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.
On the parched west side of the San Joaquin Valley, the drought
has created a windfall for companies like Big River Drilling. A
water-well contractor based in the Fresno County community of
Riverdale, Big River can hardly keep up with demand for new
wells as farmers and rural residents seek to extract more water
from underground. … But talk about poor timing:
California farmers are supposed to start throttling back their
groundwater pumping to comply with a state law called the
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA.
At the September meeting of the California Water Commission,
Kealiʻi Bright, Assistant Director of the Division of Land
Resource Protection at the California Department of
Conservation (or DOC), gave a presentation on a new program
being spun up to repurpose farmland being retired due to SGMA
implementation. Mr. Bright began by acknowledging that the
Department of Conservation being at a Water Commission might be
unusual because they are not a groundwater agency or any kind
of water agency, but they are an agency with a suite of
programs that invest in natural and working lands’ land use
Oil companies that blast water and chemicals into the earth to
extract fossil fuels are having trouble getting new permits for
their California operations even sooner than expected. Gov.
Gavin Newsom pledged the state would stop issuing new permits
for fracking by 2024, but California has already begun to ban
the controversial oil extraction method in practice by denying
permits in droves with little fanfare. … [Fracking has]
long been a controversial method because of what climate
activists see as unacceptable dangers, including the
possibility that it can contaminate groundwater.
While the U.S. Forest Service pours resources into a runaway
battle on wildfire, it is losing the
war over water. About half of Western
water supply originates on national forest
land. But before that water reaches the West’s
major cities or great rivers, much
of it has already been claimed. Thousands of
farmers, ranchers, cities, housing developments and
industrial users pump water from the ground, channel
it away from streams into ditches or pipelines, and hold it
back in ponds and reservoirs — all to use public
water, often for private purposes.
Farmers in the heart of California’s agricultural belt – Kings
County – sense something is awry with their water supplies. In
this intensively farmed, perennially dry county, water is
leaving at a concerning rate. … As far as [walnut farmer
Steve Walker] knows, no agency, city or county board is
trying to figure out what’s really happening. … But this
much he knows — certain groundwater wells in the county are
running practically year round, even in wet years.
Water is the key to distilling—and distilling traditionally
uses a lot of water for fermentation, proofing, and especially
cooling. … Blinking Owl is in a rare position in
California. Orange County, where the distillery is located, has
one of the largest groundwater reclamation systems in
the world. This allows Blinking Owl to rely on its local
municipal system to provide a sustainable option. Friesen notes
that water conservation is a problem that’ll require both
municipal and industry solutions.
Another set of comments critical of how San Joaquin Valley
groundwater plans will impact drinking water wells dropped on
Friday from the powerful State Water Resources Control Board.
The comments focused on plans that cover the City of Fresno and
many surrounding towns as well as Visalia and a number of
smaller towns in Tulare County. Specifically, it commented on
plans covering most of the Kings and Kaweah subbasins.
At the September meeting of the California Water Commission,
Daniel Whisman, principal engineer and program manager for
DWR’s California Aqueduct Subsidence Program, updated the
Commissioners on the Department’s ongoing efforts to address
subsidence impacts to the aqueduct, including the status of the
early implementation and long term projects and the program’s
efforts to support the human right to water as codified in
section 106.3 of the California Water Code.
Colusa County will receive $718,750 in funding from the
Department of Water Resources for a bottled and hauled water
project through a fourth round of funding from DWR’s Small
Community Drought Relief program as part of its continuing
effort to address drought impacts across the state.
The state’s water agency lambasted groundwater plans drafted by
some of California’s largest and most powerful agricultural
water suppliers in the San Joaquin Valley, indicating that they
fail to protect drinking water supplies from over-pumping. The
four large groundwater basins at stake underlie stretches of
San Joaquin, Merced, Madera and Fresno counties that are home
to nearly 800,000 people and more than a million acres of
Water systems in many small communities across Central
California are due for improvements to meet new standards and
deal with the drought, including Pixley in Tulare County.
… The agency announced its 4th round of funding support
through the Small Community Drought Relief Program. It’s
an opportunity leaders in Pixley took advantage of immediately.
Pasadena City officials are suing Caltech over allegations that
the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which the university runs,
contaminated the local groundwater supply through its rocket
research, Pasadena Now reported. A test of the city’s
groundwater found it contained toxic chemicals, including
perchlorate and carbon tetrachloride, according to the
magazine. High levels of perchlorate could lead to both thyroid
and lung issues, while carbon tetrachloride is considered a
possible carcinogenic to humans.
Hailed as a complex and historic step, Sonoma County
supervisors on Tuesday unanimously endorsed plans to guide use
and governance of groundwater relied on by rural residents,
farmers and cities. The plans, required by a 2014 state law
crafted amid California’s past drought, will eventually include
well water use fees in three basins underlying the Santa Rosa
Plain and Sonoma and Petaluma valleys.
As California’s Central Valley water managers nervously await
the first official Department of Water Resources responses to
plans for how they expect to fix massive groundwater over
pumping, some were dismayed to “stumble” on comments from a
different, and very powerful, state water agency. The
State Water Resources Control Board quietly submitted
highly critical comments on five Central Valley groundwater
sustainability plans in late summer that some local groundwater
agencies only recently discovered.
