David A. Gaines (1947-1988) is known for founding the Mono Lake Committee in 1978 with the goal of preserving its ecosystem and leading a grassroots effort to “Save Mono Lake.” The end result would be an environmental cause célèbre. As a synopsis of the Mono Lake litigation, in 1979 a lawsuit was filed against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) to stop diversions to Southern California — citing the public trust values at Mono Lake.
William R. “Bill” Gianelli is a civil engineer who served not only as director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) from 1967-1973 during Governor Ronald Reagan’s administration but worked as a civil servant under Governors Earl Warren, Goodwin Knight and Edmund G. “Pat” Brown during all phases of the California State Water Project (SWP): its design, planning and construction.
Thomas J. “Tom” Graff (1944-2009) opened up the California office of the Environmental Defense Fund in 1971 and was its regional director for more than 35 years.
Throughout his life, he was committed to the environment and the mentorship of environmental leaders. He was revered as an influential environmental lawyer on the state and federal water circuits and public forums and used strategic acumen to build partnerships to solve water problems with long-lasting solutions.
Gray water, also spelled as grey water, is water that already has been used domestically, commercially and industrially. This includes the leftover, untreated water generated from clothes washers, bathtubs and bathroom sinks.
This water source is a common way to recycle water and stretch urban water supplies. As part of this, gray water ‘harvesting’ (the collecting of gray water from sinks, showers, etc.) is increasingly popular, especially as a way to flush toilets.
When multiple parties withdraw water from the same aquifer, groundwater pumpers can ask the court to adjudicate, or hear arguments for and against, to better define the rights that various entities have to use groundwater resources. This is known as groundwater adjudication. [See also California water rights and Groundwater Law.]
California has considered, but not implemented, a comprehensive groundwater strategy many times over the last century.
One hundred years ago, the California Conservation Commission considered adding groundwater regulation into the Water Commission Act of 1913. After hearings were held, it was decided to leave groundwater rights out of the Water Code.
There are three basic mechanisms available for managing groundwater resources in California. These mechanisms are:
management by local agencies under authority granted by state statute
coordinated agreements between agencies and jurisdictions and ordinances and court adjudications
Throughout California, more than 2,000 local water agencies have varying degrees of authority over groundwater management. Many are using “innovative strategies” and are making advances on a number of fronts, including conservation and transparency.
Groundwater replenishment happens through direct recharge and in-lieu recharge. Water used for direct recharge most often comes from flood flows, water conservation, recycled water, desalination and water transfers, according to DWR.
The treatment of groundwater— the primary source of drinking water and irrigation water in many parts of the United States — varies from community to community, and even from well to well within a city depending on what contaminants the water contains.
In California, one-half of the state’s population drinks water drawn from underground sources [the remainder is provided by surface water].