Topic: Groundwater

Overview

Groundwater

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.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Timber Company tells California town, go find your own water

The water that gurgles from a spring on the edge of this Northern California logging town is so pristine that for more than a century it has been piped directly to the wooden homes spread across hills and gullies.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Legal Commentary: New California law amends water supply planning laws

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 1262 into law, representing an initial attempt to incorporate groundwater management requirements under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act into two of California’s water supply planning laws. … SGMA was adopted in 2014 and, for the first time in California, establishes statewide requirements for establishing sustainable groundwater management in all basins designated by the California Department of Water Resources as medium- or high-priority.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Farmers say, ‘No apologies,’ as well drilling hits record levels in San Joaquin Valley

Drive through rural Tulare County and you’ll hear it soon enough, a roar from one of the hundreds of agricultural pumps pulling water from beneath the soil to keep the nut and fruit orchards and vast fields of corn and alfalfa lush and green under the scorching San Joaquin Valley sun.

Aquapedia background

Runoff

Snowmelt and runoff near the California Department of Water Resources snow survey site in the Sierra Nevada east of Sacramento.Runoff is the water that is pulled by gravity across land’s surface, replenishing groundwater and surface water as it percolates into an aquifer or moves into a river, stream or watershed.

Aquapedia background

Sinkholes

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 underground. 

Aquapedia background

Irrigation

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. 

Aquapedia background

Freshwater

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. Of this water, about 70 percent is confined in glaciers and permanent snow in the Arctic, meaning the remaining available water is accessible after treatment, as potable water.

Aquapedia background

Springs

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.

Aquapedia background

Potable Water

Photo of drinking water filling a glass over the kitchen sink. 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 consumption.

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Judge blocks Central California oil development over fracking

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the U.S. Bureau of Land Management from opening more than 1 million acres in Central California to oil drilling because the agency did not properly explore the potential dangers of fracking.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Judge puts hold on plan to open California lands to fracking

A federal judge on Tuesday tentatively rejected a plan by the federal Bureau of Land Management to open more than 1,500 square miles of lands in central California to oil drilling and fracking.

Announcement

Discover Hidden World of Subsidence on Upcoming Groundwater Tour
Early bird discount expires Tuesday

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 overdraft.

Aquapedia background

Mojave River

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

Aquafornia news ProPublica

California and EPA poised to expand pollution of potential drinking water reserves

As the western United States struggles with chronic water shortages and a changing climate, scientists are warning that if vast underground stores of fresh water that California and other states rely on are not carefully conserved, they too may soon run dry.

2017 Executive Briefing
Sen. Robert Hertzberg to give keynote lunch address; experts to address Oroville spillway, dam safety and flood management

With a theme focusing on “Wave of Change: Breaking the Status Quo,” the Water Education Foundation’s 34th annual Executive Briefing will be held March 23 in Sacramento. The event will examine new approaches to water management, tools to extend supplies, plans to prepare for drought, and the intersection between politics and policy.

Register below!

This premiere water conference will offer you the opportunity to hear from top policymakers and leading stakeholders on key water topics:

Hilton Sacramento Arden West
2200 Harvard Street
Sacramento, CA
Aquapedia background

Alluvium

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tujunga Spreading Grounds will soon store 5 billion of gallons of stormwater

Under the $29-million expansion plan launched Monday, officials said the groundwater recharge facility will double in capacity by 2018, helping ween Angelenos off increasingly expensive and unreliable imported water.   

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

East Bay MUD water experiment gets broad support

San Joaquin County water commissioners took the first formal step Wednesday toward approving an innovative experiment to store water below ground and share a portion of it with Bay Area residents.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California farm communities pay price for decades of fertilizer use

A pollutant that has leached into California aquifers since farmers first began using synthetic fertilizer continues to accumulate and would not be removed from groundwater even if the state’s agriculture businesses abruptly quit using nitrogen-based materials to boost the productivity of their crops.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Glenn County to resume granting permits for new wells

As of this week, the ban on drilling new wells in Glenn County has expired. … The issue, however, is not entirely dead.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Butte County groundwater: Groups take to the table for how to manage into the future

Regional groundwater leaders took some necessary next steps this week on the road to groundwater management and sustainability. In less than a year, local water leaders need to decide who will oversee state-mandated groundwater plans. 