If you were in the Ukiah Valley yesterday, you may have noticed
a helicopter towing a giant hoop in the sky. That hoop is
equipped with technology that will fill an important data gap
as agencies across the state try to figure out how to better
manage their groundwater aquifers.
On Oct. 27, the San Jose Planning Commission struck down
recommendations from city staff and the San Jose General Plan
Task Force to protect Coyote Valley from future development. I
cannot express how disappointing this vote was for me.
… Commercial development proposals for Coyote Valley are
rejected because they cause more wear and tear to our roads,
threaten our wildlife crossings, destroy native habitat and
endangered species and contaminate our groundwater. -Written by Assemblymember Ash Kalra,
representing the 27th Assembly District, which encompasses
approximately half of San Jose and includes all of
In 2014, the California Farm Federation warned of “huge
long-term economic impacts” if Gov. Jerry Brown signed the
package of bills that comprised the Sustainable Groundwater
Management Act and put groundwater under state regulation for
the first time in California history. … It’s happening now.
Farmers in the San Joaquin Valley are idling so many thousands
of acres that the region is now facing an issue of dust
How much groundwater is rural Arizona using? Good question.
There are basically no regulations on pumping outside of the
state’s five Active Management Areas. So, whoever has the
deepest well wins – an approach that is steadily draining
aquifers all over the state. -Written by Joanna Allhands, Arizona Republic
Amid the unpredictable impacts of climate change, UC Davis has
been recently awarded $10 million in grant funding by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and
Agriculture. Researchers from a wide range of fields — from
socioeconomics to agricultural groundwater and soil health —
will collaborate to optimize groundwater and agricultural
irrigation sustainability in the Southwest for farmers to
improve crop yield and cost efficiency.
As California’s drought wears on, Mesa Water District is taking
steps to ensure customers can enjoy fresh, reliable drinking
water on demand — and two new wells being built will increase
that local supply significantly in the coming months. Funded by
a $1.6-million grant from the state’s Department of Water
Resources, two potable water wells under construction in Santa
Ana should be completed by next summer, officials say.
As I finished up my night shift on Sept. 30, there was one
thing that remained in the back of my mind throughout that day:
“WELL No. 28 DRILLING PROJECT” (June – October 2021). Earlier
that day, I … came across the infamous (or rather, unknown to
residents) drilling project, located near my university’s film
school. It didn’t really stand out — I only ever heard about it
from my professors, and with some searching, a Facebook post
announcing its construction from Aug. 12, 2021. -Written by Owen Lucas Agbayani, part of the
Wilkinson College Student Advisory and Leadership Council, a
volunteer for Solar Rights Alliance, as well as an editor for
Chapman University’s Undergraduate Law Review.
Area canals in the Fresno Irrigation District have run dry but
at some point during a wet year, a new recharge basin south of
Fresno will be full of water. … Because of ongoing
drought challenges, FID is drawing a line in the sand and
developing four new basins. Stretch said that one located
at Malaga and East avenues will deliver water to both growers
A local water district violated the Brown Act by making key
decisions about water resources in closed session, according to
a letter filed by the San Luis Obispo County District
Attorney’s Office. The cease-and-desist letter, dated Nov. 4,
alleges the board of directors of the Shandon-San Juan Water
District, which manages a portion of the water in the Paso
Robles Groundwater Basin, made decisions about water sources in
closed session at a March 16 meeting.
When an excessive amount of groundwater is pumped from wells,
it can cause the land above the wells to sink, causing
buildings to crumble and pipes to burst. A new report prepared
for Pajaro Valley water managers, however, shows that from 2015
to 2018 the land above the valley’s aquifer subsided only 2
inches — hopeful news as coastal communities battle a severe
drought. Just over the coastal mountain range in the Central
Valley, the “land subsidence” in over-pumped water basins is a
lot more dire. Some areas of the fertile valley have reached a
subsidence rate of nearly a foot a year …
North Bay water suppliers are partnering to create what would
essentially be a water banking system to draw from during times
of drought – and replenish when supplies are ample. The
Sonoma Water agency has already begun the work to bring three
existing wells in the Santa Rosa Plain online to supply another
source of water to Marin and its other customers in response to
the drought. The agency has reactivated these wells for every
drought since 1977, but now plans to upgrade them for the first
time to allow water to be injected back into them.
In the short span of two years, Kings Subbasin
Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in California’s Central
Valley have invested in 600 acres of prime
groundwater recharge land. This land represents 15 dedicated
basins that are constructed or in development. There are
thousands of landowners and many communities that overlie the
Kings Subbasin that are dependent on the subbasin’s groundwater
Water rising beneath the ground, pushed up by intruding salt
water as sea levels rise, now impacts thousands of toxic waste
sites throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. A six-month
investigation by NBC Bay Area found that the threat from rising
groundwater isn’t decades in the future but, in some cases, may
be imminent. In many hot spots from the North Bay to the South
Bay, UC Berkeley scientists told the Investigative Unit they’ve
recorded groundwater already at or near the surface.
