Unlike California’s majestic rivers and massive dams and
conveyance systems, groundwater is out of sight and underground,
though no less plentiful. The state’s enormous cache of
underground water is a great natural resource and has contributed
to the state becoming the nation’s top agricultural producer and
leader in high-tech industries.
Groundwater is also increasingly relied upon by growing cities
and thirsty farms, and it plays an important role in the future
sustainability of California’s overall water supply. In an
average year, roughly 40 percent of California’s water supply
comes from groundwater.
A new era of groundwater management began in 2014 with the
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which requires local
and regional agencies to develop and implement sustainable
groundwater management plans with the state as the backstop.
As California implements a landmark law to balance demand for
groundwater with available supplies, an Indian tribe’s lawsuit
in federal court has the potential to add new layers of
complexity to managing a prized resource that is in short
supply during California’s worst ever drought.
[Donna] Johnson is known as the water angel. … The
72-year-old is her town’s biggest advocate, sitting in on
drought funding meetings with county and state leaders,
shepherding reporters from around the globe so no one forgets
A vote Thursday secured the raw water supply for a treatment
plant proposed for Turlock, Ceres and south Modesto. … The
long-delayed project would reduce reliance on wells, as has
happened for 20 years with a similar plant for the rest of
NASA researchers have studied the aquifer beneath the Coachella
Valley and concluded that while flows of imported water have
helped boost groundwater levels in places, much of the aquifer
has continued to decline.
More than a third of the largest groundwater basins in the
world are being depleted faster than they are getting
replenished, and there are little to no accurate data showing
just how much water is left in them, according to two new
studies published Tuesday.
A defunct iron ore mine near Joshua Tree National Park, a site
once considered for the world’s largest landfill, has sold for
$25 million to a company that wants to develop a hydroelectric
Some of those concerned with the groundwater debate maintain
that flood irrigation of crops can be an effective way of
refilling aquifers. The University of California Cooperative
Extension in Stanislaus County is working on a pilot project to
test the theory.
California American Water and a group of experts will be asked
to prove regional agricultural irrigation pumping caused most,
if not all, of the decrease in north Marina groundwater levels
that halted pumping of the Monterey Peninsula desalination
project’s test slant well last month.
Two California Appellate Court decisions handed down in March
addressed whether or not a local water agency’s groundwater
pumping charges are property-related fees. One of these cases
concluded that they are not property-related fees. That court
decision will now be reviewed by the California Supreme Court.
The history beneath your feet in this Valley goes far deeper.
It’s a piece of the story about the nation’s second-largest
groundwater basin — California’s Central Valley, the San
Joaquin and Sacramento valleys.
A search for new sources of water by the Rio Linda-Elverta
Community Water District has found that wells closest to the
former McClellan Air Force Base have the highest levels of
hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6, a known carcinogen.
[David] Orth is general manager for the Kings River
Conservation District, a California Water Commissioner, and a
key participant in the negotiations leading up to the enactment
of the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.We spoke at
a recent event in Fresno about the challenges facing the new
Winemakers, small farmers and rural residents near the Russian
River, accustomed to reveling in Mother Nature’s bounty, were
slapped with restrictions on well water use Wednesday,
including a ban on lawn watering, in the latest effort by the
state to cope with a fourth year of drought.
More than a third of the largest groundwater basins in the
world are being depleted faster than they are getting
replenished, and there are little to no accurate data showing
just how much water is left in them, according to two new
studies published Tuesday.
Organized by the Water Education Foundation and the UC Davis
Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair, Toward Sustainable
Groundwater in Agriculture: 2nd International Conference Linking
Science and Policy provided scientists, policymakers,
agricultural and environmental stakeholders, government officials
and consultants with the latest scientific, management, legal and
policy advances for sustaining our groundwater resources in
agricultural regions around the world.
Check out the UC Davis
website for more information and a program for
the 2016 conference. You can also read the abstracts here. On
Twitter, check the hashtag #AgGroundwater
for tweets about the conference.
Groundwater is the lifeline for many rural and agricultural
regions and their associated cultures and populations around the
globe and a cornerstone of global food production.
Groundwater constitutes nearly half the world’s drinking water
and much of the world’s irrigation water supply.
Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport
1333 Bayshore Hwy
Burlingame, CA 94010
San Joaquin County is once again eligible for millions of
dollars in grants to bolster the region’s water supply, after
landowners agreed to provide private well construction details
to the state, officials announced Wednesday.
Mining desert groundwater, as far-fetched as it may seem, seems
among the most plausible additions to the region’s existing
sources of imported water: the Colorado River, and State Water
Project – which transfers water from Northern California to
Southern California. But, like many grand water schemes, this
one is attracting its share of detractors.
As California struggles to respond to a heightening drought
emergency, state lawmakers are promoting legislation that would
potentially increase scientific knowledge about the state’s
shrinking groundwater reserves. On June 1, the California
Senate passed SB 20 by a vote of 21 to 15. The bill requires
public access to the groundwater information that well drillers
file with the Department of Water Resources after completing a
The Santa Ana River is a robust and beautiful sight these days.
Five miles west of the Prado Dam in Yorba Linda, the water has
cut a narrow channel in a sandy bed and courses briskly over
submerged rocks and tree limbs.
The Water Education Foundation’s flagship event, the 33rd
annual Executive Briefing, will be held March 17, 2016 in
Sacramento. The theme for this year’s Briefing is “Defining the
This is the go-to conference for water district managers and
board members, state and federal agency officials, city and
county government officials, farmers, environmentalists,
attorneys, consultants, engineers, business executives and public
Confirmed speakers include State Water Board Chair
Felicia Marcus and California Natural Resources
Secretary John Laird. See announcements on the
right-hand of this screen for more program information.
Doubletree by Hilton
2001 Point West Way, Sacramento, CA 95815
Despite opposition from agriculture groups, the state Senate
Appropriations Committee approved legislation Thursday that
would make data on water wells available to the public like is
done in all other Western states.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge by the
pharmaceutical industry Tuesday to an Alameda County law, the
first of its kind in the nation, requiring drug manufacturers
to pay the costs of disposing of consumers’ unused medications.
A groundbreaking law that forces the pharmaceutical industry to
pay for collection and disposal of unused drugs passed its
final court test Tuesday, and the Alameda County officials who
originated the concept predicted it will now spread across the
As environmental review for its Monterey Peninsula desalination
project approaches a critical stage, California American Water
is already moving ahead with hiring contractors for key aspects
of the project.
People don’t easily forget the moment the water dies. … In
this corner of the scorched Tulare Lake Basin, where lives and
livelihoods depend on water that comes from the ground, a human
crisis is accelerating amid California’s unrelenting drought.
While state-mandated requirements of Colusa County’s
groundwater are still years away, concerns about aquifer health
among local farmers already exist. About 50 local residents and
growers participated in a public informational meeting about
groundwater at the Colusa County Fairgrounds on Tuesday night.
Millions of gallons of polluted stormwater runoff from Los
Angeles International Airport will be treated and cleaned
before washing into the Pacific Ocean or working its way into
L.A.’s groundwater basin, according to an agreement signed
Thursday by city and airport officials.
The picture of the drought is bleak. Water managers told
lawmakers almost 2,000 wells are dry. They’ve observed
groundwater levels drop by more than two feet in over 40
percent of measured wells this spring.
A private water bottling company will soon be sucking up
thousands of gallons a day from an aquifer that feeds the
Sacramento River, the primary source of drinking water for
millions of thirsty Californians struggling to cope with a
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 creates an
opportunity to establish standards for the way California
accounts for its stores of groundwater, which provide up to 60
percent of the state’s water supply during droughts.
For the second time in less than a month, Monterey Peninsula
business leaders are seeking a legal and technical analysis of
California American Water’s desalination project in an effort
to sniff out any issues that could potentially further delay or
derail the proposal.
This issue looks at remote sensing applications and how satellite
information enables analysts to get a better understanding of
snowpack, how much water a plant actually uses, groundwater
levels, levee stability and more.
Fifteen years after the film ["Erin Brockovich"] showed
triumphant residents winning a $333-million settlement with
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. for contaminating its water — and
nearly 20 years after the settlement itself — Hinkley is
emptying out, and those who stay still struggle to find
Even as the worst drought in decades ravages California, and
its cities face mandatory cuts in water use, millions of pounds
of thirsty crops like oranges, tomatoes and almonds continue to
stream out of the state and onto the nation’s grocery shelves.
