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Best Best & Krieger managing partner and water law attorney, Eric Garner is quoted in an AP article published October 1, 2023. The small town of New Cuyama, California is known for its farm land in which two of the nation’s biggest carrot growers have their produce harvested each year. With the increase in limited water supply due to drought, a new California state law requires communities to form local groundwater sustainability agencies that develop plans to manage community water basins.  

There has been a series of lawsuits that have hauled entire communities into court so property owners can defend their right to water as more regions begin setting stricter rules around groundwater. The lawsuit in Cuyama, which relies on groundwater for water supplies, has touched every part of a community where cellphone service is spotty and people pride themselves on knowing their neighbors.

“For an average person or a small user it is disruptive because most people haven’t been involved in lawsuits,” said Eric Garner, a water rights attorney who worked on California’s law. “For large pumpers, lawyers are an inexpensive option compared with having to replace their water supply.”

Before the state’s groundwater law, most groundwater lawsuits were filed in Southern California, where development put added pressure on water resources. Legal experts now expect more cases in areas where farmers are being pushed to slash pumping.

To read entire AP article, please click here

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