Conjunctive use is a catchphrase for coordinated use of surface
water and groundwater— literally going with the flow to maximize
California does not have a statewide groundwater management
system, and groundwater and surface water have been traditionally
treated as separate resources. Now, with water demand frequently
outpacing supply, water leaders are often coordinating the use of
both. More long-term, California water managers are now including
conjunctive use as part of their strategies for future water
management. Conjunctive use centers on flexibility, and its
application includes both active and passive forms.
California’s Central Valley produces much of the nation’s food,
including about 40% of the country’s fruits and nuts and has
the nation’s second most pumped aquifer system. Its drier
southern portion, the San Joaquin Valley, has decreasing
surface water supply reliability due to frequent and prolonged
droughts, stricter environmental regulations, and growing
competition among water users. Many farmers pump groundwater to
provide their unsupplied water demand. The resulting
groundwater overdraft has numerous impacts on the Valley’s
agriculture and residents.
The San Joaquin Valley and urban Southern California are worlds
apart in many ways. Yet each face growing water challenges and
a shared interest in ensuring reliable, affordable water
supplies to safeguard their people and economies. Both regions’
water futures could be more secure if they take advantage of
shared water infrastructure to jointly develop and manage some
To survive the next drought and meet
the looming demands of the state’s groundwater sustainability
law, California is going to have to put more water back in the
ground. But as other Western states have found, recharging
overpumped aquifers is no easy task.
Successfully recharging aquifers could bring multiple benefits
for farms and wildlife and help restore the vital interconnection
between groundwater and rivers or streams. As local areas around
California draft their groundwater sustainability plans, though,
landowners in the hardest hit regions of the state know they will
have to reduce pumping to address the chronic overdraft in which
millions of acre-feet more are withdrawn than are naturally
The city currently has six groundwater pumping stations that
were used during the drought. But the stations have the ability
to pump water back into the aquifer as well. The Folsom Dam
currently has three gates open to release enough water so it
has room to capture flood water. Roseville Utility officials
say it’s just the right time to do a larger scale test of its
water injection strategy.
At the March 29th Santa Ana River Watershed Conference in
Orange County, the PPIC’s Ellen Hanak will put the
top managers of the watershed’s five major water districts
on the hot seat to uncover the region’s latest innovations and
find out what the next generation of integrated water
management planning looks like.
The Pismo Beach City Council wants to build a $28 million
facility that will purify Pismo Beach and South San Luis Obispo
County Sanitation District wastewater and inject it into the
Santa Maria groundwater basin. If completed, it will prevent
salt water from seeping into one of South County’s water
sources and provide more water to South County residents.
The new report, “Sustainable Landscapes on Commercial and
Industrial Properties in the Santa Ana River Watershed,”
explores how landscape conversion on commercial and industrial
properties can reduce water use, increase stormwater capture
and groundwater recharge, improve water quality, and reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and pesticide use.
As more people build homes in fire-prone areas, and as climate
change and other factors increase the frequency of fires, there
is a growing risk to life and property throughout the West —
and a lesser known risk to the region’s already endangered
water supply. At least 65 percent of the public water supply in
the Western U.S. comes from fire-prone areas.
The announcement finalizes prioritization of 458 basins,
identifying 56 that are required to create groundwater
sustainability plans under the Sustainable Groundwater
Management Act. For most basins, the results are a confirmation
of prioritizations established in 2015. Fifty-nine basins
remain under review with final prioritization expected in late
At the Groundwater Resources Association’s Western Groundwater
Congress, a panel of experts discussed emerging issues as
agencies work to develop their plans to comply with the
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which became law in
California in 2014.
There’s every reason to expect that 2019 will be far better,
largely because of Measure W, which was passed by voters in
November. The initiative imposes a Los Angeles County parcel
tax that will generate $300 million per year to reduce
pollution from runoff and capture storm water to add to the
In the universe of California water, Tim Quinn is a professor emeritus. Quinn has seen — and been a key player in — a lot of major California water issues since he began his water career 40 years ago as a young economist with the Rand Corporation, then later as deputy general manager with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and finally as executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. In December, the 66-year-old will retire from ACWA.
