Thursday, August 4, 2011

Department of Water Resources to Hold Hearings on Agricultural Water Use Efficiency Regulations

The California Department of Water Resources ("DWR") has adopted an emergency regulation and begun a public comment and hearing process on formal regulations to implement agricultural water use efficiency requirements established in SB 7, part of the significant water legislation package adopted in 2009.  The new regulations require most agricultural water suppliers providing water to 25,000 irrigated acres or more (excluding acres receiving only recycled water), as well as some that provide water to as few as 10,000 acres, to "measure surface and groundwater that it delivers to its customers" pursuant to certain accuracy standards.  The suppliers must retain measurement records and report certain information regarding the records in their Agricultural Water Management Plan updates.  DWR will accept written comments on the proposed regulations through September 6, 2011, and will hold hearings in Sacramento on August 24, and in Fresno on September 8.  More information is available here.

The new regulations are the first step towards implementing the SB 7 agricultural water use requirements.  Next, DWR will prepare and adopt regulations requiring water suppliers to adopt pricing structures for customers based at least in part on volumetric deliveries.  KMTG will continue to track the developments.

If you have any questions regarding the new regulations, or regarding Agricultural Water Management Plans in general, please contact Eric Robinson or Andrew Tauriainen, or the KMTG attorney with whom you normally consult.

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