As California embarks on its unprecedented mission to harness groundwater pumping, the Arizona desert may provide one guide that local managers can look to as they seek to arrest years of overdraft. Groundwater is stressed by a demand that often outpaces natural and artificial recharge. In California, awareness of groundwater’s importance resulted in the landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in 2014 that aims to have the most severely depleted basins in a state of balance in about 20 years.
Years of conflict coupled with an arid landscape have left residents of Kabul, Afghanistan, facing immense water shortages. The capital city, which lies in the Kabul River Basin, is no stranger to water scarcity. Between the 1960s and early 2000s, groundwater levels fell by 6-7 meters in several parts of Kabul. Since then, water levels have continued to plummet.
Last week a diverse group of stakeholders celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Lower Yuba River Accord—a historic agreement to improve conditions for the river’s endangered fishes, maintain water supplies for cities and farms, and reduce conflict over competing uses for water. Here at the PPIC Water Policy Center we frequently refer to the Yuba Accord as a model for modern water management in California.
This spring in California several orchards around Solano and nearby counties sported a new look: lush carpets of mixed grasses growing as tall as 3ft beneath the trees’ bare branches. By summer the scene will change as farmers grow and harvest their nut crops, but the work of the grasses will continue unseen. Cover cropping, an agricultural technique as old as dirt, is taking root in California.
California’s Salinas Valley, one of the world’s most productive farming areas, faces a groundwater emergency. The problem is seawater intrusion into freshwater aquifers, which are the region’s lifeblood. The issue has been understood for a long time.
The Bureau of Reclamation proposes to grant Alameda County Water District $750,000 for its Rubber Dam #3 Fish Ladder Project through a CALFED Water Use Efficiency Grant. The total project cost is $7.1 million. The proposed action will improve anadromous fish passage in the urban reach of the Alameda Creek watershed while maintaining ACWD’s water supply operations at its groundwater recharge facilities.
A Santa Fe Springs chemical company, cited for multiple safety violations and potentially responsible for contaminating the groundwater that became a Superfund site, recently received temporary approval to process liquid hazardous waste using a new steel tank not authorized in its original permit.
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on May 8 to submit a request to California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) asking the agency to remove northern fringe areas from Santa Maria River Valley Groundwater Basin.
Includes: Summit for groundwater sustainability agencies set for next month in Sacramento; Working lands workshop will explore ways to reduce emissions in California; Groundwater Resource Hub adds database for groundwater dependent ecosystems; There is still time to register for Sierra Meadows Partnership’s three-day workshop; Headwaters in peril? Auburn symposium will look at the question; California Invasive Species Action Week activities get started on June 2 …
Michael Kiparsky, director of the Wheeler Water Institute within the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, recently co-authored a report that focuses on a pilot project in Santa Cruz County’s Pajaro Valley that he says has intriguing potential for broader applicability. … The latest Western Water also takes readers On the Road to Lake Tahoe — or, as California once called it, Lake Bigler.
For years, Californians have mismanaged the aquifers that supply the state with about 40 percent of its water supplies. Declining water levels from over-pumping have left less water for agriculture, urban, and other uses in many areas of the state. But the problems do not stop with groundwater users.
A long-contaminated Orange County site is getting increased federal attention after the court-ordered release of emails showing that conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt set up a meeting between controversial EPA chief Scott Pruitt and attorneys for the Orange County Water District, which is seeking federal oversight of the cleanup process.
When a contaminated aquifer in Orange County made U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s list of top-priority sites for “immediate, intense action,” the local water district was quick to highlight the announcement. But questions of political favoritism are swirling over Pruitt’s decision in December to prioritize cleaning the Orange County North Basin groundwater pollution plume beneath Anaheim and Fullerton using the federal Superfund program.
For Fresno County resident Anne Schmidtgall the California drought never ended. Two years ago, the well on her property east of Del Rey went dry when the casing caved in. … Two weeks ago, Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, testified before an Assembly budget subcommittee requesting $23.5 million be added to the state budget for water needs.
Protecting and enhancing Yuba County’s groundwater aquifer is one of Yuba County Water Agency’s foremost priorities. Through careful stewardship of groundwater resources and the supplementation of surface water to correct previous over-drafting, Yuba County’s groundwater basin has recovered to historic levels and continues to remain within that range.
Officials on Thursday celebrated $5 million worth of upgrades to the water recycling plant serving the agricultural industry in the greater Watsonville area. A 1.5-million-gallon water storage tank was added to the Watsonville Area Water Recycling Facility on Clearwater Lane’s existing 1-million-gallon storage capacity, in addition to installation of two new distribution pumps and other energy efficiency improvements.
Spurred by drought and a major policy shift, groundwater management has assumed an unprecedented mantle of importance in California. Local agencies in the hardest-hit areas of groundwater depletion are drawing plans to halt overdraft and bring stressed aquifers to the road of recovery. Along the way, an army of experts has been enlisted to help characterize the extent of the problem and how the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 is implemented in a manner that reflects its original intent.
As drying in the Middle Rio Grande spreads, and a lawsuit over the river’s waters moves through the United States Supreme Court, a top Texas official is calling out New Mexico’s water boss. Texas’ commissioner on the Rio Grande Compact Commission, Patrick Gordon, wrote a letter to New Mexico state engineer Tom Blaine earlier this month.
On Feb. 7, four Sacramento LAFCo commissioners began unraveling of decades of agricultural protection, orderly urban growth and open space planning that relied on a firm urban limit at Elk Grove’s southern boundary. … The commission adopted a statement prepared by staff to dismiss 22 significant and unavoidable impacts that cannot be fully mitigated, including loss of farmland and open space and further groundwater depletion.