The statewide drought has put small communities in a bind when
it comes to water. Kettleman City may easily be the poster
child. Benzine and arsenic in the water wells in this I-5 town
led to state and federal help to build an $11 million water
treatment plant in 2020 so the town could finally get clean
water from the California Aqueduct that runs right through
Water is central to how California adapts to a changing
climate. To those of us steeped in the complexities of managing
the state’s water resources, the current fast-moving
drought—coming on the heels of the record-breaking 2012–16
drought—is a stark reminder that we must accelerate preparation
for the disruptive changes underway.
The California Water Commission staff asked a group of informed
stakeholders and experts about “how to shape well-managed
groundwater trading programs with appropriate safeguards for
communities, ecosystems, and farms.” I submitted the following
essay in response to a set of questions. In general, setting up
functioning and fair markets is a more complex process than
many proponents envision.
The Bureau of Reclamation, in coordination with the McMullin
Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency, invites the public and
media to attend a virtual public scoping meeting on the
proposed Aquaterra Water Bank Project on Nov. 10. The
project includes construction, operation, and maintenance by
McMullin GSA of a 146,000 acre-foot per year dry-year return
water bank in Fresno County. The project is anticipated to
recharge up to 208,000 acre-feet of water during wet-year
conditions once constructed.
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is planning
to survey the underground aquifer structures with the use of a
low-flying helicopter starting Nov. 11, according to a press
release issued by Mendocino County this afternoon. The aircraft
will be “towing” an Airborne Electromagnetic (AEM) rig
described as a “large hoop with science equipment” around Ukiah
as well as parts of neighboring counties. Pilots will be making
multiple passes over some areas and may very well be visible to
Seeking to better comprehend the relationship between droughts
and groundwater, researchers at the University of California,
Riverside examined decades worth of groundwater data from
more than 250 wells across the United States. In contrast,
previous research on the effects of drought on groundwater has
mostly relied on modeling studies. By observing the timing and
extent to which the various unconfined aquifers were affected
by multiyear droughts, the researchers found considerable delay
between the start and end of a drought and the point at which
groundwater levels begin to decline and recover.
Exeter, less than a mile away … has refused to connect
Tooleville to its water system. The engineering is simple:
0.7 miles of pipe. The human risk of not doing it is high.
Tooleville water is contaminated with the carcinogen hexavalent
chromium (chrom-6), and sometimes nitrates linked to
agriculture and bacteria….Among a slew of water bills signed
in September was one inspired largely by Tooleville’s struggle.
Called the “proactive water solutions bill,” SB 403 gives the
state the power to mandate and fund consolidation when there is
an at-risk water system.
As scientists have been predicting, climate change is causing
more dramatic extremes in weather — both wet and dry — and that
pendulum swung very dramatically to the wet side over the
weekend. Consequently, it’s critical we prepare now to capture
and store water during these shorter, intense wet periods so
that more water is available during the inevitable increasingly
severe drought years ahead.
Despite the rain that drenched central and northern California
recently, drought still casts a long shadow over the state. The
consequences of a multi-year water shortage are dire:
reservoirs that serve millions of people and massive swaths of
farmland are disappearing, hydroelectric dams are in danger of
losing power and wild salmon are facing mass die
outs….Stanford water experts Newsha Ajami, Rosemary
Knight, Felicia Marcus and Barton “Buzz”
Thompson discuss lessons learned from previous droughts,
imperatives for infrastructure investment and reasons for hope
in this arid era.
[A] suite of federal, state, and local laws ostensibly
protect California’s watersheds from pollution, and volumes of
codes are dedicated specifically to safeguarding streams and
rivers from cattle. Yet through a variety of loopholes and
exemptions, and possibly agency languor, roaming cows have
access to many of the state’s waterways. Here, the animals
denude riverbanks, eliminate riparian habitat, and degrade
water quality. High concentrations of manure-born bacteria are
known to flow from Marin County cattle ranches into the waters
surrounding Point Reyes.
On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we’re
discussing a four-part series by Capital & Main on the
disproportionate impact of California’s worsening drought on
communities of color and low-income people living in rural and
farming areas in California. Nearly 10 years ago, California
enacted the Human Right to Water Act to help beleaguered
communities in the state. This landmark legislation obligates
the state to work towards safe, clean, affordable and
accessible drinking water to the one million residents without
it. What is being done to provide rural communities with
affordable and clean water?
For farmers in California’s San Joaquin Valley—the Saudi Arabia
of nuts—2021 brought many challenges. Scant snowfall in the
Sierra Nevada mountain range delivered almost no irrigation
water to the region’s vaunted complex of dams and aqueducts.
Record-high temperatures baked farm fields. Before this past
weekend’s furious storms, California endured its driest year in
recorded history. Yet the region’s ever-expanding and
very thirsty almond and pistachio operations are thriving
anyway. -Written by Tom Philpott, food and ag correspondent
for Mother Jones.
Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) has reintroduced the
Securing Access for the Central Valley and Enhancing (SAVE)
Water Resources Act. The bill provides a wraparound approach to
addressing water issues facing the Central Valley by increasing
storage opportunities, spurring innovation, and making
“long-overdue investments in our aging water infrastructure,”
said the congressman.
