Bill to regulate California groundwater passes in state legislature

By Joaquin Palomino SACRAMENTO Calif (Reuters) – A package of bills aimed at regulating drought-parched California’s stressed groundwater supplies were passed on Friday despite efforts by some agricultural interests to block bills in the waning days of the state legislative session. The trio of bills, which would allow the state to take over management of underground aquifers and water accessed via wells, aim to tighten oversight of water at a time when groundwater levels are shrinking in the third year of a catastrophic drought. The final two measures passed by identical 24-10 votes in the Senate on Friday night, and now go to Governor Jerry Brown for review. “An increasing number of groundwater basins are in extreme overdraft and others are approaching that status,” said Democratic Senator Fran Pavley of Agoura Hills, who authored one of the bills in the package.

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