Create an option within the federal farm program, possibly as a separate title to the 1995 farm bill, entitled the "Groundwater Conservation Program." The program would function with the following provisions:
a. Producers receive US Department of Ag deficiency payments from acres with irrigated history at the irrigated level if they agree not to irrigate those acres. This option would continue as long as the farmer does not irrigate and the federal deficiency payment structure exists.
b. It would apply to groundwater users in aquifers where groundwater mining is occurring. Groundwater mining refers to areas where water is removed from storage faster than is recharged naturally. This could be defined by a certain percentage drop in saturated thickness over a specific period of time.
c. The Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) historical farm base would be preserved for all crops.
d. Irrigation wells which are not pumped for the duration of this federal program would be protected from abandonment by DWR in the same manner that wells are protected in the Center for Renewable Resources (CRR).
f. A phase-in would ensue at a percentage of a farmer's irrigated land per year so as not to overly disrupt agribusinesses in the aquifer affected.