Sections 10750-10756 of the California Water Code (AB 3030) provide a systematic procedure for an existing local agency to develop a groundwater management plan. This section of the code provides such an agency with the powers of a water replenishment district to raise revenue to pay for facilities to manage the basin (extraction, recharge, conveyance, quality). One hundred forty-nine agencies have adopted groundwater management plans in accordance with AB 3030. Other agencies have begun the process. In some basins, groundwater is managed under other statutory or juridical authority.
What is AB 3030?
AB 3030 (California Water Code Section 10750 et seq.) allows certain defined existing local agencies to develop a groundwater management plan in groundwater basins defined in DWR Bulletin 118. No new level of government is formed. Action is voluntary not mandatory.
Twelve technical components are identified in the Code and others may be included in the groundwater management plan. The plan can be developed only after a public hearing and adoption of a resolution of intention to adopt a groundwater management plan. If there is no majority opposition of assessed land value (no improvements), the plan can be adopted within 35 days. If the majority is opposed the plan can not be adopted and no new plan may be attempted for 1 year.
AB 3030 plans can not be adopted in adjudicated basins or in basins where groundwater is managed under other sections of the Water Code without the permission of the court or the other agency.
Once the plan is adopted, rules and regulations must be adopted to implement the program called for in the plan. Many plans that have been adopted are relatively simple and in some cases are a means of defining boundaries.
SB 1245 (Water Code Section 10756) requires DWR to publish a report to the Legislature that lists all agencies that have adopted groundwater management plans pursuant to any provision of the Water Code or to case law decided in court. Thus, groundwater management plans developed under AB 3030, adjudicated basins, groundwater management districts, city/county ordinances, and the other 22 types of local agencies are included in this report.
Procedures for Adopting an AB 3030 Plan
(Citations refer to relevant sections in the California Water Code.)
1. The local agency must publish notice of a
public hearing. Section 10753.2 (a)
2. Conduct a hearing on whether to adopt a groundwater management plan. Section 10753.2 (a)
3. The local agency may adopt a resolution of intention to adopt a groundwater management plan. Section 10753.2 (b)
4. They must publish the resolution of intention. Section 10753.3
5. They must prepare a groundwater management plan within 2 years. Secction 10753.4
6. If not, return to step 1. Section 10753.4
7. They must hold a 2d public hearing after the plan is prepared. Section 10753.5 (a)
8. Consider protests. Section 10753.5 (b)
9. A majority protest consists of more than 50% of the assessed value of the land within the agency. Section 10753.6 (c) (1)
10. If a majority protest exists, the plan shall not be adopted. Section 10753.6 (c) (2)
11. No new plan for the same area may be considered for 1 year. Section 10753.6 (c) (2)
12. If there is no majority protest, the groundwater management plan may be adopted within 35 days after the 2d public hearing. Section 10753.6 (c) (3)
13. The local agency shall adopt rules and regulations for implementation and enforcement of the plan. Section 10753.8
14. They have the authority of a water replenishment district ($60220 et seq and $60300 et seq) to fix and assess fees and assessments for groundwater management. Section 10754
15. The local agency may impose equitable annual fees and assessments for groundwater management based on the amount of groundwater extracted to pay for costs of replenishment water, administration and operation, and capital facilities necessary to implement the groundwater management plan. Section 10754.2
16. They shall hold an election in the manner prescribed for the local agency and will be authorized to assess fees only if a majority vote is in favor. Section 10754.3
17. Local agencies in the same basin that adopt groundwater management plans must meet at least annually to coordinate. Section 10755.3
Technical components in AB 3030
Water Code Section 10753.7 states that a groundwater management plan may include components relating to all of the following:
a. The control of saline water intrusion
b. Identification and management of wellhead protection areas and recharge areas
c. Regulation of the migration of contaminated groundwater
d. The administration of a well abandonment and well destruction program
e. Mitigation of conditions of overdraft
f. Replenishment of groundwater extracted by water producers
g. Monitoring of groundwater levels and storage
h. Facilitating conjunctive use operations
i. Identification of well construction policies
j. The construction and operation by the local agency of groundwater contamination cleanup, recharge, storage, conservation, water recycling and extraction projects
k. The development of relationships with state and federal regulatory agencies
l. The review of land use plans and coordination with land use planning agencies to assess activities which create a reasonable risk of groundwater contamination.