The state’s new groundwater management laws mean Californians no longer have unfettered use of underground water.
State law will require the creation of local agencies with sweeping powers to meter wells, tax and penalize anyone who overuses groundwater. If agencies aren’t created by next year, state regulators can take over. The wine region of Paso Robles is among the 21 groundwater basins the state has deemed critically overdrafted. That means more water is pumped out than can be replenished.