California Forum

Feedback from The Conversation: Groundwater regulation

A controversial deal to transfer groundwater from Merced County north to farmers in Stanislaus County has people talking about groundwater regulation in the state. California, unlike other states, doesn’t have rules governing the use of groundwater, but in the current drought the issue is gaining prominence. Last week’s Conversation asked: Should groundwater be regulated by local agencies or by the state? Or, should groundwater remain unregulated?


Groundwater is communal property

How can anyone logically argue that the water beneath their land is theirs to use without any consideration of others. Since groundwater knows no boundaries, it is communal property. Unfortunately, we cannot trust that our neighbors will pump that water responsibly. Therefore, some sort of regulation is absolutely necessary.

– William Draper, Gold River

Examine groundwater facts first

Re “Proposed water sale is appalling” (Forum, Mariel Garza, May 25): Misinformed articles like this will only create confusion and a bigger mess than we are already in when it comes to the use and distribution of water.

How is it that the Bureau of Reclamation is involved with this transfer when they have no regulatory authority over groundwater? If one were to properly examine the facts, you might find that this transfer is a really good thing to do because it would save hundreds of acres of orchards from dying. Or perhaps the facts might persuade one to see that this transfer is not a very good idea after all.

– Dan Spangler, Orangevale

From Facebook

Jay Raj Narayan – The problem is one person can tap all the water. That shouldn’t be able to happen.

Janice Teruko Temple – It’s part of your property if you sit on it?

Lamont Johnson – Seems like there’s too much regulation as it is.

Jacqui Naud – Interesting question. Does a property owner own the mineral or oil rights under his property? Or does ownership of property only extend to a certain depth before the underlying property becomes public domain?

Melisa Callison – Too much regulation. No!

John Legget – Contrary to what most people on here are posting, the person who owns land does have a right to its usage. Those rights have come from over a century of litigation in courts. A county or source area does have lots of say in its use and where and when it goes anywhere.

Jeff Olsen – No! That is our groundwater as property owners, and the state and local agencies would only screw it up and charge us for it. We need less government in California, not more. If the state water agencies were actually concerned with water, they would behave far different and set up different guidelines for development in areas like Southern California where much of it is wasted. Build desalinization plants, build basins to catch and store rainwater and runoff, etc.

Casey Vandenburg – The groundwater issue has many layers. It would seem that the water 500 feet below a house would belong to the homeowner. However, it is not that simple. I believe farmers and homeowners have the right to pump water out of the ground, but they should not abuse that right. The state needs a comprehensive water plan that will take away the motivation of landowners to sell “their” water.