Petroleum products were stored in three steel 10,000-gallon underground storage tanks containing unleaded gasoline and a 1,000-gallon waste oil tank. The activities led to petroleum-based contaminants being released into the soil and groundwater beneath the site, according to the city.
The wet winter of 2017 brought an opportunity to test groundwater recharge—the intentional spreading of water on fields to percolate into the aquifer—as a tool for restoring groundwater levels and helping basins comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). This is especially important in the San Joaquin Valley, which has the biggest imbalance between groundwater pumping and replenishment in the state.
In California’s agricultural heartland, the San Joaquin Valley, excessive pumping of groundwater has resulted in subsidence, damaging crucial infrastructure, including roads, bridges and water conveyance.
Research suggests the magnitude 6.0 earthquake that rocked California wine country in 2014 may have been caused by an expansion of Earth’s crust because of seasonally receding groundwater under the Napa and Sonoma valleys.
California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires each local Groundwater Sustainability Agency to develop and implement a Groundwater Sustainability Plan for its basin and the first plans for critically overdrafted basins are due to be completed by January 31, 2020. Each plan must be designed to achieve safe yield within 20 years. This new regime of groundwater management is a monumental change in California water law.
The frantic phone calls to the Community Water Center began in the summer of 2014. In the 7,000-strong unincorporated community of East Porterville, nestled against California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, homeowners’ wells were failing amid a historic drought.
Small Disadvantaged Communities (DACs), or DACs with less than 10,000 people, have long been disproportionately affected by California’s water management woes such as groundwater overdraft and pollution. Now, new research from the UC Davis Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior shows that the majority of small DACs are not participating in the Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) formed to address them.
A proposed tax on California’s drinking water, designed to clean up contaminated water for thousands of Californians, was abandoned by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders Friday as part of the compromise on the state budget. Lawmakers and Brown’s office scrapped the “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Act,” which would have taxed residents 95 cents a month to raise millions for cleaning toxic wells.
Driscoll’s [Berries] and its farmers don’t leave much to chance, having weathered drought conditions through much of this decade. And now they’re working on the next big challenge – implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and working to recharge the aquifer through a water recycling program.
Sinking land caused by intensive groundwater pumping in the San Joaquin Valley is releasing trapped arsenic — a known carcinogen — into aquifers that supply irrigation and drinking water for a million people, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.
The many wells that nourish the farms of the Central Valley are not only pumping so much water from the ground that the land is sinking, they’re creating a dangerous vacuum where arsenic can slip in, new research shows. Scientists at Stanford University are warning if heavy groundwater pumping continues, water supplies for dozens of communities as well as billions of dollars of irrigated crops are at risk of contamination.
With the help of emergency funding requested by Assembly member Joaquin Arambula (D-Kingsburg), whose largely rural district is in the [San Joaquin] valley, the emergency water supply program will likely continue another year at a cost of $3.5 million. Also included in the emergency relief efforts is $10 million to address failing domestic wells and septic tanks, and $10 million for the Drinking Water for Schools Program that funds treatment solutions for schools that struggle with contamination.
An estimated 360,000 Californians are served by water systems with unsafe drinking water, according to a McClatchy analysis of data compiled by the State Water Resources Control Board. … Now, after years of half solutions, the state is considering its most comprehensive actions to date. Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the Legislature to enact a statewide tax on drinking water to fix wells and treatment systems in distressed communities.
California is a force of nature when it comes to almonds. The state’s farmers produce virtually the entire US almond crop and dominate the international market. … Availability of water is clearly a major issue for the industry, since the trees must be irrigated throughout the long spring and summer dry season.
An interesting idea to conserve groundwater is gaining momentum in the competition for state funding. The California Water Commission will soon make a decision on what water conservation projects across the state get funding.
Earlier this year, the Environmental Defense Fund detailed how nine groundwater basins in six states west of the Mississippi River have confronted the need to rebalance depleted aquifers and establish successful future management. In a Western Water spotlight story, Gary Pitzer writes about strategies used in one of those basins noted in the EDF report: the Phoenix Active Management Area (AMA), which spreads 5,646 square miles across large urban centers and farmland in Arizona.
New Mexico is accusing Texas of mismanaging its share of water from the Rio Grande and failing to plan for drought. The claims were leveled in court documents filed late Tuesday as the states wrangle over management of the river.
The San Joaquin Valley is ground zero for groundwater management challenges. While agriculture is the region’s predominant water user, its cities are more likely to rely on groundwater as their primary source of water. For this reason, the urban sector will need to play a bigger role in the regional effort to balance groundwater use and replenishment.
Lack of rainfall and above-average temperatures are prolonging the drought conditions that have stressed crops and rangelands and placed new pressures on groundwater sources across the U.S. Southern Plains, climatologists from the region said Monday.
The town of Mammoth Lakes, in California’s eastern Sierra Nevada, is generally known for two things: epic skiing in winter, thanks to the very high elevation of its ski mountain; and volcanic activity, because the mountain is a simmering volcano. It’s normal to hike or ski around Mammoth and smell the sulfurous gases venting from gurgling magma deep under the mountain. That magma is also a rich source of geothermal power.