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Category Archives: Groundwater


EPA Seeks Comments After Controversial Ninth Circuit Decision

In response to the Ninth Circuit’s recent opinion in Hawai’i Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) is now seeking public comments on the proper scope of its authority under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). In brief, the Ninth Circuit held that discharges of pollutants from a point source to … Continue Reading »


Ninth Circuit Holds Wastewater Discharge to Groundwater Requires Clean Water Act Permit in Hawai’i Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui

On Feb. 1, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a highly anticipated decision in Hawai’i Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui, No. 15-17447 (9th Cir. Feb. 1, 2018). At issue was whether the County of Maui (“County”) required a Clean Water Act (“CWA”) permit to dispose of wastewater through groundwater … Continue Reading »


Will Your Basin Adjudicate, and if so, How Will That Relate to Basin Management under SGMA?

This article was originally published as an advertorial in the November/December 2017 print issue of Western Grower & Shipper, a publication of Western Growers. Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) throughout California’s medium- and high-priority basins are now beginning to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) pursuant to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Sustainable groundwater management is … Continue Reading »


How SGMA Will Affect Agricultural Groundwater Users and Key Considerations for Developing an Implementation Strategy

This article was originally published as an advertorial in the September/October 2017 print issue of Western Grower & Shipper, a publication of Western Growers. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is now in its third year of operation. Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) have been formed throughout the medium- and high-priority basins across California and those GSAs … Continue Reading »

Upcoming Event: 2017 Groundwater Law Workshop

Brad Herrema and Jena Acos are co-chairing the 2017 Groundwater Law Workshop on October 2, 2017 in Sacramento. 


What’s Next for California’s Water Supplies as the Rainy Season Comes to an End?

Author: Jessica Diaz Editor: Amy Steinfeld The conclusion of California’s five-year drought was undeniably dramatic. The recent Sierra snowpack survey by California’s Department of Water Resources showed water content 196 percent above the long-term average. The 2017 water year was the wettest on record for Northern California. And in April, the governor lifted California’s declaration of drought … Continue Reading »


Agua Caliente Indians Win Federal Appeal; Tribal Groundwater Rights Based on Purpose of Water Use at the Time Reservation Created

Author: Adrian LeCesne Editor: Michael Fife The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a decision affirming the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians’ (the “Tribe”) right to groundwater in the Coachella Valley. The court found that the Tribe holds a federal “reserved right” to groundwater based on the intended agrarian purposes of the reservation … Continue Reading »


Women Water Leaders from Around the State Gather in Santa Barbara to Discuss California’s Pressing Water Supply Issues

                        Authors: Stephanie Hastings and Amy Steinfeld On Jan. 27, 2017, Santa Barbara-based water attorneys Stephanie Hastings and Amy Steinfeld with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP convened a historic meeting of nearly 100 of California’s top women in the water industry. This first-ever “California … Continue Reading »

Groundwater Series

A Sneak Preview: DWR’s Best Management Practices to Guide the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act from Paper to Reality

  The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is underway. The principle implementation issues to date in most basins have concerned who will govern and how the management lines are drawn, with basin boundary modifications recently released and the deadline for GSA formation fast approaching on June 30, 2017. But looming larger are questions about how … Continue Reading »

Bulletin 118 Final Boundary Modifications Move the Lines—But Do They Bring More Clarity?

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently released the modifications to the boundaries of the state’s Bulletin 118. For some basins, these modifications will greatly assist local agencies in complying with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act’s (SGMA) planning requirements. For others, however, this latest modification update highlights the uncertainty surrounding how to best manage a basin, … Continue Reading »