Senator Grove’s Bill to Streamline Water Allocations, Passes Senate Natural Resources

Study Needed to Streamline Convoluted Trading Process
Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) announced that her bill Senate Bill 550 has passed unanimously through the Senate Natural Resources Committee. SB 550 would analyze the uncertainties and delays in the state’s process of water trading and close information gaps on the supply of water. SB 550 also assesses trends, barriers to entry and how a better understanding of water markets could assist in our state’s water-resilience efforts.
Water trading could help farmers, environmentalists and urban water users by allowing water markets to operate more efficiently. Water trading has the potential for increasing water supplies by allowing water rights holders to divert water to the places where it is needed most.
“The time is now to pursue every method to boost water supplies,” said Senator Grove. “Our state knows that the water we’ve been receiving won’t last forever. Water trading ensures that when the supply dwindles, we’re managing our water resources responsibly.”
The state currently allows water trading, but it is a convoluted process. Under the current framework, it can take 18 months or longer before a proposed trade, by a rights holder, leads to an actual trade. A Public Policy Institute of California report states, “Uncertainty and delays could be reduced by improving information about water availability and how much can be traded without unduly harming the environment or other legal water users."
“The process needs to be streamlined—currently, it takes up to eighteen months or longer for a water trade to be completed,” said Senator Grove. “By the time our growers and local districts receive their water, they’ll miss their opportunity to use it.”
The next hearing for SB 550 will be held on April 10 in Senate Appropriations.