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Assemblymember Connolly Passes Clean Water Protections for Rural Communities and Endangered Wetlands

AB 828 passed off of the Assembly floor with broad support coalition

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Assemblymember Connolly passed Assembly Bill (AB) 828 out of the Assembly, which allows managed wetlands and small disadvantaged communities to use their average annual water usage without being subject to excessive fines by Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) as part of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Several GSAs are proposing groundwater allocations that are unworkable for rural communities and endangered wetlands. AB 828 will protect small communities’ access to safe and affordable drinking water and keep some of the state’s last wetlands from going dry.

“Wetlands are a critical natural resources for our state, and small, rural communities are being hit the hardest by the state’s depleting groundwater resources,” said Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael). “These disadvantaged communities usually depend on a single source for their water supply, leaving them vulnerable to drought and affordability challenges. AB 828 brings California closer to protecting safe and clean water accessibility for all California communities. ”

Mike Lynes, Policy Director for Audubon California stated, “Audubon is extremely grateful to Assemblymember Connolly and all the assemblymembers that supported AB 828. We look forward to continuing our work together in the Senate.” Lynes notes, “It is critical that AB 828 become law to save some of California's last wetlands and to ensure that our state will continue to provide essential habitat for ducks, shorebirds, and other wetland species."

“Hundreds of small low-income communities are dependent on groundwater for their only water supply," said Jennifer Clary, California Director for Clean Water Action. "AB 828 will ensure continued access to sufficient, affordable drinking water.”

Only five percent of California’s historic wetlands remain. Managed wetlands in California provide significant habitat for migratory waterfowl of the Pacific Flyway, endangered species, and many other resident wildlife and fish populations. Additional public benefits include water quality improvement, flood protection, recreation, and opportunities for scientific research. These important public trust resources continue to face numerous threats, including water availability.

Nearly 85% of Californians depend on groundwater for their public water supply. That number increases for small water systems, which serve rural communities of only a few thousand people. In these small disadvantaged communities, a new water well is a huge financial issue that many are ill-equipped to handle. AB 828 will help ensure that the groundwater needs of these vulnerable users are better-accounted for by SGMA.

AB 828 now heads to the Senate.


Assembymember Connolly represents the entirety of Marin County and Southern Sonoma County