David A. Gaines (1947-1988) is known for founding the Mono Lake
Committee in 1978 with the goal of preserving its ecosystem and
leading a grassroots effort to “Save Mono Lake.” The result would
be an environmental cause célèbre. As a synopsis of the Mono Lake
litigation, in 1979 a lawsuit was filed against the Los Angeles
Department of Water and Power (DWP) to stop diversions to
Southern California — citing the public trust values at Mono
William R. “Bill” Gianelli
(1919-2020) was a civil engineer who served not only as
director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR)
from 1967-1973 during Gov. Ronald Reagan’s administration, but
worked as a civil servant under Govs. Earl Warren, Goodwin Knight
and Edmund G. “Pat”
Brown during all phases of the California State Water Project (SWP):
its design, planning and construction.
Thomas J. “Tom” Graff (1944-2009) opened up the California office
of the Environmental Defense Fund in 1971 and was its regional
director for more than 35 years.
Throughout his life, he was committed to the environment and the
mentorship of environmental leaders. He was revered as an
influential environmental lawyer on the state and federal water
circuits and public forums and used strategic acumen to build
partnerships to solve water problems with long-lasting solutions.
Gray water, also spelled as grey water, is water that already has
been used domestically, commercially and industrially. This
includes the leftover, untreated water generated from clothes
washers, bathtubs and bathroom sinks.
This water source is a common way to recycle water and stretch
urban water supplies. As part of this, gray water ‘harvesting’
(the collecting of gray water from sinks, showers, etc.) is
increasingly popular, especially as a way to flush toilets.
When multiple parties withdraw water from the same aquifer,
groundwater pumpers can ask the court to adjudicate, or hear
arguments for and against, to better define the rights that
various entities have to use groundwater resources. This is known
as groundwater adjudication. [See also California
water rights and Groundwater Law.]
Groundwater banking is a process of diverting floodwaters or
other surface water into
an aquifer where it can be
stored until it is needed later. In a twist of fate, the space
made available by emptying some aquifers opened the door for the
banking activities used so extensively today.
California has considered, but not implemented, a comprehensive
groundwater strategy many
times over the last century.
One hundred years ago, the California Conservation Commission
considered adding groundwater regulation into the Water
Commission Act of 1913. After hearings were held, it was
decided to leave groundwater rights out of the Water Code.
Groundwater replenishment happens
through direct recharge and in-lieu recharge. Water used for
direct recharge most often comes from flood flows, water
conservation, recycled water, desalination and water
The treatment of groundwater— the primary source of drinking
water and irrigation water in many parts of the United States —
varies from community to community, and even from well to well
within a city depending on what contaminants the water contains.
In California, one-half of the state’s population drinks water
drawn from underground sources [the remainder is provided by