To Manage California’s Groundwater, Think More About Surface Water

California’s 2014 legislation, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was significant in that it was the state’s first major groundwater regulation. But Michael Kiparsky the founding director of the Wheeler Water Institute at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, says that it was also significant in another way. “It breaks with what had been decades of a legal fiction that groundwater and surface water were not part of a single hydrologic system,” he says. While rivers, lakes and other surface waters are often thought of – and regulated – separately from the groundwater below, the two are connected.