Court ruling could boost regulation of groundwater

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Updated: 7/17/2014 9:53 pm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The lawyer for Siskiyou County says he expects to appeal a potentially precedent-setting case on the regulation of groundwater.

California is one of few states without statewide regulation of the pumping of groundwater. That's even though the nonprofit California Water Foundation says up to 60 percent of the state's water comes from below-ground sources in drought years.

A Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that Siskiyou County had to consider the environmental impact of groundwater-pumping on the Scott River. Fishing associations and an environmental group had sued the county, arguing that excessive pumping is drying up the river.

The county plans to ask a state appeals court to overturn the finding.

James Wheaton of the Environmental Law Foundation says any decision by the appeals court would apply to counties statewide.

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