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Environment

California Budget Increases Spending On Groundwater

Eighty-percent of Californians rely, at least in part, on groundwater. Some environmentalists have said groudwater management has not been a top priority for the state. However, they’re pleased that Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget recognizes the need to manage it better.

As water levels in California’s rivers and reservoirs drop, farmers increasingly rely on groundwater, causing land to sink in the San Joaquin Valley. The state’s reliance on groundwater is likely to grow in the coming years.

“There may be permanent damage going on to some of our groundwater basins. We’re seeing subsidence in portions of the state, those are situations where state action may be warranted,” said Matt Rodriguez, the secretary of California-EPA.

Brown’s budget would fund more staff and spend almost $8 million on managing and monitoring groundwater use. Kathryn Phillips with the Sierra Club is pleased.

“Groundwater is something that we haven’t monitored very well in this state we haven’t regulated very well and this is a case where more regulation is needed,” Phillips said.

Rodriguez said the state would only step in if local or regional agencies were unable or unwilling to manage groundwater.