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Allocating Under Water: Reforming California's Groundwater Adjudications

Publication Number Pritzker Policy Brief No. 4

Allocating Under Water: Reforming California's Groundwater Adjudications

California gets about 30 percent of its total water supply from groundwater.  Overdraft threatens California’s continued access to this scarce resource, and the state does not presently have an effective way of allocating and managing groundwater.  In this paper, the fourth in the Emmett Center's Pritzker Brief Series, Rhead Enion evaluates the adjudicatory process used to resolve groundwater use disputes in California, and recommends a number of reforms that could be implemented by the legislature or courts to address problems in the adjudication and post-adjudication management of groundwater resources.