California Farm Bureau reacts to groundwater decisions

California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson responded to the California Department of Water Resources announcement on sustainability plans for the state’s groundwater basins.

The agency recommended approval of plans for six California groundwater subbasins. It declared six other plans to be “inadequate,” which will result in a review by the State Water Resources Control Board.

“This action will trigger a process before the water board that will afford local agencies additional opportunities to address identified problems, regain control of their basins and, hopefully, avoid formal probationary status or the imposition of eventual state interim plans,” Johansson said.

“Passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in the 2014 drought year was a seismic shift in California water,” he said. “It was never going to be easy to transition on a timeline of just 20 years to eliminate an estimated 2.5 million acre-feet of overdraft a year in our most impacted areas of the state. Historic droughts in recent years have also shown us that we can’t simply continue as we have been — and that California must also invest in a more resilient, 21st-century water system.”

Johansson added, “California Farm Bureau will work with state and local agencies, our county Farm Bureaus and our agricultural groundwater users on workable solutions to sustain healthy aquifers. Our groundwater supplies are critical for California farmers, including vegetable, fruit, nut and dairy producers who account for much of America’s food supply. It is important that California carefully consider solutions that protect both our aquifers and our food production.”

The California Farm Bureau works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 29,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of 5.3 million Farm Bureau members.