Big Bear, CA, Sept. 11, 2014 – Governor Brown is expected to sign several bills, approved by the state legislature, into law this month, requiring local agencies to set up long term groundwater management plans. These new laws would allow state and local governments to intervene in groundwater use if necessary.
California draws close to 60 percent of its water from groundwater sources and is the only state in the Western United States without groundwater management laws in place. Some who rely on private wells for their water see the potential law as an intrusion on their property rights. However, supporters of the law point out that groundwater is all connected and must be shared in times of drought.
The Big Bear area was identified as one of the more than 500 groundwater basins throughout California and ranked as a ‘medium priority’ basin. That means Big Bear may be required to form a local groundwater sustainability agency by June of 2017 who would then have to adopt a long term plan by 2022. This new agency would monitor all groundwater use including private wells and allow DWP and CSD to modify pumping in areas where supply has declined.
Currently, Big Bear’s water use appears to be in balance. With a relatively low water use rate per capita and some water use restrictions already in place, Big Bear’s groundwater supply should not be at risk.