As California faces what is predicted to be one of its worst
droughts in recorded history, water managers are seeing record
increases in water theft, leaving communities angry and police
chasing water bandits constantly on the move. Byrhonda Lyons of
CalMatters, the nonprofit news site, has the story of how water
meant for residential use is flowing to illegal marijuana
Beginning in 2019, multiple retail water providers in Orange
County, California, elected to shut down several dozen
groundwater wells because they were found to contain low levels
of a class of contaminants known as perfluoroalkyl and
polyfluoroalkyl substances. In a region that depends heavily on
groundwater for its water supplies, the closures have proved
expensive… Following an extensive study of various methods of
removing PFAS from drinking water, the Orange County Water
District recently began operations at the first of more than 30
planned PFAS treatment facilities.
Between the late 1950s and 2008, Chevron disposed [fracking
wastewater] produced in Lost Hills in eight cavernous
impoundments at its Section 29 facility. Euphemistically called
“ponds,” the impoundments have a combined surface area of 26
acres and do not have synthetic liners to prevent leaking. That
meant that over time, salts and chemicals in the wastewater
could leak into the ground and nearby water sources like the
California Aqueduct, a network of canals that delivers water to
farms in the Central Valley and cities like Los Angeles. And
that’s exactly what happened, according to new research
California has a reputation as a leader on climate and
environmental policy. So it doesn’t advertise the fact that it
allows the oil and gas industry to store wastewater produced
during drilling and extraction in unlined pits in the ground, a
practice that began in the early 1900s. Now, though,
researchers have revealed the environmental costs of
California’s failure to regulate how its $111 billion oil and
gas industry manages the wastewater, known as produced
State politicians have done something laudable, and it has gone
unheralded. They haven’t even bragged about it themselves. So,
here’s some heralding. They’ve authorized spending about $5
billion on drought-related water projects without charging it
on the credit card. They’re going to pay cash. That will save
taxpayers roughly twice the projects’ cost for tacked-on
interest. -Written by George Skelton, Los Angeles Times
In what could be the final word on a prolonged effort to stop
construction of a new well outside Point Reyes Station, the
California Coastal Commission rejected an appeal by Inverness
Park resident Gordon Bennett. The commission declined to take
jurisdiction over the permit issued by Marin County to North
Marin Water District to build a new well on the Gallagher ranch
that would help make up for salinity intrusion at existing
wells on the former Coast Guard property.
In one of the final steps to complete a Groundwater
Sustainability Plan (GSP) for the Colusa Subbasin, the Colusa
Groundwater Authority (CGA) and the Glenn Groundwater Authority
(GGA) hosted a virtual public meeting on Wednesday to review
the plan and gather community input. The GSP is a roadmap
for how groundwater will be managed over the next two decades,
according to meeting facilitator Dave Ceppos, and is being
prepared by the CGA and GGA in response to the Sustainable
Groundwater Management Act of 2014 …
Napa River is bone-dry in stretches and some have voiced the
controversial claim that groundwater pumping amid a deep,
two-year drought is partly to blame. That’s the backdrop
against which Napa County is crafting a state-required Napa
Valley groundwater plan. Twenty-five people from the wine
industry, environmental community and other sectors are on an
advisory committee working on the first draft. One thorny issue
is determining if and when too much groundwater pumping for
agriculture dries up the river and streams.
The Klamath Tribes recently received 2 separate grants totaling
over $250,000 dollars. They’re coming to the tribes from the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. One of the grants will
invest $99,992 into purchasing and installing a solar-powered
water pump. It will help minimize external nutrient loading
from agricultural properties around Upper Klamath Lake. The
other grant, worth around $152,000, will go towards phase 2 of
the groundwater and surface-water monitoring study for the
It’s been a rough and perplexing six weeks for shareholders of
downtown-based water infrastructure development company Cadiz
Inc. Shares have plunged nearly 50% since Labor Day weekend
from a trading range of about $13 to a new, lower range of
about $7. And while that’s been jolting for investors, it has
also been a bit of a mystery. Cadiz executives had been busy
reconfiguring the company’s decades-old plan to transfer water
from its Mojave Desert aquifer to water agencies throughout
Construction is underway in Seaside on a major water pipeline
that will help deliver recycled water to California American
Water Co. customers along the Monterey Peninsula. The $5.5
million pipeline will run parallel to an existing line that is
carrying water north from the Carmel River as part of the
Aquifer Storage and Recovery system, or ASR. The program sends
water north from the river during peak winter flows that is
then injected into the Seaside Basin as a type of savings
account that can be used later.
Climate change is putting California’s water system to the
test. Facing increasingly frequent and intense droughts,
shorter wet seasons, and rising temperatures, Californians are
struggling to maintain a stable water supply that can meet the
needs of our population while keeping our ecosystems intact.
The state’s aging, 20th-century water infrastructure—including
dams and levees—urgently needs an upgrade to cope with a
21st-century climate. We need to increase groundwater storage
and restore flows to suffering ecosystems and the wildlife that
depends on them.
In many parts of California, reminders abound that the American
West is running out of water. “Bathtub rings” mark the
shrinking of the state’s biggest reservoirs to some of their
lowest recorded levels. Fields lie fallow, as farmers grapple
with an uncertain future. A bed-and-breakfast owner spends $5
whenever a tourist showers. But not in San Diego County. In
this coastal desert metropolis, life has stayed mostly the same
for residents already accustomed to conserving what they have
long treated as a precious resource.
