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SB-252 Water wells.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 06/15/2017 04:00 AM
SB252:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  June 14, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  May 02, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  April 17, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  March 13, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 252


Introduced by Senator Dodd

February 07, 2017


An act to amend Section 13751 of, to add Sections 106.1 and 10729.4 to, and to add Article 5 (commencing with Section 13807) to Chapter 10 of Division 7 of, the Water Code, relating to groundwater.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 252, as amended, Dodd. Water wells.
(1) Existing provisions of the California Constitution declare the policy that the water resources of the state be put to beneficial use to the fullest extent of which they are capable, that the waste or unreasonable use or unreasonable method of use of water be prevented, and that the conservation of these waters is to be exercised with a view to the reasonable and beneficial use of the waters in the interest of the people and for the public welfare. Existing law establishes various state water policies, including the policy that the use of water for domestic purposes is the highest use of water.
This bill would require, in an action alleging liability for interference with a well, reasonableness of each party’s beneficial use of water to be determined through consideration of specified factors.
(2) Existing law requires the State Water Resources Control Board to adopt a model water well, cathodic protection well, and monitoring well drilling and abandonment ordinance implementing certain standards for water well construction, maintenance, and abandonment and requires each county, city, or water agency, where appropriate, not later than January 15, 1990, to adopt a water well, cathodic protection well, and monitoring well drilling and abandonment ordinance that meets or exceeds certain standards. Under existing law, if a county, city, or water agency, where appropriate, fails to adopt an ordinance establishing water well, cathodic protection well, and monitoring well drilling and abandonment standards, the model ordinance adopted by the state board is required to take effect on February 15, 1990, and is required to be enforced by the county or city and have the same force and effect as if adopted as a county or city ordinance.
This bill would require an applicant for a new well permit in a city or county overlying a critically overdrafted basin, as defined, and where the proposed well is located within a critically overdrafted basin, to comply with certain requirements as part of an application for a well permit. The bill would require a city or county that receives an application for a well permit in a critically overdrafted basin to make certain information about the new well included in the application for a well permit available to groundwater sustainability agencies and publicly available and easily accessible and, before issuing any new well permit, to undertake a notice and comment period that includes a noticed public hearing, meeting, as prescribed. The bill would authorize a city or county to issue a new well permit pursuant to an adopted ordinance within a critically overdrafted basin when these requirements have been met. By increasing the duties of cities and counties, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(3) Existing law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, requires all groundwater basins designated as high- or medium-priority basins by the department and designated as 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 authorizes the department to provide technical assistance to any groundwater sustainability agency in response to that agency’s request for assistance in the development and implementation of a groundwater sustainability plan.
This bill would require the department to provide cities and counties overlying a critically overdrafted basin with ongoing technical assistance to implement the provisions described in paragraph (2).
(4) Existing law requires a person who digs, bores, or drills a water well, cathodic protection well, groundwater monitoring well, or geothermal heat exchange well, or abandons or destroys a well, or deepens or reperforates a well, to file a report of completion, containing certain required information, with the department. Under existing law, the failure to comply with this requirement or the willful and deliberate falsification of a report of completion is a misdemeanor.
This bill would require a well completion report for a water well in a city or county overlying a critically overdrafted basin to include certain additional information, including, among other things, the proposed capacity, estimated pumping rate, anticipated pumping schedule, and estimated annual extraction volume. By adding to reporting requirements, the violation of which is a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(5) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for specified reasons.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 106.1 is added to the Water Code, to read:

106.1.
 In an action alleging liability for interference with a well, the reasonableness of each party’s beneficial use of water shall be determined through consideration of the following factors:
(a) The purpose of the use.
(b) The extent and amount of the harm caused by extractions for that use.
(c) The practicality of avoiding the harm by adjusting the use or method of use of one water user or the other.
(d) The practicality of adjusting the quantity of the water used by each water user.
(e) The protection of existing values of water uses, land investments, and enterprises.
(f) The justice of requiring the user causing harm to bear the loss.

SEC. 2.

 Section 10729.4 is added to the Water Code, to read:

10729.4.
 The department shall provide a city or county overlying a basin designated by the department as subject to critical conditions of overdraft with ongoing technical assistance to implement Article 5 (commencing with Section 13807) of Chapter 10 of Division 7.

SEC. 3.