One Holds that the Fee is Subject to Prop. 26 and Another
that it is a Property-Related Fee Subject to Prop. 218 —
Two California Appellate Court decisions handed down this month
address whether or not a local water agency’s groundwater
pumping charges are property-related fees, and reach different
conclusions. The distinction is important because of the
restrictions imposed for property-related fees under
Proposition 218 — as well as the exemptions for fees that are
considered taxes under Proposition 26.
Sonoma County this week unveiled its first formal response to a
wave of queries over the past six months about how California’s
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which establishes the
first rules for pumping groundwater in the Golden State, would
affect property owners and agriculture.
As California farms and cities drill deeper for groundwater in
an era of drought and climate change, they no longer are
tapping reserves that percolated into the soil over recent
centuries. They are pumping water that fell to Earth during a
much wetter climatic regime – the ice age.
State Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Calabasas – author of two of three
historic groundwater laws passed by the Legislature last year –
has introduced a new bill to make well logs public. A hearing
is scheduled for today.
Los Angeles-based Cadiz Inc. has created a 7,400-acre sanctuary
in the eastern San Bernardino County desert for protection of
desert tortoise and its habitat — the largest such set-aside in
California. Under a California Department of Fish and Wildlife
program, this land deal is structured as a conservation bank.
Irrigation leaders were pleased to learn in a recent meeting
that groundwater levels in the Oakdale Irrigation District’s
wells have dropped less than 4 1/2 inches in the past year, on
average, despite record pumping. But those numbers were based
on data from only three-fourths of OID’s deep wells, a Modesto
Bee analysis found.
Parts of the San Joaquin Valley are deflating like a tire with
a slow leak as growers pull more and more water from the
ground. The land subsidence is cracking irrigation canals,
buckling roads and permanently depleting storage space in the
vast aquifer that underlies California’s heartland.
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released
for public review and comment a draft strategic plan (Strategic
Plan) describing its roles and responsibilities under
the State’s new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
(SGMA). The Strategic Plan documents DWR’s strategy to
implement the SGMA and the efforts it will take to develop and
share information with those affected by, or tasked with,
implementation of the SGMA.
A recent defining experience for communities in California, and
many other regions of the county, has been drought of an
intensity that hasn’t been seen in generations. The
severity of this drought has forced communities to address
questions about their ability to meet their basic water
needs. A common theme for many has been the critical role
of a reliable supply of ground water in their ability to
survive and thrive into the future.
Just a few months ago the state announced that new local
groundwater sustainability plans will be required throughout
California. … About 85 people gathered in Orland Thursday
night for the first of what will be many meetings on
Initial efforts implementing the state’s new Sustainable
Groundwater Management Act must focus on getting local and
state agencies organized and able to communicate with each
other. Having common expectations for the contents of the law’s
required “Groundwater Sustainability Plans” will save the
agencies and stakeholders considerable grief and confusion.
California officials, responding to concerns about groundwater
contamination, are closing 12 wells in the Central Valley used
to dispose of chemical-laden water from oil and gas production,
regulators announced Tuesday.
A state agency has lowered the Public Health Goal for
perchlorate, a dangerous pollutant found in many underground
water basins across the Southland – including the Rialto-Colton
area and the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.
Water officials in Kern County discovered that oil producers
have been dumping chemical-laden wastewater into hundreds of
unlined pits that are operating without proper permits.
… The pits — long, shallow troughs gouged out of dirt —
hold water that is produced from fracking and other oil
The first step toward finding solutions to long-standing
groundwater overdraft in the Pajaro Valley was to acknowledge
the problem and agriculture’s contribution to it, said Miles
Reiter, chairman and CEO of Driscoll’s Strawberry Associates
Three thin streams of water fall into a row of steel sinks at
Orange County Water District’s Groundwater Replenishment System
facility in Fountain Valley: one crystal clear, one slightly
yellowed, one a brackish brown-black.
Cemex, an international cement and gravel company, had
suspended mining at its Stillwell site and stopped pumping
water into a seepage ditch that recharges groundwater for an
adjacent area that includes four homes.
The wastewater from oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing and
other extraction processes is supposed to be injected only into
wells where the groundwater is already too toxic to be used for
drinking or irrigation, even if heavily treated.
