Counties have continued freely issuing well-drilling permits in the years since California passed a landmark law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014. Fran Pavley, a former state senator who helped draft the 2014 law, said a new bill is a necessary update.
“Can you allow an unlimited new number of wells to be added?” said Pavley, who is now environmental policy director at the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy. “There needs to be additional oversight on the local level,” Pavley said. “We’re still in a race to the bottom.”