Groundwater has proven to be a valuable savings account in
California during the recent severe drought as surface water
supplies have run short. This year brought some areas a temporary
respite from the record dry conditions, allowing more focus on
long-term California water issues. The greatest change is in
groundwater management. Understanding California’s hydrogeology
and patterns of groundwater use are vital to understanding the
Five years of drought have severely taxed California’s rivers,
reservoirs and groundwater. Across the state, water deliveries
have been reduced, mandatory and voluntary conservation measures
have been implemented and salmon populations have been decimated.
But what about the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the hub of
California’s major water supply systems that also serves as an
agricultural region and a crucial ecological resource?
California’s historic Sustainable Groundwater Management
Act (SGMA) is being implemented across the state.
Every high-priority and medium-priority groundwater basin and
subbasin faces different challenges and is using different
strategies to create a Groundwater Sustainability Plan. One major
step is the selection of a Groundwater Sustainability Agency
(GSA) to act as the lead agency in this process, a requirement
that must be completed by June 30, 2017.
Extensometers are among the most valuable devices hydrogeologists
use to measure subsidence, but most people – even water
professionals – have never seen one. They are sensitive and
carefully calibrated, so they are kept under lock and key and are
often in remote locations on private property.
During our California
Groundwater Tour Oct. 5-6, you will see two types of
extensometers used by the California Department of Water
Resources to monitor changes in elevation caused by groundwater
Our 2016 tour season has three chances left for you to experience
the best educational tours on California water. During these
fast-paced tours, we provide historical, scientific legal and
diverse views on often controversial topics to give you the whole
picture of this precious natural resource.
So join us this fall as we traverse major rivers and visit
In the Summer 2016 issue of the Water Education Foundation’s
Western Water, Writer Gary Pitzer delves into the issue of
site-specific decisions to remove dams because they are obsolete
– choked by accumulated sediment, seismically vulnerable and out
of compliance with federal regulations that require environmental
More than 15 years of drought on the Colorado River is increasing
the chance that Lake Mead will fall low enough to trigger a
shortage declaration in the not-too-distant future. It seems a
matter of when and not if.
According to federal officials, there is a 65 percent chance of a
shortage being declared between 2019 and 2021. To alleviate the
anticipated impacts of declining levels in Lake Mead, the
Colorado River Basin states and water users are working on a plan
to slow the decline of the nation’s largest reservoir.
Why learn about groundwater in a conference room?
Join us in the field where groundwater actually is! During
our Oct. 5 and 6
tour, we will explore several subbasins in the
Sacramento Valley Groundwater Basin as we will travel through the
agriculturally rich California counties of Yolo, Colusa, Glenn
Our 2015 Groundwater Tour was so popular, we decided to do
another one for this fall.
Join us for an updated
groundwater tour October 5-6 as we explore groundwater basins
in Yolo, Colusa, Butte and Glenn counties and visit groundwater
monitoring stations, wells, wineries, dairies and other
California is no stranger to drought. When conditions become dry,
water storage declines and water conservation mandates make news
headlines, questions from the public often surface. Answers can
be found in the Foundation’s new Drought FAQs online publication.
Comprehensive answers to what seems like an easy question are
just a click away for members of the public, journalists,
students and others from whether we can modify the weather to how
much rain it takes to end a drought.
Global groundwater issues are a major focus of the June
Groundwater Conference in San Francisco. This event will
provide participants with, among other things, the
opportunity to hear the latest scientific and policy information
about common problems worldwide and learn about possible
solutions from international experts.
Groundwater constitutes nearly half the world’s drinking water
and much of the world’s irrigation water supply. Agricultural
regions in all countries face similar challenges experienced
in California: drought, overuse, groundwater salinity,
nitrate pollution and ensuring a sustainable supply for the
In the Spring 2016 issue of the Water Education
Foundation’s Western Water, Writer Gary Pitzer delves
into the dilemma of balancing needs for the economy and the
environment in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the
importance of transporting water to the south.
Pitzer discusses the California WaterFix, a $15 billion plan
supported by the state of California and the federal government
that would involve a major re-working of the Delta plumbing
Nitrate in groundwater is one of the most pressing contamination
issues in agricultural areas around the world, from California’s
Central Valley to Denmark and New Zealand. Nitrate pollution
threatens both people and the environment, and preventing it from
seeping into aquifers and removing it from groundwater is one of
the top water quality issues around the globe.
Join the law firm of Best Best &
Krieger LLP in providing a scholarship for a university
student to experience this pivotal, three-day conference
organized by the Water Education Foundation and the UC Davis
Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair.
The Water Education Foundation is active on social media and has
free resources available to help you learn more about water in
California and the Southwest.
You can sign up to get our announcements about upcoming tours and
events emailed directly to you by clicking here.
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keep abreast of what’s going on.