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Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan Introduces Legislation to Strengthen Water Management and Address the Drought

AB 460 will increase the authority of the Water Control Resources Board to manage and address waste and illegal water use.

For immediate release:

Sacramento, CA – Today Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Chair of the Assembly
Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee introduced legislation to address the ongoing emergency
of the drought and water management by strengthening the oversight of State Water Resources
Control Board.

"We do not have the regulatory tools to handle the new normal of megadrought," said
Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. "Ongoing illegal or wasteful water use practices can become
the difference between access to water or dry taps in the future. This bill will give the State
Water Board the tools it needs to effectively enforce water rights and protect our water resources
for present and future generations."

AB 460 empowers the State Water Board to act swiftly to prevent harm to the environment,
public health, and water resources caused by illegal or wasteful uses of water. The bill grants the
Board the authority to issue an interim relief order to halt harmful water use practices that violate
the Constitution, water quality objectives, water right permits and licenses, and fish and wildlife.

With the ongoing drought crisis and Colorado River’s uncertain future, California’s future is in
peril. Illegal water diversions are an existential threat to the state’s already limited water
resources, which endangers the environment and human life. The current enforcement regime
has proven insufficient to deter excessive and illegal water use, which accumulates in frequency
and harm each year.

“We are living in a changing climate and California’s water law and policy needs to evolve to
keep pace. This bill would ensure the Water Board can act swiftly to stop illegal diversions in
order to limit the damage to ecosystems and other water users in times of shortage,” said Matt
Clifford, California Director of Law and Policy for Trout Unlimited.

“California’s rivers and streams provide crucial water supplies for fish, families, and farms. At a
time when our climate is rapidly getting drier, it is more important than ever that water users who
deliberately violate the law aren’t allowed to take water at the expense of everyone else,” said
Redgie Collins, Legal and Policy Director for California Trout.

This bill is co-sponsored California Trout, Trout Unlimited and The Planning and Conservation
League, organizations that are dedicated to preserving California's natural resources for future

"This bill is a critical step in protecting California's water resources," said Assemblymember
Bauer-Kahan. We need to take this kind of smart, bold action to ensure a sustainable future for