Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday enacting sweeping new regulations on groundwater pumping in California, making the state the last in the West to regulate the practice.

California – long considered the “Wild West” where groundwater is concerned – appears poised for major changes. Three laws recently passed by the Legislature give local agencies broad power to restrict groundwater pumping when necessary and even impose criminal penalties and fines equivalent to a misdemeanor.
As California’s prolonged drought stretches into another autumn, debates have intensified over how to balance competing water needs: urban vs. rural; people vs. fish; north state vs. south. Against that backdrop, The Sacramento Bee spoke with a trio of local water experts about what the drought means for the Sacramento area and how the region should adapt and respond. This is the second installment in our series.
A majority of likely voters supports the $7.5 billion water bond on the Nov. 4 ballot, but most Californians still know nothing about it, according to a new Field Poll.

California's drought explained
The region's water districts have asked residents to cut water usage. See water use restrictions in your neighborhood.
2013 is the driest year in Sacramento's recorded history. See a comparison showing the amount of rainfall in Sacramento each year from 1878 to 2013.
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