Does the SGMA change existing water rights?
The SGMA does not change existing groundwater rights. Groundwater rights will continue to be subject to regulation under article 10, section 2 of the California Constitution. The Act includes numerous provisions to protect water rights. Water Code section 10720.5(b) says that nothing in the legislation “determines or alters surface water rights or groundwater rights under common law or any provisions of law that determines or grants surface water rights.”