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Alameda County first in Bay Area to ban fracking

A coalition of environmental groups had worked for more than two years to persuade [Alameda] county leaders to ban fracking and other high intensity oil recovery practices to protect against pollution of local groundwater. The Board of Supervisors approved the ban 5-0.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Public workshops planned for toxic chemical found in Valley drinking water

As California regulators plan to set a legal limit on a cancer-causing chemical found in Valley water systems, clean water advocates are urging residents to attend coming public workshops on the issue.

Groundwater Tour 2016

This 2-day, 1-night tour travels from the Sacramento region to rural Capay Valley to view sites that explore groundwater, a key resource in California.

Eventbrite - California Groundwater Tour 2016 Examine groundwater monitoring stations where you will learn how this precious resource is measured, tracked and evaluated. Visit local farms and wineries that are mitigating groundwater needs through innovative irrigation techniques. Learn about groundwater contamination and ways to prevent it at a local dairy.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Cadiz executive claims legal victory for Mojave Desert water transfer plan

The time period for legal challenges to the controversial San Bernardino County Mojave Desert underground water transfer plan has passed, officials for Cadiz Inc. said this week. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Study: Pipe-corroding well water prevalent in half of states

Half of U.S. states have a high prevalence of well water that’s corrosive enough to leach lead from pipes, the U.S. Geological Survey said Wednesday.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Scientists: California needs more groundwater data

The more scientists study California’s declining supplies of groundwater, the more they’re emphasizing one basic point: We still don’t know nearly enough about the water in our aquifers, and we need a lot more data. 

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: California’s groundwater sustainability challenge

California took a needed and much overdue step in 2014 when it passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to regulate groundwater. The law will take decades to implement, but the first steps of the process are already underway.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

How Stanford researchers discovered a gigantic underground reservoir in California’s Central Valley (with audio)

The Central Valley has been hit hard by the long-running drought. La Niña has failed to deliver the relief everyone was hoping for, but researchers at Stanford have discovered what could be good news for the region and for the state.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California has an immense groundwater supply, study finds

A recent study that found that there is more water beneath California than previously thought would seem like great news for a drought-stricken state.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

New groundwater found deep under Central Valley

The Central Valley is home to California’s productive farming belt, but the region’s groundwater is so severely overdrafted in some places that the land has been sinking. … Now scientists from Stanford University have found that the region might actually have three times more groundwater than previous estimates, which are decades old.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California fresh groundwater reserves triple in new assessment

California’s breadbasket has more water than once thought. … To be a viable source, however, the deep water need not be degraded more than it already is. 

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s vast groundwater supply remains elusive for now

A new Stanford study indicates California’s groundwater supply is three times greater than previous estimates and could represent a potential “water windfall,” its authors say. … However, water experts not involved in the Stanford study say the newly discovered supply may be too deep and too difficult to recover.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Groundwater could be a godsend, if we protect it

Our [Stanford University] new study published this week in the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences concludes that the Central Valley has almost three times more fresh water underground than the state estimates. … Assembly Bill 1755, scheduled to be heard Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water, establishes a shared water database for surface and groundwater and water diversions.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

‘Water windfall’ deep beneath California’s Central Valley (with audio)

Researchers at Stanford University found what they call a “water windfall” deep beneath the Central Valley, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California has a lot more water than some think, new Stanford study suggests

Drought-stricken California might have a hidden water bonanza.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Interlake Tunnel state funding cut 60 percent to $10 million, passes Assembly

Promised state funding for the increasingly costly Interlake Tunnel project in legislation backed by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, has been cut by 60 percent to $10 million, potentially risking long-term project financing.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Commentary: Defining a groundwater management system

In the past 30 years, perhaps no legislative effort to bolster the state’s water policy has received as much attention as the management of groundwater. This effort lead to the expansion of water district powers, the creation of special act districts with unique powers, the authorization of voluntary plans and finally culminated in the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and its trailing legislation.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Groundwater sales initiative gathers over 2,000 signatures in ballot bid

A ballot initiative created by a group of concerned citizens aims to alter groundwater management in Siskiyou County. Chapter 13 of the Siskiyou County Code governs the withdrawal and transport of groundwater, and section 3-13.301 does not allow the unpermitted transport of water from the county; however, “commercial water-bottling enterprises” are exempt from requiring such a permit. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Yolo County groundwater recharged by March Miracle storms

With this year’s storms helping to refill the Sacramento region’s lakes and reservoirs, local water district officials and state regulators are diverting and percolating stormwater from Cache Creek into the Yolo County canal system to recharge groundwater supplies used by local farmers, city residents and UC Davis.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