In a sizable series of transactions that speaks to looming
uncertainties in local ag, a Wasco farming family recently sold
2,400 acres in west Bakersfield — and with them, options to buy
45,000 acre-feet of water banked by the Semitropic Water
Storage District — to a Virginia-based investment company
drawn to California farmland.
In an effort to expand Corning’s water services, the city is
applying for a Small Community Drought Relief of $22,322,250
through the Department of Water Resources. Corning is applying
for this grant to fund three wells and extend water mains and
laterals within the municipality’s sphere of influence, which
is to Viola Road west across Interstate 5, north to Finnell
Avenue and east across Interstate 5.
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) made the
County of Madera responsible for groundwater management for the
more than 200,000 acres that are not part of an irrigation or
water district (the “white areas”) in Madera County. Like many
regions in the Central Valley, Madera County is heavily
groundwater dependent. … [T]he Madera County Groundwater
Sustainability Agency (GSA) has been implementing a range of
aggressive management actions to reduce water use, implement
projects to increase supply, and take additional measures to
track groundwater use … -Written by Rob Poythress, chair of the Madera
County Board of Supervisors. Supervisors Leticia Gonzalez,
David Rogers, Brett Frazier and Tom Wheeler contributed to this
As California’s seasons become
warmer and drier, state officials are pondering whether the water
rights permitting system needs revising to better reflect the
reality of climate change’s effect on the timing and volume of
the state’s water supply.
A report by the State Water Resources Control Board recommends
that new water rights permits be tailored to California’s
increasingly volatile hydrology and be adaptable enough to ensure
water exists to meet an applicant’s demand. And it warns
that the increasingly whiplash nature of California’s changing
climate could require existing rights holders to curtail
diversions more often and in more watersheds — or open
opportunities to grab more water in climate-induced floods.
The San Joaquin Valley has a big
hill to climb in reaching groundwater sustainability. Driven by
the need to keep using water to irrigate the nation’s breadbasket
while complying with California’s Sustainable Groundwater
Management Act, people throughout the valley are looking for
innovative and cost-effective ways to manage and use groundwater
more wisely. Here are three examples.
Groundwater provides about 40
percent of the water in California for urban, rural and
agricultural needs in typical years, and as much as 60 percent in
dry years when surface water supplies are low. But in many areas
of the state, groundwater is being extracted faster than it can
be replenished through natural or artificial means.
Across a sprawling corner of southern Tulare County snug against the Sierra Nevada, a bounty of navel oranges, grapes, pistachios, hay and other crops sprout from the loam and clay of the San Joaquin Valley. Groundwater helps keep these orchards, vineyards and fields vibrant and supports a multibillion-dollar agricultural economy across the valley. But that bounty has come at a price. Overpumping of groundwater has depleted aquifers, dried up household wells and degraded ecosystems.
Since 1997, more than 430 engineers,
farmers, environmentalists, lawyers, and others have graduated
from our William R. Gianelli Water Leaders program. We’ve
developed a new alumni network
webpage to help program participants connect and keep in
This event explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.
The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs was the focus of this tour.
Innovative efforts to accelerate
restoration of headwater forests and to improve a river for the
benefit of both farmers and fish. Hard-earned lessons for water
agencies from a string of devastating California wildfires.
Efforts to drought-proof a chronically water-short region of
California. And a broad debate surrounding how best to address
persistent challenges facing the Colorado River.
These were among the issues Western Water explored in
2019, and are still worth taking a look at in case you missed
The Water Education Foundation’s Water 101 Workshop, one of our most popular events, offered attendees the opportunity to deepen their understanding of California’s water history, laws, geography and politics.
Taught by some of the leading policy and legal experts in the state, the one-day workshop held on Feb. 20, 2020 covered the latest on the most compelling issues in California water.
McGeorge School of Law
3327 5th Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817
A diverse roster of top
policymakers and water experts are on the
agenda for the Foundation’s 36th annual Water
Summit. The conference, Water Year 2020: A Year
of Reckoning, will feature compelling conversations
reflecting on upcoming regulatory deadlines and efforts to
improve water management and policy in the face of natural
Tickets for the Water Summit are sold out, but by joining the waitlist we can
let you know when spaces open via cancellations.
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
California experienced one of the
most deadly and destructive wildfire years on record in 2018,
with several major fires occurring in the wildland-urban
interface (WUI). These areas, where communities are in close
proximity to undeveloped land at high risk of wildfire, have felt
devastating effects of these disasters, including direct impacts
to water infrastructure and supplies.
One panel at our 2019 Water
Summit Oct. 30 in Sacramento will feature speakers
from water agencies who came face-to-face with two major fires:
The Camp Fire that destroyed most of the town of Paradise in
Northern California, and the Woolsey Fire in the Southern
California coastal mountains. They’ll talk about their
experiences and what lessons they learned.
The southern part of California’s Central Coast from San Luis Obispo County to Ventura County, home to about 1.5 million people, is blessed with a pleasing Mediterranean climate and a picturesque terrain. Yet while its unique geography abounds in beauty, the area perpetually struggles with drought.
Indeed, while the rest of California breathed a sigh of relief with the return of wet weather after the severe drought of 2012–2016, places such as Santa Barbara still grappled with dry conditions.
With a key deadline for the
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in January, one of the
featured panels at our Oct.
Summit will focus on how regions around California
are crafting groundwater sustainability plans and working on
innovative ways to fill aquifers.
