Latest Western Water Explores Novel Groundwater Recharge Incentive Program, Lake Tahoe History
Pajaro Valley pilot project offers landowners incentives to help recharge groundwater basin
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 toward 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.
One of those policy experts is 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. Kiparsky 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 goal of the project is to encourage landowners to help recharge the groundwater basin by providing them a financial incentive in the form of rebates of well-pumping fees.
In a Western Water Q&A, Kiparsky explains how it works and the challenges in trying to extend its use to other depleted groundwater basins.
The latest Western Water also takes readers On the Road to Lake Tahoe — or, as California once called it, Lake Bigler. Read more about the lake’s history, and see some of the places at and around the lake that we’ll visit on our Headwaters Tour, June 28-29.