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Jared Blumenfeld, Secretary for Environmental Protection. (Photo: California Department of Environmental Protection)

Cal EPA Asserts Shockingly Broad Domain Over Private Property

Letter: Blumenfeld tells well owners they now must pay for their own water

By Ken Kurson, July 20, 2022 7:29 am

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Secretary for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld, Oct 22, 2013, in San Francisco. (Photo: Steve Rhodes)

Legend has it that Jed Clampett “was shootin’ at some food / When up through the ground come a bubblin’ crude.”

The Beverly Hillbillies’ transformation into instant millionaires illustrates one of the oldest conceptions in the western world: What’s on your land belongs to you. This idea predates the founding of America. If you find gold in your backyard, that resource belongs to you.

California wants to change that.

A source near San Diego has shared with California Globe a shocking letter that’s quietly being delivered to owners of private wells.

“California is marching toward a world where those with wells on their own property will be required to put a meter on them and pay the government,” writes the source. “Because in their world, the government owns everything and we’re just renters.”

Jared Blumenfeld, Secretary for Environmental Protection. (Photo: California Department of Environmental Protection)

The letter is signed by Natalie Stork, the Chief of Groundwater Management Program Unit 1, and was sent in late July on the letterhead of California Water Boards, under the authority of Gov. Newsom and Jared Blumenfeld, Secretary for Environmental Protection. Buried beneath the bureaucratic acronyms GSA and SGMA (Groundwater Sustainability Agency and Sustainable Groundwater Management Act) is an extremely aggressive conception of government authority and its dominion over private property.

The letter reads, “Landowners whose property is within an unmanaged area and contains an operating ground water extraction well must report the volume of groundwater extracted from the well. The groundwater extraction volume must be reported as a monthly total. In addition to pumping volumes, reports must include the location of the well and the place and purpose of use of the groundwater. Groundwater extraction reports are not due to the state water board until February 1, 2023. However, if you are required to report, the report must include pumping volumes for each month between the date of receipt of this letter and September 30, 2022.”

This is not merely a bureaucratic hassle. There are fees, of course. The base filing fee is $300 per well, which all extractors are required to report. Then there’s an additional fee of $10 per acre foot with a meter, $25 per acre foot without. Tardy filers face a late fee of 25% per month.

California Globe reached out to Ms. Stork and SGMA to inquire how widely this letter was sent and where the State Water Resources Control Board derives the right to charge well owners for water on their own property. This story will be updated to include her comment if either responds.

Meanwhile, the ramifications for property rights are enormous.

“They’re sending out letters to property owners saying they must declare [if] they use just two acre feet,” observes the source who received the letter. “If they use more they must pay an annual fee of $300 for each well plus they must meter the water and send in a monthly usage report and pay a fee for water that is pumped starting in Feb 2023. What a great racket! The government provides no service, no support, no product, doesn’t even do the billing! That’s all on citizens. All [the government does] is cash the check.”

According to two people who received the letter, so far no organized resistance to this private property grab has yet emerged. But at least one source expects the small fees to grow, which will surely lead to pushback from residents.

“The fees may seem small today, but they always start small. Then they’ll ratchet up. Similarly, while this excludes light domestic users, it won’t for long.”

Below is a copy of the letter, with potentially identifying portions redacted to avoid the recipient being targeted by government authorities who clearly know no bounds.

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83 thoughts on “Cal EPA Asserts Shockingly Broad Domain Over Private Property

    1. Time to face reality. Groundwater is not ‘under your property’ any more than the atmosphere above your property is yours. Groundwater is generally a flowing underground river. Groundwater has been overused – in many places the ground is subsiding and public roads, canals, etc are being damaged. California has joined the rest of the U.S. by treating groundwater like surface water – a resource to be protected and shared. Using terms like ‘communist’ just reveals a lack of knowledge or unwillingness to discuss.