This handbook provides crucial background information
on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, signed into law in
2014 by Gov. Jerry Brown. The handbook also includes a section on
options for new governance.
The recent revelation that oil companies were allowed to inject
wastewater into federally protected aquifers has spurred alarm
from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and put state
regulators on the defensive.
The Bureau of Reclamation and the City of San Bernardino
Municipal Water District (SBMWD) will prepare a combined
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Environmental Impact
Report (EIR) for the Clean Water Factory in San Bernardino
County, California, to comply with both Federal and California
Regulators in California, the country’s third-largest
oil-producing state, have authorized oil companies to inject
production fluids and waste into what are now federally
protected aquifers more than 2,500 times, risking contamination
of underground water supplies that could be used for drinking
water or irrigation, state records show.
After three years of drought, Orange County has enjoyed some
long overdue rainfall – even snowfall – making for the
re-greening of our landscapes and some spectacular photos of
Saddleback in white. But don’t be fooled.
Oil companies in drought-ravaged California have, for years,
pumped wastewater from their operations into aquifers that had
been clean enough for people to drink. … The state faces
a Feb. 6 deadline to tell the EPA how it plans to fix the
problem and prevent it from happening again.
Starting in March, scientists are expected to begin drawing the
first groundwater samples that will help resolve a
long-standing question here: how much of this community’s
below-ground contamination is the result of nature and how much
is the result of man-made actions?
From building a tunnel connecting two south county reservoirs
to clearing the Salinas River and dealing with its
half-century-old river diversion permit to managing the Salinas
Valley groundwater basin — not to mention the promise of a
recently approved $7.5 billion state water bond — Monterey
County and its water resources agency are facing an
unprecedented number of crucial water-related issues.
Although Soquel Creek Water District officials pulled the plug
last year on a $3 million mandated conservation program, the
agency soon will roll out some components of the initiative
designed to reverse groundwater overdraft.
Farming and urban growth, two forces that are reshaping the
land surface, are also changing the chemistry and physical
properties of the nation’s aquifers, leading to greater
concentrations of natural and manmade pollutants that could
persist for decades in essential underground water sources,
according to a comprehensive U.S. Geological Survey report.
California is in the middle of a growth spurt and a
corresponding crunch for water resources. Right now, California
has 38 million people (roughly the equivalent of the entire
country of Canada) and can expect to reach 51 million by 2050,
speaker Todd Manly [director of government relations, Northern
California Water Association] said during the North State
Economic Forecast Conference in Oroville Thursday.
Deadlines for meeting a new state mandate to balance the
overdrafted Salinas Valley groundwater basin are years away,
but Monterey County water and agricultural industry leaders are
calling for the local process to begin immediately.
About 115 million people—more than one-third of the Nation’s
population—rely on groundwater for drinking water. As the
Nation’s population grows, the need for high-quality
drinking-water supplies becomes even more urgent. … The
recently completed national summary report of the quality of
the Nation’s groundwater is now available online.
The American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting is the world’s
largest convention for the Earth sciences. Every year in
mid-December, the Moscone Center in San Francisco’s
tech-booming South of Market district welcomes nearly 24,000 of
the world’s top scientists for a banquet of research and
debate. For five days I sampled widely from the AGU buffet,
looking for new insight into the ways in which water shapes
ecology and society.
The groundwater legislation passed last year says repeatedly
that nothing in the law would change existing groundwater
rights. I wondered how that would work since the whole point of
the legislation is to reduce our current over pumping of
California’s knack for spotting problems and producing answers
on topics both grand and puny is on display in 930 laws taking
effect this month. … Local water agencies will now have
to account for groundwater pumping, an unregulated practice
that is siphoning off last-ditch water supplies in a drought.
Unlike highly visible rivers and streams or lakes and ponds,
aquifers are beneath the surface, so finding them is tricky.
But water scientists, like University of Nebraska
hydrogeologist Jim Goeke, know where to look for clues to
California, its hand forced in 2014 by a nasty drought, brought
its groundwater laws out of the Gold Rush era and into line
with nearly every other state in the Union. New York’s
Democratic governor banned fracking for natural gas, in large
part because of concerns about water pollution.