The theme for this year’s Water Summit, “Water Year 2020: A Year
of Reckoning,” reflects critical upcoming events in California
water, including the imminent Jan. 31, 2020 deadline for
groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) in high- and
Our event calendar is an excellent
resource for keeping up with water events in California and the
Groundwater is top of mind for many water managers as they
prepare to meet next January’s deadline for submitting
sustainability plans required under California’s Sustainable
Groundwater Management Act. We have several upcoming featured
events listed on our calendar that focus on a variety of relevant
Registration opens today for the
Water Education Foundation’s 36th annual Water
Summit, set for Oct. 30 in Sacramento. This year’s
theme, Water Year 2020: A Year of Reckoning,
reflects fast-approaching deadlines for the State Groundwater
Management Act as well as the pressing need for new approaches to
water management as California and the West weather intensified
flooding, fire and drought. To register for this can’t-miss
event, visit our Water Summit
Registration includes a full day of discussions by leading
stakeholders and policymakers on key issues, as well as coffee,
materials, gourmet lunch and an outdoor reception by the
Sacramento River that will offer the opportunity to network with
speakers and other attendees. The summit also features a silent
auction to benefit our Water Leaders program featuring
items up for bid such as kayaking trips, hotel stays and lunches
with key people in the water world.
Summer is a good time to take a
break, relax and enjoy some of the great beaches, waterways and
watersheds around California and the West. We hope you’re getting
a chance to do plenty of that this July.
But in the weekly sprint through work, it’s easy to miss
some interesting nuggets you might want to read. So while we’re
taking a publishing break to work on other water articles planned
for later this year, we want to help you catch up on
Western Water stories from the first half of this year
that you might have missed.
Our 36th annual
happening Oct. 30 in Sacramento, will feature the theme “Water
Year 2020: A Year of Reckoning,” reflecting upcoming regulatory
deadlines and efforts to improve water management and policy in
the face of natural disasters.
The Summit will feature top policymakers and leading stakeholders
providing the latest information and a variety of viewpoints on
issues affecting water across California and the West.
One of California Gov. Gavin
Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade
Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within
weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that
Crowfoot, 45, is now charged with executing.
That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach”
on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded
floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge.
Groundwater helped make Kern County
the king of California agricultural production, with a $7 billion
annual array of crops that help feed the nation. That success has
come at a price, however. Decades of unchecked groundwater
pumping in the county and elsewhere across the state have left
some aquifers severely depleted. Now, the county’s water managers
have less than a year left to devise a plan that manages and
protects groundwater for the long term, yet ensures that Kern
County’s economy can continue to thrive, even with less water.
This tour explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.
The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs is the focus of this tour.
3333 Blue Diamond Road
Las Vegas, NV 89139
Although Santa Monica may be the most aggressive Southern California water provider to wean itself from imported supplies, it is hardly the only one looking to remake its water portfolio.
In Los Angeles, a city of about 4 million people, efforts are underway to dramatically slash purchases of imported water while boosting the amount from recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater cleanup and conservation. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 announced a plan to reduce the city’s purchase of imported water from Metropolitan Water District by one-half by 2025 and to provide one-half of the city’s supply from local sources by 2035. (The city considers its Eastern Sierra supplies as imported water.)
Imported water from the Sierra
Nevada and the Colorado River built Southern California. Yet as
drought, climate change and environmental concerns render those
supplies increasingly at risk, the Southland’s cities have ramped
up their efforts to rely more on local sources and less on
Far and away the most ambitious goal has been set by the city of
Santa Monica, which in 2014 embarked on a course to be virtually
water independent through local sources by 2023. In the 1990s,
Santa Monica was completely dependent on imported water. Now, it
derives more than 70 percent of its water locally.
The whims of political fate decided
in 2018 that state bond money would not be forthcoming to help
repair the subsidence-damaged parts of Friant-Kern Canal, the
152-mile conduit that conveys water from the San Joaquin River to
farms that fuel a multibillion-dollar agricultural economy along
the east side of the fertile San Joaquin Valley.
The growing leadership of women in water. The Colorado River’s persistent drought and efforts to sign off on a plan to avert worse shortfalls of water from the river. And in California’s Central Valley, promising solutions to vexing water resource challenges.
These were among the topics that Western Water news explored in 2018.
We’re already planning a full slate of stories for 2019. You can sign up here to be alerted when new stories are published. In the meantime, take a look at what we dove into in 2018:
This 2-day, 1-night tour offered participants the opportunity to
learn about water issues affecting California’s scenic Central
Coast and efforts to solve some of the challenges of a region
struggling to be sustainable with limited local supplies that
have potential applications statewide.
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.
In 1983, a landmark California Supreme Court ruling extended the public trust doctrine to tributary creeks that feed Mono Lake, which is a navigable water body even though the creeks themselves were not. The ruling marked a dramatic shift in water law and forced Los Angeles to cut back its take of water from those creeks in the Eastern Sierra to preserve the lake.
Now, a state appellate court has for the first time extended that same public trust doctrine to groundwater that feeds a navigable river, in this case the Scott River flowing through a picturesque valley of farms and alfalfa in Siskiyou County in the northern reaches of California.