      1. The property owner who drills the well, owns the pump and the well casing. The property/well owner also may have water rights “tied to particular parcels of land through land deeds.” What people on this forum are objecting to with their “communist” comments is what Old Dude describes in his comments below. (https://agwt.org/content/do-you-own-your-well-water)

      2. Have you personally ever lived on property that depends on a well as their only water source??? It isn’t a ‘spring’ that automatically comes into our homes. We paid for the well, the pump and every inch of pipe that brings water onto our property. It’s hard water or too soft, that must be treated for household use. We had to buy an expensive system that requires monthly treatment of chemicals in order to use our water for laundry and showers. Every minute our well is operated costs us money toward our PG&E bill. We don’t own stock in PG&E. In other words, we well owners are already paying for our water and do NOT consider it FREE! Let the state give us a choice! They should first go to the expense of providing us another source of water. During winter storms or summer power outages, we have no water because our wells won’t operate without power! During fire season we can’t depend on our wells to save our homes. Do you get it yet? Having a well is a HAVE TO, not a choice!

      3. The statement you posted of “…Groundwater is not ‘under your property’ any more than the atmosphere above your property is yours…,” when combined with the fact that both air and water are essential for life, and with the government’s illegal treasonous COVID19 “pandemic” scam with its quaxine (“vaccine”) mandates, proves that government bureaucrats and politicians consider everyone else to be property to be controlled, exploited and squandered however those government officials please pursuant to their corrupt whims and feelz. That’s the communism you’re trying to block awareness of with the statement you posted of “…reveals a lack of knowledge or unwillingness to discuss.”

      4. California voters have passed numerous water related initiatives aimed at increasing supply but, were always stalled or abandoned due to green extremism (bonds were sold. Where did the money go?). Water is more of a commodity and it’s ownership belongs to the property owner. Government taking of private property without compensation is indeed “communist”. Also, a aquifer is not an underground river.

      5. Your comment uses the same rhetoric as the collectivist ideology used by Lennon, Stalin and Mao to usher in communism. The government controls everything and the people serve the state. It’s text book communism.

  1. In California we’ve been seeing moves to take away water rights from property owners for some time. Seems to me the biggest move came at the end of Gov Jerry Brown’s reign. Don’t remember all the details, though, or how definitive that was.

  2. If the State wants to charge for groundwater wells, then these property owners should request the State provide potable water. If the State refuses, then the property owners send a Due Bill to the State for power used and ongoing naitenance costs.

    1. Yeah, I don’t see the government paying to have wells drilled, or for the pumps, pressure tanks, maintenance and repairs or replacement, or the electricity to run the wells. But they step forward and say, “Hey that’s OUR water and you owe us for using it!” What’s next, Commifornia? Charge us to breathe the air? Will we have to wear meter masks to measure how much air we “rent” from the bloated tick we call government? As soon as possible, I am moving out of this insane mess.

  3. Everything these Liberal/Communists come up with amounts to another turn on the ligature they have around our necks, everything

  4. This miserable bunch is slowly sucking the life from this state, and I do mean sucking…
    I was born here but if I was twenty years younger I would leave tomorrow, wen they get done this will be an empty shell, a state with liberal elites ruling over the dried up carcasses of any one left with a job…
    Gawd help the USA if this SOB gets anywhere close to the Whitehouse, Convention of the States is a must!

  5. Jared Blumenfeld, “Secretary for Environmental Protection”, is an unelected bureaucrat who has no authority to impose this draconian government overreach on private property owners. Blumenfeld is a deep-state globalist who has a law degree from the University of London and he was regional administrator for the federal EPA during the Obama regime. Like Gov. Newsom, no doubt he’s a boytoy owned by Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum and the globalist cabal? Has he been doxxed yet so that protests follow him wherever he goes?

    1. Exactly Mario, unelected bureaucrats has no authority to impose this or any other politicized decision; especially the EPA! If the landowners who have already received this letter I pray they no their rights and refuse this garbage. Sending it to the LG of CA might be fruitless, but its a start. I sent this to an independent investigational journalist. Let’s see what he says. Know your rights!

  6. Brilliant to start small on this. How is this a small start? Well, it seems to me that if they can do this they can expand to charging all the rest of us for breathing whilst on our own property.

  7. In the NWO you will own nothing and be happy. Not even your own property or even your own body or mind. Wake up people!