The [San Francisco Public Utilities] commission’s Regional
Groundwater Storage and Project with Daly City, San Bruno and
California Water Service Co., which serves South San Francisco
and Colma, would store water that could be used during
emergencies such as a drought or earthquake, SFPUC officials
Groundwater adjudications, notoriously expensive and time
consuming, emerged as an issue during the development and
ultimate passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
of 2014, and the Brown Administration has made it a priority to
consider possible reforms.
The Antelope Valley groundwater adjudication case is the
current poster child for how painfully long and expensive
groundwater adjudications can be. … On November 20, the
Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water held an
informational hearing on groundwater adjudications titled,
“Resolving Disputes Regarding Groundwater Rights: Why Does It
Take So Long and What Might Be Done to Accelerate the
On November 20, the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and
Water held an informational hearing on groundwater
adjudications titled, “Resolving Disputes Regarding Groundwater
Rights: Why Does It Take So Long and What Might Be Done to
Accelerate the Process?” … This hearing will be covered in
three parts: In part 1, The Honorable Ronald B. Robie,
Associate Justice with the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate
District, begins with an overview of the groundwater
The State Water Resources Control Board on Dec. 3 launched a
new interactive online search tool, called “Is My Property Near
a Nitrate-Impacted Water Well” that helps users determine if
privately owned water wells are located within 2,000 feet of a
Two actions taken Tuesday – one by the Modesto Irrigation
District Board of Directors and one by the Stanislaus County
Board of Supervisors – show that our elected officials are not
only listening, they are responding.
Here’s something to be thankful for today: A landmark peace
treaty in one of this region’s most enduring water wars. San
Joaquin County and the East Bay Municipal Utility District are
the primary players behind a deal announced late Tuesday.
In a tasting that could have evoked the joie de vivre of a Napa
Valley showroom if it weren’t for the stiff office chairs at
the water department and the inherent blandness of the fare,
five Chronicle food writers — amid boozy gurgles and talk of
soft finishes — were introduced to what will soon be San
Francisco’s new tap water.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission recently began
digging in and around Golden Gate Park in hopes of drawing
underground flows into the mix within the next two years. The
move is designed to increase and diversify the city’s water
reserves as California faces its worst drought in a generation.
The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water today held
an informational hearing that focused on developing ways to
resolve groundwater rights disputes more quickly. … Sen.
Fran Pavley, (D-Aurora Hills), chair of the Senate committee,
opened the hearing by saying that following the passage this
year of the Groundwater Sustainability Management Act,
officials now want to look at the issue of groundwater
Already missing out on state money to address the drought, San
Joaquin County officials will soon ask property owners if
they’re willing to disclose to the state what some feel are
sensitive details about their wells.
This 2-day, 1-night tour traveled from the
Sacramento region to Napa Valley to view sites that explore
groundwater issues. Topics included groundwater quality,
overdraft and subsidence, agricultural use, wells, and regional
Random testing of shallow groundwater in the Northern Plains
oil patch found no early evidence of contamination from an
energy boom that’s already seen more than 8,500 wells drilled,
federal scientists said Monday.
Under the new groundwater legislation, the California
Department of Water Resources must establish the initial
priority for each groundwater basin in the state no later than
Jan. 31. Those basins that are ultimately designated as high or
medium priority will be subject to groundwater sustainability
plans to be adopted no later than Jan. 31, 2020, in some cases,
or Jan. 31, 2022 in others.
Tim O’Halloran, director of the Yolo County Flood Control and
Water Conservation District (YCFCWCD), gave a talk on how the
drought is affecting groundwater and the potential implications
of the groundwater management bill package signed by Governor
Jerry Brown earlier this year.
Water runs in Curtis Hennings’ family, as his grandfather and
his father owned well-drilling businesses. … Starting in
January, new regulations will require local water boards to
create (rules) that will limit how much water is being pumped.
Under recently enacted legislation, local agencies in
California are required for the first time to manage
groundwater pumping and recharge sustainably. … Within the
next six to eight years, agencies in groundwater basins subject
to critical overdraft must adopt plans that put these areas on
a path to sustainability by 2040. A major factor complicating
such long-term water planning is climate change.
Debra Perrone, Postdoctoral Fellow and Melissa Rohde,
Researcher Stanford researchers Debra Perrone, a postdoctoral
scholar for Water in the West and the Department of Civil &
Environmental Engineering, and Melissa Rohde, a researcher for
Water in the West and a graduate student in the Department of
Civil & Environmental Engineering, have produced a new research
brief focused on groundwater storage in California.