No easy path to implementing California groundwater law (with audio)

The state’s new groundwater management laws mean Californians no longer have unfettered use of water underground.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

First step in California groundwater law stirs debate (with audio)

Two years ago, California became one of the last states in the West to pass a law to manage groundwater. … But the bigger battle may be putting the law into practice.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin County groundwater levels still falling

For anyone who doubts that we’re still in a drought, San Joaquin County’s groundwater “savings account” was even more depleted this spring than last, despite improved rainfall over the course of the winter.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Big steps ahead on regional groundwater management

By this time next year a lot of work needs to be done on a regional groundwater sustainability plan. … Every big task needs to start somewhere, and this week the public is being asked to join the conversation.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: USGS map reveals long-term changes in America’s groundwater quality

Chloride and nitrate concentrations are rising and arsenic levels are holding steady or falling. Those are two of the conclusions from a U.S. Geological Survey assessment of changes in the nation’s groundwater quality in the last two decades. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Court blocks Oakdale Irrigation District fallowing program

A judge reversed course and decided that the Oakdale Irrigation District must address environmental concerns before implementing a new fallowing program.

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

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.”

Aquafornia news The Santa Fe New Mexican

Study finds Colorado River groundwater lacks protection

Groundwater delivers more than half the water flowing in the Upper Colorado River Basin and needs to be protected from overuse, a newly published U.S. Geological Survey study says.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Plan to pump water from Mojave survives court challenges

A company’s proposal to pump billions of gallons of water from a Mojave Desert aquifer has survived a legal fight as an appeals court rejected several challenges by opponents of the plan.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Cadiz water project in Mojave Desert wins big in appellate court

Cadiz Inc. won a decisive courtroom victory Tuesday for its plans to transfer ancient groundwater in a remote part of San Bernardino County’s Mojave Desert to parts of Orange County and other locations.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California court upholds large urban water transfer

The ruling by a three-judge panel in Santa Ana moves urban districts a step closer to getting up to 75,000 acre feet of desert groundwater a year from the Cadiz and Fenner valleys in San Bernardino County — enough to supply about 150,000 homes.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Borrego Springs water crisis begins and ends with farming

The water crisis in Borrego Springs is as simple to understand as it will be difficult to solve. At the crux is farming.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Petition to put anti-fracking measure on ballot delivered to Elections Department

The group Protect Monterey County delivered 16,108 signatures Wednesday to the Monterey County Elections Department in support of putting an initiative on the November ballot to ban fracking and dangerous oil production practices in the county.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Most states do bare minimum on fire-foam contamination

The military is checking U.S. bases for potential groundwater contamination from a toxic firefighting foam, but most states so far show little inclination to examine civilian sites for the same threat.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Companies agree to spend $78 million in groundwater cleanup

Hundreds of companies have agreed to spend around $78 million on cleaning up groundwater contaminated by toxic chemicals from a Southern California Superfund site, it was announced Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Too many water straws in the ground? — Wolk bill would require permits for well construction

Where’s the water? Somebody’s got to ask that question, state Sen. Lois Wolk says, before even more new wells can be drilled in California.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Water flows in Fresno, Visalia for recharge

For the first time in more than two years, water is flowing inside the Friant-Kern and Madera canals for groundwater recharge and farm irrigation.

Aquafornia news Central Valley Business Times

Bill to protect state’s aquifers, groundwater moves forward

Legislation to protect California’s aquifers and groundwater resources from permanent damage due to over-pumping has been approved by the state Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water on a 6-2 vote.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

New groundwater rules confusing and costly, farm water managers say

Farm water managers said new rules for managing underground supplies are confusing and potentially expensive. … The regulations are slated to go into effect June 1; the state Department of Water Resources is taking public comment about them until April 1.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Groundwater law, winter rain trigger flood of aquifer-recharge experiments around California

A historic 2014 law requiring water agencies across California to replenish the state’s imperiled aquifers created a new problem: Many local officials just weren’t sure how to do it.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California issues grants from water bond

The state of California has awarded 21 counties money from the water bond voters approved in 2014 to improve their usage of groundwater.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Documentary focuses on crisis of groundwater depletion

The film, titled “Pumped Dry: The Global Crisis of Vanishing Groundwater,” was co-produced by Steve Elfers of USA TODAY and Ian James of The Desert Sun, and was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Groundwater at March Air Reserve Base to be tested

The Department of Defense has announced that it is testing military sites nationwide to determine if perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid – both chemicals used in foams that extinguish flammable liquids – are in sediments and groundwater around runway areas.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Water district proposal voted down in Paso Robles (with video)

Landowners in the Paso Robles wine country have voted down a proposal to create a new water district to manage their groundwater basin.