  8. Water is the most valuable element in California, so the state has always had a significant interest in when, where, how, and how much of it is used. In an increasingly arid region, it makes no sense to waste billions of gallons of it growing livestock fodder and crops like rice.
    As Mark Twain long ago noted, “in California, whisky is for drinking, but water is for fighting.”

  9. Then can one charge the state for water running under their property for service fee land usage?

  10. I saw this one coming in 2010. Back then California all of a sudden wanted to know where all the wells are located. In SLO county letters we sent to well owners seeking verification of all wells that had permits pulled on them and to verify that those well were in fact still in place. I said at the time that it was now only a matter of time before they took control of those wells. Now they Rae in the process of doing it. What’s next you might ask. Meters. It will come to pass that each well will be metered and the water used will be taxed.

  11. A quick look at the map linked in the letter shows that this applies only to a few parcels in the Pauma Valley, East of Carlsbad in San Diego County. A search shows that there is a push to develop the area, including a hotel/casino by the Pauma Band of Mission Indians. This is either a local land grab (drive owners off by cutting off the water) or a camel’s nose under the tent move for something bigger. Perhaps it’s both. California Globe needs to do a deeper dive on this one.

  12. The Supreme Court recently made rulings on the federal EPA (and also on the 2nd Amendment), and the SCOTUS EPA ruling sets a precedent which will apply to this absurd case where the California EPA ‘authority’ believe they can wave their left hand and make nonsensical law without any legislative debate, action or oversight. Not going to happen; the SCOTUS has already ruled on these three letter agencies whose dictatorial power has run wildly out of control. This BS may fly temporarily in the communist-controlled CA courts, but once the matter is in the Federal courts, it will be struck down. This is essentially just a re-run of what the federal EPA was doing. The Communists / Marxists tyrants destroying California are in for a rude awakening in the not too distant future. Rigged electronic voting machines won’t be around in this State for too much longer . There is a much larger population of conservative voting people in CA than the rigged voting machine results would ever reveal.

  13. All I know is in 2025 the local GSA (Kern County, Indian Wells Valley) , will assess a recharge fee of $2130/acre foot, for farmers, effectively driving every farmer out of business. In my case, almost $400k per year.
    We are litigating, but there argument is clever; pump all you want, just pay to refill the aquifer that is in critical overdraft (based on models and best guesses, no measured, objective data).
    I turned the water off to a 50 year pistachio orchard because I am tired of fighting California, fighting -115f heat under the trees, bugs, unreliable help, exorbitant fertilizer prices, ridiculous one-size fits all regulations and being 70+ years s old. I now have 40 acres of firewood for sale.
    I was born in CA, except for USN deployments & assignment’s , never lived anywhere else. Never wanted too. My wife and I will soon join the exodus and become ABC (Anywhere but California).
    Just like Davie Crockett to Congress “You can all go to Hell, as for me I am going to Texas”.

    1. Frank, thanks for everything you and your wife have done for California agriculture over the years. Best of luck and have a great life wherever you end up living…..as for me, California is my Alamo.

      1. “…as for me, California is my Alamo.” –> The left’s tyrannical creeping communism won’t stop with California and has already spread to other states besides California. It’s a disease that needs to be permanently expunged from the entire U.S., starting with the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, and with large numbers of citizens actively supervising those elections and insuring no election fraud occurs.

  14. MORE LOCAL CONTROL NOT LESS. This has been in the works for a long time. Lefty opinion leaders see this as a means to abolish private property rights. California MUST get out from under federal control of water (Pelosi, snail darter, Delta eradication) and establish sensible, region-centered use and storage.

  15. This is actually not new.
    From 2004 until 2017 I owned a sizable ranch and preserve in North San Diego county. Although the riparian rights ran with the land, most ranch owners had to pay bonds and for water usage due to tapping into the aquifer, for both domestic and agricultural use.
    I did NOT have to pay as my riparian rights excluded such burden. I did however have to defend B.S. lawsuits by out-of-area indigenous people’s attempts claims for water (in order to build a casino about 80 miles away).