The California Water Commission announced Friday that the Sites
Reservoir project was eligible for $1 billion in Proposition 1
funds, up from $933 million the commission had said it might
receive last month. … The commission also signaled more
support for a small groundwater storage proposed by the
Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District.
This 24-page booklet traces the development of the
landmark Water Forum Agreement, signed in April 2000 by 40
Sacramento region water purveyors, public officials, community
group leaders, environmentalists and business representatives.
The publication also offers insight on lessons learned by
Water Forum participants.
Although some water districts have coordinated use of surface
water and groundwater for years ,conjunctive use has become the
catchphrase when it comes to developing additional water supply
for the 21st century. This article focuses on conjunctive use. It
includes background information explaining how conjunctive use
works, discusses the potential storage capacity, provides an
overview of the hurdles that must be overcome to develop a
successful project, and profiles several projects.
This issue of Western Water examines the continuing practice of
smart water use in the urban sector and its many facets, from
improved consumer appliances to improved agency planning to the
improvements in water recycling and desalination. Many in the
water community say conserving water is not merely a response to
drought conditions, but a permanent ethic in an era in which
every drop of water is a valuable commodity not to be wasted.
Statewide, groundwater provides about 30 percent of California’s
water supply, with some regions more dependent on it than others.
In drier years, groundwater provides a higher percentage of the
water supply. Groundwater is less known than surface water but no
less important. Its potential for helping to meet the state’s
growing water demand has spurred greater attention toward gaining
a better understanding of its overall value. This issue of
Western Water examines groundwater storage and its increasing
importance in California’s future water policy.
This printed issue of Western Water features a
roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources
consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development
with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor
to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial
page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of
research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of
This printed issue of Western Water looks at California
groundwater and whether its sustainability can be assured by
local, regional and state management. For more background
information on groundwater please refer to the Foundation’s
Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater.
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership
with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an
excellent overview of climate change and how it is already
affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists
anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and
precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are
underway to plan and adapt to climate.
Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the
faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close
to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their
water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and
testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to
households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from,
how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality
are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress
A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water:
Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at
community forums and speaking engagements to help the public
understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems
and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to
households throughout the state.
This 7-minute DVD is designed to teach children in grades 5-12
about where storm water goes – and why it is so important to
clean up trash, use pesticides and fertilizers wisely, and
prevent other chemicals from going down the storm drain. The
video’s teenage actors explain the water cycle and the difference
between sewer drains and storm drains, how storm drain water is
not treated prior to running into a river or other waterway. The
teens also offer a list of BMPs – best management practices that
homeowners can do to prevent storm water pollution.
This 11-minute video simplifies the often-misunderstood concept
of conjunctive use – coordinating surface water and groundwater
supplies, which are often managed as separate resources. It
explains in an easy-to-understand manner the relationship between
groundwater and surface water, outlines different forms of
conjunctive use, and identifies issues of concern that must be
resolved for each project. Includes extensive computer graphics
that illustrate these concepts.
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater is an in-depth,
easy-to-understand publication that provides background and
perspective on groundwater. The guide explains what groundwater
is – not an underground network of rivers and lakes! – and the
history of its use in California.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water
Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication
that provides background information on the principles of IRWM,
its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water
The 20-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Marketing provides
background information on water rights, types of transfers and
critical policy issues surrounding this topic. First published in
1996, the 2000 version offers expanded information on groundwater
banking and conjunctive use … Colorado River transfers,
CALFED’s Water Transfer Program and the role of private companies
in California’s developing water market.
Order in bulk (25 or more copies of the same guide) for a reduced
fee. Contact the Foundation, 916-444-6240, for details.
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law, recognized as
the most thorough explanation of California water rights law
available to non-lawyers, traces the authority for water flowing
in a stream or reservoir, from a faucet or into an irrigation
ditch through the complex web of California water rights.