If you are a water manager, your “fear list” may include
earthquakes, climate change, having your water use made public
and not least of all, new laws and regulations. California has
a law that is new and complex – the Sustainable Groundwater
Management Act. … The key element of the new legislation
is the development of “groundwater sustainability plans” by
groundwater sustainability agencies.
The world is perilously ignoring the water crisis that is
occurring underfoot, writes Jay Famiglietti in the journal
Nature Climate Change. A professor of Earth system science at
the University of California, Irvine, Famiglietti has helped
refine the premier tool for understanding large-scale changes
in groundwater reserves.
The Desert Water Agency and the First Amendment Coalition
announced Wednesday that they have reached a settlement in a
lawsuit over the disclosure of information about groundwater
pumping by businesses and organizations.
A team of researchers from Stanford and the University of
Calgary say a ground-breaking geophysical survey of saltwater
intrusion into groundwater tables along 25 miles of Monterey
Bay coastline shows the wells are running a deficit.
Jennifer Bowles, the executive director of the Water Education
Foundation, recently did an interview with Radio Disney in San
Francisco to talk about various water issues, including the
drought and groundwater.
Nearly 1.8 million San Gabriel Valley water users are being put
to the test. In an effort to shine a light on the effects of
the drought, the San Gabriel Valley Water Association is
tallying the amount of water drawn from wells in local
groundwater basins every week, then handing out grades.
Things were bad enough for Rochelle Landers before her well
went dry. … She has an acre in the Sierra foothills, in a
sparsely populated town an hour northeast of Sacramento with a
seemingly abundant water supply despite the drought.
Faced with a state mandate to balance groundwater basins within
the next two decades, Monterey County officials on Tuesday took
the first step toward meeting that goal in the long overdrafted
Salinas Valley groundwater basin.
There’s a plan for water transfers could move up to 511,000
acre-feet of water each year for the next 10 years from the
Sacramento Valley to the San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area.
… The Bureau [of Reclamation] is in the middle of writing the
“Long-Term Water Transfers Environmental Impact
Statement/Environmental Impact Report.”
Two water districts, the federal government, and the Agua
Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians are laying out their
arguments in a lawsuit over water, focusing on the question of
whether the tribe has rights to groundwater.
The signs appear about 200 miles north of Los Angeles, tacked
onto old farm wagons parked along quiet two-lane roads and
bustling Interstate 5. “Congress Created Dust Bowl.” “Stop the
Politicians’ Water Crisis.” “No Water No Jobs.”
Step by step, sewage flows through the city’s Donald C. Tillman
Water Reclamation Plant in the San Fernando Valley. Ultimately,
the cleaned effluent flows into lakes and rivers.
… Mayor Eric Garcetti, who prefers the term “showers to
flowers” instead of “toilet to tap,” also lobbied for
groundwater cleanup funds.
San Joaquin County is missing out on millions of dollars in
state grants to fight the drought, in part because some private
landowners are reluctant to share confidential information
about their wells.
Drought is rampant these days in many parts of
the American West, so consider this a pretty sweet gift:
You’ve just been given the rights to some water. … Your
job is to turn around and use that resource in the most
valuable way possible.
The Water Education Foundation’s popular Northern California
Tour features a diverse group of experts talking about
groundwater, flood management, the drought, water supplies,
agricultural challenges, and the latest on salmon restoration
efforts. The tour also includes a houseboat cruise on Lake
Shasta. … The tour travels the length of the Sacramento
Valley with visits to Oroville and Shasta dams.
Sonoma County planning officials on Monday unveiled the most
significant changes in nearly 40 years to the county’s
underground well ordinance, which sets in place rules property
owners must follow when drilling a new water well.
California’s drought has created mandated water conservation
efforts, but some communities in Southern California, from
Huntington Beach to Los Angeles, are doing something extra:
trying to become water independent.
The biggest changes to California groundwater law in 150 years
are on the way. What it means for local water leaders is a lot
of work. The goal within 20 years is for all groundwater basins
in the state to achieve sustainability.
Five new wells are on the drawing board for Glenn-Colusa
Irrigation District, the biggest surface water district in the
Sacramento Valley. … Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District is
considering the five wells as a backup to surface water during
dry and critically dry years, presenters explained.
