For most of us, dairy products like milk, butter, cheese, and yogurt are an integral part of our daily diets. In fact, US residents consume on average more than 600 pounds of dairy products (expressed on a milk-equivalent basis) per year, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Some 9 million dairy cows meet that demand, and growing their feed and quenching their thirst consumes a great deal of water.
When Jake Tibbitts heard rumors about the two cattle shot at Sadler Ranch, it didn’t occur to him that water could be the potential motive, although the rancher would later make that claim. Water is a contentious topic in Eureka County, a tight-knit community of about 2,000 in rural central Nevada where Tibbitts, who oversees the county’s Natural Resources Department, has been working to prevent a vital water source from running dry.
It has become popular to lament how slowly California is embracing water markets. … Markets may be part of the solution, but only where implemented carefully. Take groundwater. In many areas, decades of unfettered pumping have depleted aquifers, resulting in dry wells, deteriorating water quality, depleted streams and infrastructure damage.
What is groundwater? Where does it occur in California? What is an aquifer? What is overdraft? … Those questions are illustrated on the Foundation’s beautiful California Groundwater Map poster, which was updated and re-designed earlier this year. Accompanying the map is the easy-to-understand 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater. … Both products retail for $15 each, but are now available in a bundle during August for $20, plus tax and shipping.
Well, it wasn’t a total loss. The water main break on Tuesday, Aug. 8, in Temecula, which flooded Jefferson Avenue between Winchester Road and Cherry Street for a few hours, will help replenish the region’s anemic groundwater supply, according to Rancho California Water District officials.
A new trial has been ordered in a lawsuit that seeks to hold a fertilizer company financially liable for contaminating a California city’s groundwater. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the case should be retried because a federal judge’s decision to exclude certain expert testimony was prejudicial to the plaintiff, the City of Pomona.
In a sweeping legal fight that could affect drinking water supplies for thousands of Sacramento-area residents, two water districts near the old McClellan Air Force Base are suing the federal government for $1.4 billion to clean up the cancer-causing chemical hexavalent chromium from the area’s groundwater supplies.
California’s Tulare Lake was once the largest body of freshwater west of the Mississippi River. Located at the southern tip of the San Joaquin Valley, it collected snowmelt from dozens of Sierra Nevada streams. Today, the giant lake is long gone: In the decades after the Gold Rush, it was drained and transformed into farmland.
The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to decide whether it will hear an appeal from water agencies and rule in the precedent-setting legal fight over whether the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians holds rights to groundwater in the California desert.
Now, a private company wants to use the pits for a $2-billion hydropower project. The plant, proponents say, would help boost renewable energy use in Southern California and lower greenhouse gas emissions. But park officials fear the hydropower project could draw down local groundwater levels and harm wildlife.
California’s drought appears over, at least above ground. As of April 2017, reservoirs were around 2 million acre feet above normal with record breaking snowpack. This is great news for the 75% of Californians that get their drinking water from large, urban surface water suppliers. Groundwater, however, takes longer to recharge and replenish. What does this mean for the more than 2,000 small community water systems and hundreds of thousands of private well-reliant households that rely on groundwater?
California survived its historic drought, in large part by using groundwater. It was a lifeline in the Central Valley, where it was the only source of water for many farmers. California regulators are charged with protecting that groundwater, but for years they failed to do so.
California’s water management is a complex stew with many cooks. At the local level, hundreds of irrigation districts and urban water agencies and a few thousand small drinking water suppliers are responsible for a wide variety of water-related issues. And it just got more complex: as of June 30, more than 250 newly formed Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) were added to the mix.
In 1989, when Clark County’s population was about 700,000, the Las Vegas Valley Water District faced the possibility of a water shortage going into the 21st century. The water district, a predecessor to the Southern Nevada Water Authority, proposed a multibillion-dollar pipeline to convey billions of gallons of groundwater from rural counties northeast of Las Vegas.
Stanislaus County will try a new groundwater treatment system to keep the former Geer Road landfill from polluting the Tuolumne River and nearby wells. The county will pay a Southern California contractor $1.74 million to build the groundwater extraction and treatment equipment at the old landfill on the north side of the Tuolumne River, about a mile northeast of Hughson.
Hanoi’s population growth — twice as high as the national average — combined with a strong textile industry and a manufacturing sector that supplies the world with electronics and information technology are drawing down the region’s water reserves. Aquifers are being pumped at an alarming rate, which threatens the city’s water supplies and its physical stability, experts say.
The battle over plans by a Los Angeles company to sell water pumped from aquifers underneath Mojave Desert conservation areas heated up again this week when state legislation was amended to require a new round of state reviews.