Two of the agencies that will manage the water beneath Butte
County began to take shape this week, one with some
controversy. Groundwater sustainability agencies are required
under the September 2014 law regulating the state’s aquifers,
the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
California farmers are laboring under a daunting edict: They
must stop over-pumping groundwater from beneath their ranches.
The saving grace is that state law gives them more than 20
years to do it. Now, however, a landmark court ruling could
force many farmers to curb their groundwater consumption much
sooner than that, landing like a bombshell in the contentious
world of California water.
It looks like the Southern Nevada Water Authority won’t be
taking no for an answer. The authority board will hold a rare
special meeting Thursday to launch an appeal of the most recent
state ruling against the agency’s plans to pipe groundwater to
Las Vegas from across eastern Nevada.
On August 29, 2018, the Third Appellate District published its
long-awaited opinion in Environmental Law Foundation v. State
Water Resources Control Board (“ELF”), a case involving a
challenge to Siskiyou County’s (“County”) issuance of well
permits in the vicinity of the Scott River, a navigable
The structure of the agencies being established to manage the
groundwater beneath Butte County is made clear by two items
before the Butte County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. The board
is being asked to approve agreements to set up the Vina
Groundwater Sustainability Agency and the Wyandotte Creek
Groundwater Sustainability Agency.
The Center for Biological Diversity’s suit in Kern County
Superior Court asserts the Central Valley Regional Water
Quality Control Board voted April 5 to allow the dumping to
continue indefinitely despite a staff report concluding the
practice contaminates local groundwater and makes it unsuitable
for agricultural and municipal use.
The $78 million project will install new, larger sewer lines
that will increase wastewater capacity for the future and
remove the need for a pump station that now diverts water to a
Huntington Beach facility. It also will relocate water
lines and reroute about 9 million gallons of wastewater to
Fountain Valley, where the water will be treated and used to
recharge the groundwater basin.
A bill that could have blocked Cadiz Inc.’s plan to
pump groundwater out of the Mojave Desert died in the
California Legislature for a second straight year on
Friday, dealing a blow to the company’s opponents after
days of intense lobbying. The
measure was shelved by the Senate Appropriations
Committee after a short discussion on the final day of the
The next two days could help determine the fate of a proposal
by Cadiz Inc. to pump groundwater in the Mojave Desert and sell
it to Southern California cities. … The state Assembly
approved the measure in a 45-20 vote Wednesday
evening. But the bill could face an uphill battle in the
Senate, and the legislative session ends Friday night.
A major step toward solving the water woes of the desert
community of Borrego Springs depends on passage of a statewide
$8.8 billion bond initiative in November known as Proposition
3. If it passes, $35 million would go to Borrego, much of which
would be used to purchase and fallow farmland in the Borrego
A last-minute effort to require more state oversight of a
company’s plan to pump water from underneath the Mojave Desert
passed a key committee Tuesday, advancing in the final days of
the legislative session. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Gov. Jerry
Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor,
all urged lawmakers to pass it.
Environmentalists are mounting a last-minute bid in the final
week of the California legislative session to revive a stalled
effort to require more review for a project to pump more
groundwater from the Mojave Desert. The project by Cadiz Inc.
to sell that water to urban Southern California has been
the subject of a long-running political drama.
In a small town in the suburbs of this booming city
[Bengaluru], K.V. Muniraju knows all too well the decade-old
battle of securing water for his crops. With groundwater tables
continuously falling, the middle-aged farmer once borrowed
heavily to dig wells ever deeper.
A new $80,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant will help
The Sequoia Riverlands Trust educate Tulare County students
about its six protected nature sites, which includes
one of the last remaining Valley Oak woodlands in the
world: the 344-acre Kaweah Oaks Preserve that stretches
along Highway 198, just east of Visalia.
On August 28, Circle of Blue continues the H2O Catalyst series
live from World Water Week in Stockholm. This broadcast
explores the world’s groundwater crises. Global experts and
journalists will define and debate responses to pollution and
scarcity challenges that are disrupting the lives of millions.
Across California, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs)
are devising plans to reduce long-term overdraft. As part of
the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, GSAs will
submit plans in 2020–22, which detail strategies to bring
groundwater use into balance by 2040. Planning processes must
assemble stakeholders and estimate sustainable yields of
groundwater, quantify existing pumping, describe future options
to limit overdraft and identify funding.
Land subsidence caused by groundwater pumping has been a
problem for decades in the San Joaquin Valley, but an increased
reliance on aquifers during the last decade has resulted in
subsidence rates of more than one foot per year in some parts
of the region. Land subsidence not only has the potential
to shrink aquifers, but it puts state and federal aqueducts and
flood control structures at risk of damage.
The state’s top water regulator has rejected the Southern
Nevada Water Authority’s applications to pump groundwater to
the Las Vegas Valley from across eastern Nevada, but not
because he wanted to. State Engineer Jason King made it clear
Friday that his hand was forced by a court order he doesn’t
agree with, and he left the door open for future approval of
the controversial pipeline project.
By most accounts, the Arizona Water Bank is a monument to
foresight and a national model for how to save water for the
future. Since the late 1990s, when the Southwest’s 19-year
drought first kicked in, authorities here have quietly poured
huge amounts of Colorado River water into dozens of large sand
and gravel-filled basins until the state is ready to use it.
All along the 1,250 miles of border between Texas and Mexico,
hidden under hundreds of feet of soil and rock, lie more than a
dozen underground aquifers—areas of permeable earth that hold
water—that crisscross the national boundaries. They might be
the only sources of water the region will have left when the
Rio Grande, hit by a one-two punch of climate change and a
booming population, inevitably dries up.