Aquafornia news The Davis Enterprise

Sen. Wolk introduces Aquifer Protection Act

State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, introduced a package of water measures Friday, including legislation halting the proliferation of new wells to slow the depletion of aquifers, and avoid permanent damage to the state’s groundwater resources.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

New limits on California well-drilling sought

Warning that a drought-driven surge in well drilling is causing the earth to sag and imperiling long-term water supplies, a California senator wants to place more stringent limits on new wells.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California releases draft regulations for groundwater management (with audio)

The Department of Water Resources has now released the first draft regulations to manage groundwater sustainably. The plan lays out the steps local public agencies will need to take to prevent chronic groundwater overdraft.

Other Event

Groundwater Funding Symposium
GRA Legislative Sympoisum

This symposium will focus on three areas related to paying for development and implementation of groundwater projects and Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGMA)-related activities; obtaining outside funding; developing the agency contribution, or “match”, and Generating revenue to implement your Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP).

This event is sponsored by the Groundwater Resources Association of California. The Water Education Foundation is a Cooperating Organization.

The Citizen Hotel
926 J Street, Sacramento
Other Event

GRA’s Annual Legislative Symposium

After suffering another year of historic drought and a State of Emergency declared by Governor Brown, California remains poised in 2016 for the extension of Emergency Drought Regulations promulgated by the State Water Resources Control Board. But will 2016 also be a year of finding and finalizing solutions for long term groundwater sustainability? Join the Groundwater Resources Association for a dialogue on this and other subjects with California’s most influential Legislators and Administration Officials.

The Citizen Hotel
926 J Street, Sacramento
Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Toxic plume in Hinkley is nearly half gone

This community’s [Hinkley] contaminated groundwater plume has shrunk by nearly half over the past four years, according to the community’s scientific adviser.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

USGS Hinkley water testing now moves to private wells

The U.S. Geological Survey has begun collecting private well water samples here as part of a $5.4 million study of the area to determine how much of a cancer-causing chemical in the groundwater is man-made and how much was put there by nature. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Agua Caliente tribe to keep up water fight, leader says

Nearly three years after the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians sued the Coachella Valley’s largest water districts, the two sides remain just as far apart in a case that could force changes in how water is managed locally and set a precedent for similar disputes nationwide.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Excessive pumping of 21 groundwater basins in California (with audio)

Excessive groundwater pumping has resulted in significant overdraft of 21 basins across the state.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Most of San Joaquin Valley on state list of critically overdrafted groundwater basins

The state Department of Water Resources on Thursday released a list of 21 groundwater basins and subbasins that are overdrafted, causing land subsidence, chronically lowered groundwater levels and, in the case of the Salinas Valley, seawater intrusion.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Capturing El Niño’s rains, California farmers flood their fields (with video)

The water bubbled and gurgled for a few seconds, and then poured out in a rush. Within minutes, a five-acre plot on Nick Blom’s almond orchard was under a half foot of water Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Researchers show off groundwater recharge near Modesto

A farmer on Tuesday spread canal water across an almond orchard southwest of Modesto. He wasn’t irrigating the trees – the rain took care of that. He was recharging groundwater.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Stormwater floods Modesto almond orchard in experiment to restore aquifer

In an effort to restore California’s desperately depleted ancient aquifers, scientists are testing an approach that seizes surplus winter rain and delivers it to where it’s most useful: idle farms and fields.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Amid El Niño, a push to save California’s drought-drained aquifers

This winter, dozens of water agencies across the state are counting on a drenching El Niño to produce surplus water to stash in the earth and make up for what’s been pumped out at unprecedented rates due to the recent absence of surface supplies.

