Sonoma County is pressing forward with plans to regulate local groundwater use for the first time as officials move to establish three new agencies that will be charged with managing one of the area’s most critical resources.
The Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency, which supplies Watsonville and the surrounding areas, has committed $6.3 million toward two new projects — a pipeline and a basin — to combat its problem of seawater intrusion.
With all the downpours and flooding across California this winter, it might seem that the pressure to begin managing the state’s precious groundwater supply would ease up a bit. Instead, the state is pushing to quicken the pace of implementing groundwater regulations.
A proposal to establish a new set of water fees that would impose a charge of $4,246 for every new home has been pushed off for two weeks by the Fresno City Council. The charges are intended to go toward meeting water needs for future growth, particularly expanding Fresno’s ability to treat surface water, infrastructure to distribute water to new development, and to dig new wells and increase the capacity to recharge a depleted groundwater basin.
California’s groundwater basins can store much more water than surface reservoirs. After years of unchecked depletion of many groundwater basins, communities are now coming together to figure out how to manage them sustainably. We talked to Helen Dahlke, a hydrologist at UC Davis and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center’s research network, about efforts to recharge groundwater basins to help bring them back into balance.
On March 8, 2017, the State Water Quality Control Board (“SWRCB”) released a draft emergency regulation that would impose new fees on some groundwater extractors. Written comments are due by Friday, April 7, 2017. The purpose of the draft regulation is to recover the costs of state intervention in local sustainable groundwater management under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), more specifically, under Water Code section 10735 et seq.
“Out of sight and out of mind” sums up the groundwater policies in many places, and the public’s understanding of the issue, despite the fact that groundwater is one of our most critical water resources. That’s what prompted William and Rosemarie Alley to team up to write “High and Dry: Meeting the World’s Growing Dependence on Groundwater.”
It would add just a trickle of water, for now, but a potentially historic vote by April could change how San Joaquin County addresses droughts and floods for decades to come. County supervisors may agree to conduct an experiment of sorts with a longtime nemesis on water issues, the East Bay Municipal Utility District, which exports much of the Mokelumne River to 1.3 million people in the Bay Area.
The 2012-2016 drought has made many of us keenly aware of how “empty” our groundwater “reservoirs” have become. As the recent series of atmospheric rivers have left us with a massive snowpack, full surface water reservoirs (with some exceptions in southern California), and soggy soils, some questions are frequently asked: Is the drought over, even for groundwater – if not, when will well owners see full recovery of their water table? And could the massive amounts of runoff be captured to accelerate replenishment of our depleted groundwater aquifers?
The Santa Cruz City Council, joined by the city Water Commission, heard a quarterly update on city efforts to stave off a worst-case scenario projecting a future 1.2 billion gallon water shortage in future years.
The city of Vacaville is facing pressure to clean up its water supplies after an environmental group sued this week over the amount of chromium-6 in groundwater. … Vacaville is among several California cities that have been wrestling with the carcinogen since 2014, when the state adopted the nation’s first chromium-6 rules.
With drought-stricken California enjoying its wettest winter in decades, it can be easy to forget that water scarcity is among the globe’s most deadly threats. This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss groundwater with Bill and Rosemarie Alley, the authors of High and Dry: Meeting the Challenges of the World’s Growing Dependence on Groundwater. They take us on a journey around the world and back in time to examine how humans scheme for and squander earth’s most precious resource.
Mineral rights and royalty owners have filed a new lawsuit against Monterey County, challenging voter-approved Measure Z, which establishes some of the nation’s toughest restrictions on oil and gas operations in the state’s fourth-largest oil-producing county. … Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and wastewater injection into aquifers will still be prohibited during the stay.
Subsidence from the overpumping of groundwater has gotten so bad in the San Joaquin Valley that critical infrastructure is at risk. A new book, High and Dry, on the global groundwater crisis explains how things got so bad.
In a ruling with substantial importance for water management in the American West, a U.S. appeals court upheld a lower court’s decision that an Indian tribe in California’s Coachella Valley has a right to groundwater beneath its reservation.
A federal appeals court sided with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians on Tuesday in a landmark water case, upholding a ruling that the tribe has federally established rights to groundwater in the Coachella Valley.
The complex challenges that the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act aims to resolve don’t lend themselves to quick fixes. With the deadline for the first major step—forming “groundwater sustainability agencies” in affected basins—coming up in June, we asked Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, about progress to date.
Unbridled pumping of aquifers in California’s San Joaquin Valley is severely reducing the land’s capacity to hold water, according to a Stanford University study. The loss of storage is due to subsidence, which is the compaction of soils as a result of removing too much water.
A Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary representative said the latest delay involving California American Water’s proposed Monterey Peninsula desalination project — a 30-day extension of the public comment period on the project’s draft combined state and federal environmental review document — could push back finalization of the report by a month.