California's oranges and B.C.'s apples? Lessons for B.C. from California groundwater reform




Christensen, Randy
Brandes, Oliver M.

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POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria/Ecojustice


British Columbia can learn valuable lessons from California’s extreme drought and recent groundwater law reforms as it drafts its own groundwater regulations under the new B.C. Water Sustainability Act. This report analyzes California’s legislation while taking into account the climatic, social, and legal differences between the state and province. It offers a number of key findings and insights including the urgent need to begin piloting groundwater sustainability plans in critical watersheds in B.C.; the necessity for clear performance standards, timelines, and accountability for local decision-making bodies to ensure successful watershed or aquifer plans; and the importance of shared responsibility between senior government and local decision-makers.



Water Management, British Columbia, California, Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Groundwater Management, Drought Management, Water Sustainability Act


Christensen, R., & Brandes, O.M. (2015, June). California’s Oranges and B.C.’s Apples? Lessons for B.C. from California Groundwater Reform. Victoria, Canada: POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria/Ecojustice.