Groundwater Law

Is groundwater essential to your success?

Existing and future land development in some parts of California depends entirely on groundwater. Statewide, groundwater meets 40 percent of water needs in average years and up to 60 percent in critically dry years.

Government is tightening regulation of groundwater use in response to intensifying demand. The state’s new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”) took effect January 1, 2015. The state has ranked 127 groundwater basins as high or medium priority under the Act. Cities, counties or water agencies in high- and medium-priority basins must adopt regulatory plans to correct or prevent groundwater overdraft. Depending on local circumstances, the plans might prohibit new wells, monitor and cut pumping, and impose fees. Starting in 2020, the state will review local plans to determine whether to impose more restrictive state pumping regulations.

Meanwhile, groundwater disputes are on the rise. Entire groundwater basins are being adjudicated to determine pumping rights that divide a basin’s safe yield among competing users. One pending environmental lawsuit seeks to prohibit local well-drilling permits unless surface streams are protected from effects of groundwater pumping. And groundwater impacts are receiving more attention during California Environmental Quality Act review.

Whether you face development of local groundwater regulations, a basinwide groundwater adjudication, or CEQA review of a project’s groundwater impacts, Kronick’s team of water lawyers has the experience and technical expertise to help you.



    Speaking Engagements



    Speaking Engagement


    Legal and Institutional Management Framework

    DATE: Thursday, February 7


    Water Education Foundation


    Kronick attorney Holly Roberson will be presenting on “Legal and Institutional Management Framework ” at Water 101 Workshop on February 7 at McGeorge. The workshop covers the history, geography, legal and political facets of water in California as well as hot topics currently facing the state. Holly will cover include:

    Water Management Institutions

    • California Department of Water Resources/State Water Project
    • State Water Resources Control Board/Regional Water Quality Control Boards
    • Bureau of Reclamation/Central Valley Project
    • Fish and Wildlife Resource Agencies
    • Delta Stewardship Council
    • California Water Commission
    • Delta Conservancy
    • Regional and Local Water Districts
    • CPUC-regulated Water Districts

    Summary of Governing Laws

    • Clean Water Act
    • Safe Drinking Water Act
    • Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act
    • Endangered Species Acts – State and Federal
    • Environmental Review Laws – State and Federal
    • Delta Reform Act


    Please visit the event website for more information.



    Speaking Engagement


    Sustainable Groundwater Planning in California


    July 26-27, 2018



    Sacramento, CA

    Organized By:

    Law Seminars International (LSI)

    Program Overview:

    Kronick attorneys Scott Morris, Jonathan Christy and Holly Roberson will present at the Sustainable Groundwater Planning conference in Sacramento on July 26-27.

    Scott will provide opening remarks as Program Co-Chair and participate in a panel discussion about “Cross-Boundary Flows and Basin Coordination” discussing the legal issues around coordination challenges and issues (a) within a groundwater basin, (b) with adjacent basins, and (c) when an adjacent basin is on the critical list and yours is not; essential terms for coordinating agreements.

    Jonathan’s presentation will discuss financing options and strategies for GSA/GSP and what GSP developers and stakeholders need to know about constraints and viable pathways.

    Holly’s panel will discuss legal parameters for working with Tribes as sovereigns, including requirements for Tribal consultation.


    Please visit the event website for more information and to register.