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Governor Approves Bill Allowing Semitropic Water Storage District to Impose Fees on Groundwater Extraction

On September 22, 2016, Governor Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 453 (AB-453), giving Semitropic Water Storage District (Semitropic) additional authority regarding groundwater extraction reporting and fees.

The new law is found in the Water Code and, in part, allows Semitropic to collect information on groundwater extraction and to require groundwater information reporting.  Among other powers, Semitropic may now require registration of groundwater extraction facilities (such as wells) within its boundaries and installation of water-measuring devices at the owner’s expense.  Semitropic has the authority to exempt those who extract two acre-feet or less of groundwater per year.

AB-453 allows Semitropic to impose fees on the extraction of groundwater in order to fund groundwater storage projects, recharge projects, or the Tulare Lake Storage and Floodwater Protection Project.  The new law also provides for a hearing if a groundwater extractor contests Semitropic’s determination of the amount of groundwater extraction or charges.

AB-453 was effective immediately upon the Governor’s signature.

For additional information, please contact Lauren Bernadett at lbernadett@somachlaw.com

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