May 2018

Navigating Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions under SGMA 

Groundwater and surface water are intimately connected, but until 2015 California law ignored this hydrologic reality. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) for the first time in California reflects the fact that groundwater management affects ecosystems and surface water uses.
Our new report,  Navigating Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions under SGMA , provides guidance to Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) and stakeholders as they develop plans to sustainably manage their groundwater basins.

Because of legal and hydrogeological uncertainty, GSAs will take on some level of risk in their long-term planning, potentially exposing themselves to legal challenge, political opposition, action by the state, or failure to achieve sustainability. Addressing these risks early will be crucial for preserving management options.

SGMA did not create conflict between groundwater pumping and beneficial uses of surface water; it just created an opportunity, and an obligation, to respond to those challenges. Embracing that opportunity will not be easy, but GSAs that fully consider their options and risks will be better poised for long-term sustainability.

Access the full report here .

Also see our op-ed in today's Mercury News and our Q&A in Water Deeply.

Contact Mike Kiparsky for more information

Request for Proposals
Soliciting research proposals at the intersection of the environment and the digital economy  
In partnership with the Environmental Law Institute and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, CLEE is soliciting research proposals examining the environmental and energy impacts of the digital economy. We will award 8-10 grants of up to $35,000.

Research proposals should focus on one of the following areas: 
  • Sharing Platforms - For this solicitation, we define sharing platforms as web-based systems that can support efficient search, contact, and contracting and enable multi-sided marketplaces (e.g., Uber, eBay, Airbnb, Craigslist).
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Our focus is on how AI can help maximize benefit and minimize harm, such as by reducing energy use and avoiding environmental impacts, in sectors such as transportation (including autonomous vehicles), manufacturing, buildings, food and agriculture, and energy generation.
  • Blockchain - We are interested in examining both the energy use of blockchain technologies and their possible application to energy and environmental challenges.
Research projects that stimulate interdisciplinary study, address existing knowledge gaps, and/or inform governance will be prioritized.  
For more information, see the full   Request for Proposals here or contact Jordan Diamond.

This initiative is generously supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  

Faculty + Staff
In the News

Professor Dan Farber provides a thoughtful analysis of EPA's new "transparency" proposal in Legal Planet, suggesting  that it is unlikely to hold up in court. 

Mike Kiparsky describes an innovative new method to promote groundwater recharge in a Water Education Foundation Q&A.  

Ethan Elkind discusses the failure of  California's major housing bill, SB 827, in committee and the political reality of its future in the San Jose Mercury News

In a KPBS radio interview, Professor Eric Biber discusses EPA's newly announced plan to ease emission standards for cars and trucks. 
Help Support Our Work  

Our team at CLEE is dedicated to developing pragmatic policy solutions to critical environmental and energy challenges. We are a soft-money research and educational support center, meaning we raise the funds necessary to do this work: we depend on the project funding and donations we receive from our generous community of supporters. If you have given recently, our heartfelt thanks. If you haven't, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation through our giving portal.

We wouldn't be here today without the generosity of alumni, practitioners, and supporting organizations. Our deepest thanks to all of you who have already given, and those who are considering giving today!  

The Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) channels the creativity and expertise of the Berkeley community into pragmatic policy solutions to critical environmental and energy issues.  


Twitter LinkedIn