One of our most popular events, our annual Water 101 Workshop
details the history, geography, legal and political facets
of water in California as well as hot topics currently facing the
Taught by some of the leading policy and legal experts in the
state, the one-day workshop on Feb. 7 gave attendees a
deeper understanding of the state’s most precious natural
Optional Groundwater Tour
On Feb. 8, we jumped aboard a bus to explore groundwater, a key
resource in California. Led by Foundation staff and groundwater
Harter and Carl Hauge, retired DWR chief hydrogeologist, the
tour visited cities and farms using groundwater, examined a
subsidence measuring station and provided the latest updates
on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
McGeorge School of Law
3327 5th Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817
More than a decade in the making, an
ambitious plan to deal with the vexing problem of salt and
nitrates in the soils that seep into key groundwater basins of
the Central Valley is moving toward implementation. But its
authors are not who you might expect.
An unusual collaboration of agricultural interests, cities, water
agencies and environmental justice advocates collaborated for
years to find common ground to address a set of problems that
have rendered family wells undrinkable and some soil virtually
unusable for farming.
As California embarks on its unprecedented mission to harness groundwater pumping, the Arizona desert may provide one guide that local managers can look to as they seek to arrest years of overdraft.
Groundwater is stressed by a demand that often outpaces natural and artificial recharge. In California, awareness of groundwater’s importance resulted in the landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in 2014 that aims to have the most severely depleted basins in a state of balance in about 20 years.
Spurred by drought and a major
policy shift, groundwater management has assumed an unprecedented
mantle of importance in California. Local agencies in the
hardest-hit areas of groundwater depletion are drawing plans to
halt overdraft and bring stressed aquifers to the road of
We explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop
of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad
sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and
The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in
the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin
states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this
water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial
needs was the focus of this tour.
Hampton Inn Tropicana
4975 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89118
California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot.
Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.
This three-day, two-night tour explored the lower Colorado River
where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand
is growing from myriad sources — increasing population,
declining habitat, drought and climate change.
The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in
the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin
states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this
water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial
needs is the focus of this tour.
Best Western McCarran Inn
4970 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89119
This tour explored the Sacramento River and its tributaries
through a scenic landscape as participants learned about the
issues associated with a key source for the state’s water supply.
All together, the river and its tributaries supply 35 percent of
California’s water and feed into two major projects: the State
Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. Tour
participants got an on-site update of repair efforts on the
Oroville Dam spillway.
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
One of the wettest years in California history that ended a
record five-year drought has rejuvenated the call for new storage
to be built above and below ground.
In a state that depends on large surface water reservoirs to help
store water before moving it hundreds of miles to where it is
used, a wet year after a long drought has some people yearning
for a place to sock away some of those flood flows for when they
Sinkholes are caused by erosion of
rocks beneath soil’s surface. Groundwater dissolves soft
rocks such as gypsum, salt and limestone, leaving gaps in the
originally solid structure. This is exacerbated when water is
acidic from contact with carbon dioxide or acid rain. Even
humidity can play a major role in destabilizing water
Irrigation is the artificial supply
of water to grow crops or plants. Obtained from either surface or groundwater, it optimizes
agricultural production when the amount of rain and where it
falls is insufficient. Different irrigation
systems are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but in
practical use are often combined. Much of the agriculture in
California and the West relies on irrigation.
The United States
Geographical Survey (USGS) defines freshwater as containing
less than 1,000 milligrams per liter dissolved solids. However,
500 milligrams per liter is usually the cutoff for municipal and
commercial use. Most of the Earth’s water is saline, 97.5
percent with only 2.5 percent fresh.
Springs are where groundwater becomes surface water, acting as openings
where subsurface water can discharge onto the ground or directly
into other water bodies. They can also be considered the
consequence of an overflowing
aquifer. As a result, springs often serve as headwaters to streams.
Potable water, also known as
drinking water, comes from surface and ground sources and is
treated to levels that that meet state and federal standards for
Water from natural sources is treated for microorganisms,
bacteria, toxic chemicals, viruses and fecal matter. Drinking
raw, untreated water can cause gastrointestinal problems such as
diarrhea, vomiting or fever.
Extensometers are among the most valuable devices hydrogeologists
use to measure subsidence, but most people – even water
professionals – have never seen one. They are sensitive and
carefully calibrated, so they are kept under lock and key and are
often in remote locations on private property.
During our California
Groundwater Tour Oct. 5-6, you will see two types of
extensometers used by the California Department of Water
Resources to monitor changes in elevation caused by groundwater
Flowing into the heart of the Mojave Desert, the Mojave River
exists mostly underground. Surface channels are usually dry
absent occasional groundwater surfacing and flooding
from extreme weather events like El Niño.
Alluvium generally refers to the clay, silt, sand and gravel that
are deposited by a stream, creek or other water body.
Alluvium is found around deltas and rivers, frequently
making soils very fertile. Alternatively, “colluvium” refers to
the accumulation at the base of hills, brought there from runoff
(as opposed to a water body). The Oxnard Plain in Ventura
County is a visible alluvial plain, where floodplains have
drifted over time due to gradual deposits of alluvium, a feature
also present in Red Rock Canyon State Park in Kern County.
A new era of groundwater management
began in 2014 with the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater
Management Act (SGMA), which aims for local and regional agencies
to develop and implement sustainable groundwater management
plans with the state as the backstop.