 Section 13751 of the Water Code is amended to read:

13751.
 (a) Every person who digs, bores, or drills a water well, cathodic protection well, groundwater monitoring well, or geothermal heat exchange well, abandons or destroys such a well, or deepens or reperforates such a well, shall file with the department a report of completion of that well within 60 days from the date its construction, alteration, abandonment, or destruction is completed.
(b) The report shall be made on forms furnished by the department and shall contain information as follows:
(1) In the case of a water well, cathodic protection well, or groundwater monitoring well, the report shall contain information as required by the department, including, but not limited to, all of the following information:
(A) A description of the well site sufficiently exact to permit location and identification of the well.
(B) A detailed log of the well.
(C) A description of the type of construction.
(D) The details of perforation.
(E) The methods used for sealing off surface or contaminated waters.
(F) The methods used for preventing contaminated waters of one aquifer from mixing with the waters of another aquifer.
(G) The signature of the well driller.
(2) In the case of a geothermal heat exchange well, the report shall contain all of the following information:
(A) A description of the site that is sufficiently exact to permit the location and identification of the site and the number of geothermal heat exchange wells drilled on the same lot.
(B) A description of borehole diameter and depth and the type of geothermal heat exchange system installed.
(C) The methods and materials used to seal off surface or contaminated waters.
(D) The methods used for preventing contaminated water in one aquifer from mixing with the water in another aquifer.
(E) The signature of the well driller.
(3) In the case of a water well overlying a critically overdrafted basin, as defined in Section 13807.5, the report shall contain the information described in subdivision (e) of Section 13808 in addition to the information required by paragraph (1).

SEC. 4.

 Article 5 (commencing with Section 13807) is added to Chapter 10 of Division 7 of the Water Code, to read:
Article  5. Wells in Critically Overdrafted Groundwater Basins

13807.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) According to the Department of Water Resources, among the 512 basins throughout the state, 21 are deemed critically overdrafted, causing wells to dry up, land to subside and damage infrastructure, and saltwater to intrude from the sea, and jeopardizing the availability of groundwater for future generations.
(b) In 2014, California adopted landmark legislation, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (Part 2.74 (commencing with Section 10720) of Division 6), to sustainably manage groundwater resources. The act will not be fully implemented for several years, allowing groundwater overdraft to continue in some regions.
(c) The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act was a critical step toward achieving sustainability in the management of groundwater, but it did not directly address the impact of land use decisions and well drilling. The act left the authority for issuing permits for new wells and any associated land use decisions entirely with counties, unless that authority is delegated to a groundwater sustainability agency pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 10726.4.
(d) Consistent with Section 113 and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, this article supports groundwater management by local agencies and is not a limitation on the authority of local agencies or the state under any other law.
(e) Greater transparency is needed to provide existing pumpers and water users in critically overdrafted basins with important information about the use of shared groundwater resources, specifically regarding applications for new well permits.
(f) Those applying for permits for new wells in a critically overdrafted basin should understand the risks of making those investments and the potential impact on existing groundwater users.
(g) New wells are likely to threaten existing groundwater users in critically overdrafted basins, which is an issue of statewide importance and requires statewide action to avoid undesirable results to groundwater and state resources while local communities are working to comply with the provisions of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Preventing undesirable results in critically overdrafted basins pursuant to this article is a matter of statewide concern and not a municipal affair, as that term is used in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution. Therefore, this act applies to charter cities.
(h) This act is in furtherance of the policy contained in Section 2 of Article X of the California Constitution.

13807.5.
 As used in this article:
(a) “Basin” has the meaning provided in Section 10721.
(b) “Critically overdrafted basin” means a basin designated by the department as subject to critical conditions of overdraft pursuant to Section 12924.
(c) “De minimis extractor” has the meaning provided in Section 10721.
(d) “Groundwater sustainability agency” has the meaning provided in Section 10721.
(e) “Groundwater sustainability plan” has the meaning provided in Section 10721.
(f) “High-priority basin” and “medium-priority basin” have the same meaning as the categorization of a basin by the department pursuant to Section 10722.4.
(g) “Undesirable results” has the meaning provided in Section 10721.

13808.
 An applicant for a new well permit in a city or county overlying a critically overdrafted basin, and where the proposed well is located within a critically overdrafted basin, shall do all of the following as part of an application for a well permit:
(a) Verify that the applicant has read subdivision (a) of Section 10720.5, and acknowledges that the extraction of groundwater may not be used as evidence of, or to establish or defend against, any claim of prescription in a medium- or high-priority basin between January 1, 2015, and the date of adoption of a groundwater sustainability plan or the approval by the department of an alternative, whichever is sooner.
(b) Notify any lenders for the new well of subdivision (a).
(c) Agree that if the groundwater sustainability agency finds through the development of a groundwater sustainability plan that the new well contributes to an undesirable result, the new well will cease production unless the applicant can contribute to an offset or other course of action determined by the groundwater sustainability agency.
(d) Notify all adjacent contiguous landowners of the application for the well permit and permit, where it can be found for review review, and the public hearing meeting and opportunity for public comment, pursuant to Section 13808.2.
(e) Include all of the following information to the extent that it can be reasonably known about the new well in the application for the well permit:
(1) A map of the location, as well as information including, but not limited to, global positioning system coordinates and elevation of the proposed well.
(2) The depth.
(3) The proposed capacity, estimated pumping rate, anticipated pumping schedule, and estimated annual extraction volume.
(4) The geologic siting information, including, but not limited to, water table depth, seasonal fluctuations, recharge area and rate, if known, and location to flood plain.
(5) The distance from any potential sources of pollution on site and on adjacent properties, including, but not limited to, existing or proposed septic systems, wells, animal or fowl enclosures, transmission lines, or sewer lines.
(6) The distance from any surface water within 300 feet, including, but not limited to, ponds, lakes, streams, and wetlands.
(7) Any existing wells on the property, including well use, depth, diameter, screen interval, pumping rate, estimated or measured annual extraction volume, and, if available, information on specific capacity or other pumping tests completed.
(8) For a well below Corcoran clay, the location of canals, ditches, pipelines, utility corridors, and roads within two miles.
(9) The estimated cumulative extraction volume before January 1, 2020, and after 20 years.
(10) The size in acres of the area to be served by the well and the size in acres of the contiguous owned property on which the well is located.
(11) The planned category of water use, such as irrigation, stock, domestic, municipal, industrial, or other.
(f) Verify that the applicant has complied with all requirements of this section and include a list of all notified parties pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (d).