    “Whiskey’s for drinking but water’s about fighting over.”
    ~ Mark Twain

  16. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association was gathering signatures to make water storage and solar power property tax exempt, and restore the parent child reassessment exclusion lost with proposition 19. (Some solar property tax exemptions expire in a few years.) I gathered pages of signatures but I think it got a late start and hardly anyone was aware of the signature drive before I asked them to sign the petition. It took 5 tries of signature gathering to get prop 13 on the ballot and they will try again. Agriculture is being ran out of California and is a lot more sensitive to property taxes than most people realize. Property taxes on pasture land within an hour or two of big cities can easily have property tax exceed the agricultural income.

    Pkease sign up for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association newsletter.

  17. Water flows below ground and air flows above ground.
    There are many taxes for putting CO2 in the air, even though plants, our food source, need CO2, and more taxes on the way. And I have learned that CO2 has absolutely nothing to do with the 1.5 degree increase in temperature between 1980 and 2015 nor any of the ice ages or warm periods for 800,000 years. Check nsidc.org charts. There is more Arctic Ice now than in 2012. Two months ago, Greenland was surrounded by sea ice which reached half way to the equator. The Sea Ice Extent map Antarctica for 21, July, 2022 shows the continent surrounded by sea ice. Be it known to all that air temperatures are going down right now, in spite of the heat waves in small areas of the world. I am writing a book to succeed “POLAR BEARS IN THE HOT TUB”

  18. First, to set the record straight, there is no record of Mark Twain having ever said the quote attributed to him. And groundwater basins extend far beyond individual properties. There are many cases of wells on one property sucking the wells on nearby properties dry. The state is trying to make groundwater sustainable by giving local jurisdictions the authority bring groundwater into balance. Large areas of the San Joaquin Valley have sunk dramatically over the years due to over pumping groundwater, to the point that it has damaged canals and bridges.

  19. More government brilliance. Wonder what these would fools do if they had a real people job.

    This ends up in the courts, and gets overturned.

  20. Good luck enforcing this BS. Alot of “water control enforcement agents” will begin to disappear real quick, is my guess. Lets hope the courts in Commiefornia are smart enough to see and prevent this. I bet not!

  21. Every property owner being assaulted by Cal EPA needs to demand that Cal EPA comply with CCP1822.50 et seq: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?part=3.&lawCode=CCP&title=13. as required by: https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/387/523/ Specifically, this means demanding that Cal EPA get a warrant before starting any of their encroachment as referenced in this article. Further, every property owner being assaulted by Cal EPA needs to demand that Cal EPA inform them when and where the warrant hearing will be, as required by California Rules of Court 3-1203, so the property owners can be there to challenge the issuance of that warrant.

  22. The State of California will do everything in their power to Tax and make this state a drain on the backs of Taxpayers. They piss away more money on Free give aways, and do nothing for American citizens. They want you to pay for water on your own property BUT will not give any services for that theft. 10 to 20 thousand is the cost of drilling a well. No help there. Pumps fail no help there. Just take and give nothing in return. The state will not do anything but suck the life out of the people.

  23. Did I miss the reference to any specific California code in this letter showing lawmakers passed a bill concerning this matter? If there’s no bill passed, how is a bureaucratic agency able to act on their own in this regard given the recent US Supreme Court decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    Is this just another example of California trying to “tax and fee” anything in their quest to seemingly control everything?

  24. OMG I got a lot of votes to an enemy!!! Mr. Governor you are destroying this state. I can’t believe I voted for you! You destroyed our business because our truck we bought few years ago is junk for you and now you want us to pay for our water well usage. I wish I could get all the signatures to impeach you. Voting for you was the biggest mistake of my life.

  25. I live an hour west of Red Bluff and there is no ground water ‘aquifer’. The water we use comes in at 1.5gpm at 33 feet. At 33 feet is the 100 million+ year old ‘Mudstone’ formation (Early Cretaceous – Late Jurassic) base which has no water below it. Every drop of water we use goes back into the ground via our septic tank. If California wants to ‘Tax’ my well water, then i will apply a like credit against the bill and pay nothing. If they get ‘Tough’ than a Class Action Lawsuit, escalated to the State Supreme Court if necessary, would be warranted.

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