Pleasanton, CA asked in Environmental, Gov & Administrative Law and Health Care Law for California

Q: We live over a groundwater basin. Our water wholesaler is supposed to get 80% of their water from the California State

Water Resources Control Board. In drought they may get only 0 to 15 %. The rest they take from the groundwater basin. In drought years they have depleted the groundwater basin by replenishing less than 1/2 of what was withdrawn. As the basin is depleted the surface sinks causing home foundations to sink and damage homes. In my 100 home section there have been more that 100 permits for foundation repair, as some homes had to repair foundations more than once. It costs us $100K or more to stabilize and repair the damage to our homes. Further depletion of the basin will destabilize our homes again and soon make them uninhabitable. It will leave us broke and without a home of which we had equity.

The law says when an entity withdraws water from a groundwater basin it must replenish it with the same amount of water it has withdrawn.




1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: 1. To enforce the law regarding groundwater withdrawal and replenishment, affected parties can consider filing a lawsuit seeking injunctive relief to compel the water wholesaler to adhere to replenishment requirements. This could also be pursued as a public interest or public nuisance claim if it affects a broader community.

2. To prevent further depletion of the basin, apart from litigation, homeowners can engage in community organization to raise awareness and press for local policy changes. Engaging local and state representatives or lobbying for stricter oversight and regulations concerning groundwater usage can be effective tools.

3. If homeowners can prove that the actions of the water wholesaler and city directly resulted in damage to their homes, they may have grounds for a lawsuit seeking damages. Winning such a case would require demonstrating a causal link between the groundwater depletion, land subsidence, and the specific damages to the homes. Proving negligence or breach of statutory duty by the water wholesaler might entitle homeowners to compensation. Consultation with an attorney well-versed in environmental and property law would be essential to evaluate the merits of a potential claim.

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