13808.2.
 A city or county that receives an application for a well permit in a critically overdrafted basin shall do both of the following:
(a) Make the information provided pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 13808 publicly available and easily accessible, such as by posting the information on the city’s or county’s Internet Web site, and available to groundwater sustainability agencies located within the basin where the new well is located.
(b) Before issuing any new well permit for a well located within a critically overdrafted basin, undertake a notice and comment period that includes a public hearing meeting noticed pursuant to Section 65091 of the Government Code subdivision (c) that gives landowners, groundwater sustainability agencies, and other groundwater extractors an opportunity to comment on the application for the new wells.
(c) (1) Notice of the meeting shall be mailed or delivered at least 10 days prior to the meeting to all owners of real property as shown on the latest equalized assessment roll within 300 feet of the real property upon which the proposed well is located. In lieu of using the assessment roll, the agency may use records of the county assessor or tax collector that contain more recent information than the assessment roll. If the number of owners to whom notice would be mailed or delivered pursuant to this paragraph is greater than 1,000, the city or county, in lieu of mailed or delivered notice, may provide notice by placing a display advertisement of at least one-eighth page in at least one newspaper of general circulation within the city or county in which the proceeding is conducted at least 10 days prior to the meeting.
(2) If the notice is mailed or delivered pursuant to paragraph (1), the notice shall also either be:
(A) Published pursuant to Section 6061 in at least one newspaper of general circulation within the city or county at least 10 days prior to the meeting.
(B) Posted at least 10 days prior to the meeting in at least three public places within the boundaries of the city or county, including one public place in the area directly affected by the proceeding.
(3) The notice shall include the date, time, and place of the meeting, the identity of the officer or body responsible for issuing the well permit or his or her designee who will conduct the meeting, a general explanation of the matter to be considered, and a general description, in text or by diagram, of the location of the real property upon which the proposed well would be located.

13808.4.
 (a) Pursuant to an adopted ordinance, a A city or county may issue a new well permit within a critically overdrafted basin when the requirements of this article have been met. met, in addition to any requirements set forth in an ordinance adopted by the city or county or the standards adopted by a regional board for an area under the jurisdiction of the city or county pursuant to Section 13805, as applicable.
(b) This article does not apply to any of the following:
(1) An applicant for a new water well who would be a de minimis extractor.
(2) An applicant for a replacement water well that would not increase the amount of extractions above the amount of water extracted from the existing well.
(3) A city or county with a process for the issuance of a well permit that substantially complies with the requirements of this article. In order for this article to not apply to such a city or county, the city or county shall make a public finding certifying that the city or county has an ordinance in effect that substantially complies with the requirements of this article.
(4) An applicant for a new water well that is not located within a critically overdrafted basin.
(5) An applicant for a new water well located within a basin that is not designated as a probationary basin by the state board and that has a groundwater sustainability plan that the department has determined to be adequate. adopted in accordance with Section 10728.4.
(6) A public agency that substantially meets or exceeds the requirements of this article through another requirement of law. In order to be exempt, the applicant shall document the laws that substantially meet or exceed the requirements of this article and how the requirements of those laws were met.

13808.6.
 This article does not, in any manner, alter, change, affect, modify, or enlarge a city’s or county’s obligation or duty with respect to the issuance of a permit the authority of the city or county to deny, condition, or otherwise modify the proposed well, nor the standards, measurements, or criteria applicable to the approval of the proposed well permit, under an ordinance adopted by the city or county pursuant to Section 13804 or under the standards adopted by a regional board for an area under the jurisdiction of the city or county pursuant to Section 13805.

SEC. 5.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because a local agency or school district has the authority to levy service charges, fees, or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act or because costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.