Praising “historic” cooperation among agencies as a harbinger
of future water management efforts, the Monterey County Board
of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously signed off on a deal to
provide water for the proposed Monterey Peninsula groundwater
Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday are expected to adopt a
far-reaching plan that seeks to locally manage and protect
groundwater resources through scientific study and voluntary
measures such as well monitoring.
Storage was the key sticking point in getting the legislature
to pass the water bond with the two thirds vote it needed. That
portion of the bond includes reservoirs and projects to clean
up or store more groundwater.
California voters will be faced with a $7.5 billion question
this fall about whether to publicly finance a water bond meant
to help the state better manage its most precious and
increasingly limited resource.
Drought in California today did what drought a generation ago
could not – secure the passage of legislation that requires
tighter controls on groundwater use in one of the few states
without such measures.
Putting California communities on a path to become more
resilient to water shortages, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
today [Sept. 16] signed historic legislation to strengthen
local management and monitoring of groundwater basins most
critical to the state’s water needs.
Increased groundwater pumping is under growing scrutiny. The
devastating consequences of a third year of drought, coupled
with over-regulation of surface supplies, have increased
momentum in Sacramento for state intervention in local
Groundwater losses from the Colorado River basin appear massive
enough to challenge long-term water supplies for the seven
states and parts of Mexico that it serves, according to a new
study released Thursday that used NASA satellites.
Unbridled pumping of well water along the Central Coast and in
the Central Valley could have dire consequences for the
agricultural economy, according to a new study released by the
University of California, Davis.
From The Bakersfield Californian, in a column by Lois Henry:
There’s so much going on with groundwater, it’s a whirlwind!
… There are two bills in the process of melding into one
that both aim to change a basic tenet of California groundwater
regulation — which, as it happens, does not presently exist.
An attorney said Thursday he expects to appeal a potentially
precedent-setting court finding that could make local governments
responsible for controlling the largely unregulated pumping of
groundwater in the state.
A Sacramento Superior Court judge issued a ruling Tuesday
requiring regulation of groundwater pumping to protect a river in
Siskiyou County. Attorneys on both sides say it’s the first
time a California court has ruled the “public trust doctrine”
applies to groundwater.
Consumers will see no shortages of California-grown fruits, nuts
and vegetables this year despite one of the worst droughts in
state history, but that’s because farmers are draining
groundwater reserves and leaving no insurance should heavy rains
fail to materialize next winter, UC Davis researchers said
From the San Bernardino County Sun, in a commentary by Scott
In his July 1 opinion commentary, Bob Stadum asks whether the
Cadiz Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project’s proposal
to “mine” Mojave Desert water for use in Southern California is a
good thing. While mining is a mainstay of the San Bernardino
economy, the Cadiz Project is not “mining.”
Water experts, local water agencies, environmental groups,
agricultural interests, homeowners and the media continue to join
the call to fix California’s broken groundwater management
system. Here’s what they’re saying about two rapidly moving bills
(SB 1168 and AB 1739) aimed at advancing sustainable management
of groundwater basins in the state.
When the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced last
year an ambitious groundwater treatment program for the
contaminated San Fernando Basin, the agency had its eyes on a
state water bond for crucial funding to get the project built.
From The Modesto Bee, in a commentary by Dave Phippen:
Imagine my surprise to wake up to yet another Sunday morning
story in The Modesto Bee (“Rush to drill is uneven” Page A1, June
29) to learn how those pesky nut farmers have caused even more
rural Stanislaus residents to experience the unpleasant
experience of a dry well.
By now, the contours of California’s groundwater crisis are
familiar: the dried-up wells, sinking farmland, over-tapped
aquifers and growing push for more state oversight. But on the
edges of that drama is a back story that’s been largely
overlooked about groundwater data, government secrecy and
scientific opportunities lost.
Citing the urgency to conserve water amid California’s
intensifying drought, officials of Aerojet Rocketdyne and the
city of Folsom announced Tuesday an interim solution that will
enable the company to start reusing millions of gallons of
Modesto is feeling the effects of the drought, with the Modesto
Irrigation District reducing the amount of water it sends to the
city by 43 percent, which is the same reduction MID has imposed
on its other water users.