Gov. Gavin Newsom is hoping to develop a strategy for fostering groundwater trading markets within basins. His budget plan proposes nearly a million dollars for developing such a plan.
Last year the Water Commission gathered feedback from stakeholders to guide the policymaking. The subsequent report sought to answer critical questions about impacts to small or socially disadvantaged farmers and to drinking water wells. Trust, access to accurate data and a sound groundwater sustainability plan are the basic elements for a well-functioning, protective program, according to the commission.
Lawmakers are likely on board as well. The Legislative Analyst’s Office recommended they approve the spending plan, given the importance the Legislature places on groundwater management and protecting vulnerable communities.
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Overall, the Department of Water Resources is requesting $14 million to implement projects like this for balancing aquifers under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. According to their budget proposal, "without technical assistance, greater facilitation support, and tools like groundwater accounting and trading, many basins will not be able to carry out their plans to reach sustainability."
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