California relies extensively on groundwater as a source of its water supply for both municipal and agricultural supply. There are few areas with greater legal uncertainty or factual complexity than groundwater. California does not have an integrated groundwater/surface water appropriation system, making necessary the development of groundwater management plans to ensure effective use of the resource.
Ellison Schneider Harris & Donlan works extensively on groundwater issues. The founding member of our Water Practice Group, Anne Schneider (1947-2010), authored the Governor’s Commission to Review California Water Rights Law – Staff Paper No. 2, “Groundwater Rights in California” (July 1977), and served as special referee to the court in the Chino Basin groundwater adjudication. Ellison Schneider Harris & Donlan serves as special counsel to groundwater management agencies and groundwater users across the state, and is involved in most of the active groundwater disputes.
With the recent passage of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014, and growing water supply issues due to prolonged and severe drought conditions, the management of groundwater is vital to ensure groundwater sustainability. Our Water Practice Group is actively working with clients and other parties to develop and implement groundwater management and sustainability plans.