Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday that will require the state for the first time to regulate water being pumped from the ground, according to the Sacramento Bee.
In the past, farms and others have been able to pump as much water as they liked from the ground, but the ongoing drought has raised concerns that groundwater is being exploited in unsustainable ways by farms.
As the drought continues, with little precipitation to refill underground water stores, some areas are being pumped faster than they can be refilled.
The new legislation will require local agencies draw up sustainability plans that could require installation of water meters to monitor usage. It also lays out a framework for enforcing water usage rules and the ability to fine transgressors.
The legislation is focused on 127 groundwater basins and sub-basins where water usage is a concern. Most of these are concentrated along theCentral Valley and some areas surrounding Los Angeles, where agriculture is a major industry.