Pumping California Dry
"Although California has been a pathbreaker in some environmental arenas, like embracing renewable energy and recycling, groundwater rights remain sacrosanct. But the state government is facing growing pressure to embrace regulation."
"Recent scientific studies indicate that in the long term, climate change is diminishing the potential for the Sierra snowpack to generate enough runoff. Aquifers are thus a crucial insurance policy for water users."
"Critics argue that refusing to monitor and regulate groundwater could prove catastrophic to the state's real estate sector and its $36 billion agricultural economy."
"But even Mr. Schwarzenegger is heeding the growing drumbeat on groundwater. Issuing an emergency drought declaration in February, he asked local governments and water districts for the first time to supply the state with data on groundwater supplies."
"Compliance so far has been spotty, said Mark Cowin, deputy director of the state's Department of Water Resources. 'In a lot of cases,' Mr. Cowin said, 'it's simply a matter of the information not existing.'"