California is on the verge of regulating groundwater for the first time under legislation headed to Gov. Jerry Brown.
The state Assembly on Friday approved AB1739 on a 44-27 vote. It is one of three bills overhauling the state's "pump-as-you-please" policy by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson of Sacramento and Sen. Fran Pavley of Agoura Hills, both Democrats.
The package would require some local governments to develop groundwater management plans and allows the state to intervene if necessary. Supporters say drought conditions have led to over-pumping and sinking land as water users turn to unregulated wells.
Republicans and Central Valley Democrats opposed the bills, saying they were rushed and will hurt farmers.
The Assembly sent two groundwater bills back to the Senate, where they are expected to be approved later Friday.