SGMA defines “sustainable groundwater management” as the
“management and use of groundwater in a manner that can be
maintained during the planning and implementation horizon without
causing undesirable results.”
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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 printed issue of Western Water looks at hydraulic
fracturing, or “fracking,” in California. Much of the information
in the article was presented at a conference hosted by the
Groundwater Resources Association of California.
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 some of
the pieces of the 2009 water legislation, including the Delta
Stewardship Council, the new requirements for groundwater
monitoring and the proposed water bond.
This printed issue of Western Water examines the Russian and
Santa Ana rivers – areas with ongoing issues not dissimilar to
the rest of the state – managing supplies within a lingering
drought, improving water quality and revitalizing and restoring
the vestiges of the native past.
This printed copy of Western Water examines California’s drought
– its impact on water users in the urban and agricultural sector
and the steps being taken to prepare for another dry year should
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 issue of Western Water examines the issue of California
groundwater management, in light of recent attention focused on
the subject through legislative actions and the release of the
draft Bulletin 118. In addition to providing an overview of
groundwater and management options, it offers a glimpse of what
the future may hold and some background information on
groundwater hydrology and law.
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.
20-minute DVD that explains the problem with polluted stormwater,
and steps that can be taken to help prevent such pollution and
turn what is often viewed as a “nuisance” into a water resource
through various activities.
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.
Water truly has shaped California into the great state it is
today. And if it is water that made California great, it’s the
fight over – and with – water that also makes it so critically
important. In efforts to remap California’s circulatory system,
there have been some critical events that had a profound impact
on California’s water history. These turning points not only
forced a re-evaluation of water, but continue to impact the lives
of every Californian. This 2005 PBS documentary offers a
historical and current look at the major water issues that shaped
the state we know today. Includes a 12-page viewer’s guide with
background information, historic timeline and a teacher’s lesson.
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.
Fashioned after the popular California Water Map, this 24×36 inch
poster was extensively re-designed in 2017 to better illustrate
the value and use of groundwater in California, the main types of
aquifers, and the connection between groundwater and surface
Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch
poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural
hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants,
rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation.
Excellent for elementary school classroom use.
As the state’s population continues to grow and traditional water
supplies grow tighter, there is increased interest in reusing
treated wastewater for a variety of activities, including
irrigation of crops, parks and golf courses, groundwater recharge
and industrial uses.
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 2005 version offers expanded information on
groundwater banking and conjunctive use, Colorado River
transfers 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 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 24-page Layperson’s Guide to California Water provides an
excellent overview of the history of water development and use in
California. It includes sections on flood management; the state,
federal and Colorado River delivery systems; Delta issues; water
rights; environmental issues; water quality; and options for
stretching the water supply such as water marketing and
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Nevada Water provides an
overview of the history of water development and use in Nevada.
It includes sections on Nevada’s water rights laws, the history
of the Truckee and Carson rivers, water supplies for the Las
Vegas area, groundwater, water quality, environmental issues and
today’s water supply challenges.
Seawater intrusion can harm groundwater quality in a variety of
places, both coastal and inland, throughout California.
Along the coast, seawater intrusion into aquifers is connected to overdrafting of
groundwater. Additionally, in the interior, groundwater
pumping can draw up salty water from ancient seawater isolated in
Overdraft occurs when, over a period of years, more water is
pumped from a groundwater basin than is replaced from all sources
– such as rainfall, irrigation water, streams fed by mountain
runoff and intentional recharge. [See also Hydrologic Cycle.]
While many of its individual aquifers are not overdrafted,
California as a whole uses more groundwater than is replaced.
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
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 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.
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.]
For something so largely hidden from view, groundwater is an
important and controversial part of California’s water supply
picture. How it should be managed and whether it becomes part of
overarching state regulation is a topic of strong debate.
In early June, environmentalists and Delta water agencies sued
the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Kern
County Water Agency (KCWA) over the validity of the transfer of
the Kern Water Bank, a huge underground reservoir that supplies
water to farms and cities locally and outside the area. The suit,
which culminates a decade-long controversy involving multiple
issues of state and local jurisdictional authority, has put the
spotlight on groundwater banking – an important but controversial
water management practice in many areas of California.
Groundwater, out of sight and out of mind to most people, is
taking on an increased role in California’s water future.
Often overlooked and misunderstood, groundwater’s profile is
being elevated as various scenarios combine to cloud the water
supply outlook. A dry 2006-2007 water year (downtown Los Angeles
received a record low amount of rain), crisis conditions in the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the mounting evidence of climate
change have invigorated efforts to further utilize aquifers as a
reliable source of water supply.
When you drink the water, remember the spring. – Chinese proverb
Water is everywhere. Viewed from outer space, the Earth radiates
a blue glow from the oceans that dominate its surface. Atop the
sea and land, huge clouds of water vapor swirl around the globe,
propelling the weather system that sustains life. Along the way,
water, which an ancient sage called “the noblest of elements,”
transforms from vapor to liquid and to solid form as it falls
from the atmosphere to the surface, trickles below ground and
ultimately returns skyward.
Traditionally treated as two separate resources, surface water
and groundwater are increasingly linked in California as water
leaders search for a way to close the gap between water demand
and water supply. 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.