision, with a specified exception relating to claims of prescription. Under existing law, nothing in the act or in any adopted groundwater management plan determines or alters surface water rights or groundwater rights, as specified. The act authorizes water rights to be determined in a comprehensive adjudication action.Under existing law, the right to water or to the use of water is limited to that amount of water that may be reasonably required for the beneficial use to be served. Existing law provides for the reversion of water rights to which a person is entitled when the person fails to beneficially use the water for a period of 5 years. Existing law provides that the storing of water underground, including the diversion of streams and the flowing of water on lands necessary to the accomplishment of the storage, constitutes a beneficial use of water if the stored water is thereafter applied to the beneficial purposes for which the appropriation for storage was made.
This bill would require groundwater recharge or groundwater banking, or both, undertaken pursuant to or consistent with a groundwater sustainability plan adopted pursuant to the act or otherwise authorized by a groundwater sustainability agency to be deemed a beneficial and reasonable use of water consistent with the constitutional provision. instead provide that the diversion of water to underground storage constitutes a diversion of water for beneficial use for which an appropriation may be made if the diverted water is put to beneficial use, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 1242 of the Water Code is amended to read:

1242.
 The storing of diversion of water underground, to underground storage, including the diversion of streams and the flowing of water on lands necessary to the accomplishment of such storage, water for groundwater recharge, constitutes a diversion of water for beneficial use of water for which an appropriation may be made if the diverted water so stored is thereafter applied to the beneficial purposes for which the appropriation for storage was made. is put to beneficial use consistent with this division. The beneficial use of water diverted to underground storage is not limited to uses requiring subsequent extraction or release of the stored water and may include beneficial uses such as protection of water quality made while the water is in underground storage. The forfeiture periods in Sections 1240 and 1241 do not include any period when the water is being used in the aquifer or storage area or is being held in underground storage for later application to beneficial use.

SECTION 1.SEC. 2.

 Section 1426 of the Water Code is amended to read:

1426.
 (a) The application for a temporary permit shall be completed in accordance with the provisions of Section 1260 and shall be accompanied by such maps, drawings, and other data as may be required by the board.
(b) An applicant for a temporary permit shall pay an application fee, and a permit fee if a temporary permit is issued, both computed in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 1525) of this part. The board shall set a reduced application fee for an applicant for a temporary permit for a project that enhances the ability of a local or state agency to capture high precipitation events for local storage or recharge.

SEC. 2.SEC. 3.

 Section 1432 is added to the Water Code, to read:

1432.
 (a) The board shall prioritize a temporary permit for a project that enhances the ability of a local or state agency to capture high precipitation events for local storage or recharge, consistent with water rights priorities and protections for fish and wildlife.
(b) Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code does not apply to actions by the board on a temporary permit for a project that enhances the ability of a local or state agency to capture high precipitation events for local storage or recharge.

SEC. 3.Section 10720.5 of the Water Code is amended to read:
10720.5.

(a)Groundwater management pursuant to this part shall be consistent with Section 2 of Article X of the California Constitution. Nothing in this part modifies rights or priorities to use or store groundwater consistent with Section 2 of Article X of the California Constitution, except that in basins designated medium- or high-priority basins by the department, no extraction of groundwater between January 1, 2015, and the date of adoption of a groundwater sustainability plan pursuant to this part or the approval by the department of an alternative submitted under Section 10733.6, whichever is sooner, may be used as evidence of, or to establish or defend against, any claim of prescription.

(b)Nothing in this part, or in any groundwater management plan adopted pursuant to this part, determines or alters surface water rights or groundwater rights under common law or any provision of law that determines or grants surface water rights.

(c)Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), groundwater recharge or groundwater banking, or both, undertaken pursuant to or consistent with a groundwater sustainability plan adopted pursuant to this part or otherwise authorized by a groundwater sustainability agency shall be deemed a beneficial and reasonable use of water consistent with Section 2 of Article X of the California Constitution.

(d)Water rights may be determined in an adjudication action pursuant to Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 10 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure.