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Senate Bill 1927 (Ayala-1976)

Chapter 581, Statutes of 1976

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The analysis of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources contains the following digest of Senate Bill 1927:

Existing law provides, in the Counties of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Imperial, Riverside, and San Bernardino, that cessation of or reduction in the extraction of ground water by the owner of a right to extract, as a result of using an alternate supply from a nontributary source, is a beneficial use of water. Under such conditions, loss of rights in ground water are precluded.

SB 1927 removes the geographic restraints specified above and applies the law statewide.

The bill also provides that cessation of or reduction in the extraction of ground water, to permit replenishment of such ground water by water from an alternate nontributary source, is a beneficial use of water. The provisions of this Section (Section 2 of the bill) apply to the entire State with the exception of the Counties of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Imperial, Riverside, and San Bernardino.
(See Exhibit #3)

The Enrolled Bill Report of the State Water Resources Control Board discusses the need for the bill stating:

In many areas of the State there is an overdraft of ground water basins which results in increased pumping costs, intrusion of poor quality water, and other problems. Yet many ground water users are afraid to reduce pumping least they lose their water rights by prescription. Present law protects continuance of the right to extract ground water in certain designated counties in Southern California to the extent the reduction is the result of the use of an alternate supply from a nontributary source. Extending the present law to make it applicable statewide would make it available wherever needed. This would benefit not only the water users in critical areas, but also it would help promote conjunctive surface ground water management.

This program, which protects ground water rights against loss when alternate supplies are available and being used, is in the public interest and should be extended. The conservation of water and the use of surface water when it is plentiful rather than ground water, which is in storage, and available for use during dry years, should be encouraged.
(See Exhibit #8, documents PE-4 and PE-5)

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