Aquafornia news KCRA-TV Sacramento

Groundwater supply needs more rain despite recent storms (with video)

Water experts in Yolo County are actively monitoring water wells to measure the groundwater supply. … The groundwater supplies about 30 percent of the water in our region, according to the Northern California Water Association, which represents water rights holders in the Sacramento Valley.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Damage from sinking land costing California billions

A canal that delivers vital water supplies from Northern California to Southern California is sinking in places.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Pumped dry: The global crisis of vanishing groundwater

Aquifers largely remain unmanaged and unregulated, and water that seeped underground over tens of thousands of years is being gradually used up. … These are stories about people on four continents confronting questions of how to safeguard their aquifers for the future – and in some cases, how to cope as the water runs out.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger (LLP)

Legal Commentary: California Appellate Court holds groundwater pumping fees are property-related fees subject to Prop. 218

In Great Oaks Water Company v. Santa Clara Valley Water District, originally issued March 26, the Sixth District Court of Appeal found that the water district’s groundwater pumping fees are property-related fees subject to Proposition 218. … The Great Oaks opinion, however, reached a different conclusion than the Second District Court of Appeal reached in City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District, issued March 17.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘Power struggle’ over local groundwater

A new law regulating groundwater use for the first time in California is decades away from being fully implemented. But already, it is clear how difficult it will be for local water providers to comply. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

More California farmland could vanish as water shortages loom beyond drought

California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, set to take effect in 2020, will limit how much groundwater can be extracted over the long haul. While details of what constitutes “sustainable” pumping are still being fleshed out, water policy experts say many farmers will gradually have their water supplies curtailed – and the nation’s leading agricultural state will farm fewer acres.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Tensions, threats as California’s new groundwater law takes shape

The tensions in Kings County offer just a taste of what’s expected in cities and towns throughout California’s farm belt over the next few years as local officials work to enact the state’s first-ever groundwater regulations.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Water conservation in Chico brought up the water levels below our feet

Chico’s efforts to save water are showing up in an increase in groundwater levels. … The same is not true in ag-rich areas.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Atomic crumbs guide first global assessment of groundwater age

By analyzing isotopes of tritium, an atomic variant of hydrogen that accumulated in lands and waters after the dawn of the nuclear age, a group of researchers was able to produce the first global estimate of the age of groundwater. The results show that groundwater, which provides two-fifths of the water used for world agriculture, is not inexhaustible.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

There are six quintillion gallons of water hiding in the Earth’s crust

Most of us think of the water cycle as something that occurs above ground — water falls from the sky, evaporates back into the atmosphere and then condenses into rain once again.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

To save water, an underground movement to bank El Niño’s rainfall

When the California Water Commission this year surveyed water agencies about storage proposals that might qualify for funding under Proposition 1, the 2014 water bond approved by state voters, half the responses involved groundwater projects, including one from [Gary] Serrato’s [Fresno Irrigation] district.

Foundation Event

Dry, Wet or Average? The Challenges for Water Project Operations

Water year 2016 began with the potential for heavy El Niño rains that captured the attention of the public. State and federal officials knew that California’s drought-stricken reservoirs would not recover that quickly. 

Hydrologic conditions, precipitation patterns, the need for fishery flows, and forecasts of state and federal water project operations were all discussed at a special FREE briefing held February 23, 2016. Sponsored by the California Department of Water Resources and the Water Education Foundation, the briefing was held at the Sacramento Convention Center, Room 202.

Sacramento Convention Center
1400 J Street, Room 204
Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Water regulators approve comprehensive clean-up for Hinkley plume

Almost 28 years since state regulators learned there was a chromium-6 problem in Hinkley, officials from the same agency approved a comprehensive clean-up order for the world’s largest known plume of this cancer-causing chemical.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Groundwater replenishment project gets guaranteed source as county supervisors sign off on deal

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an amended water recycling agreement between the county Water Resources Agency and the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency, the primary backer of the groundwater replenishment project also known as Pure Water Monterey.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Stanford project maps underground water — aimed at taking the guesswork out of well drilling

In the drought-ravaged Central Valley, scientists are using a new imaging technology to find ancient worlds of trapped water, hidden hundreds of feet underground. … This week, a helicopter swept 60 linear miles of parched fields in the Tulare Irrigation District in one of the most arid regions of California.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Place some limits on new pumping until drought ends

The governor should use his emergency powers under the existing drought to ban new wells in areas where groundwater pumping is causing significant economic damage. I [Gerald H. Meral] don’t take this position lightly. I understand it would harm people who need groundwater to keep their farms going.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: California closes 33 injection wells used to dump oilfield waste into aquifers

In an attempt to prevent its oil industry from contaminating groundwater sources that could be used for drinking water, California regulators closed 33 wells last week that were injecting oilfield waste into protected aquifers. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Key provision for groundwater regulation approved (with audio)

It’s been one year since California Governor Jerry Brown signed a landmark law to manage the state’s groundwater. The California Water Commission has approved new groundwater basin boundaries – the first major step in implementing the law.

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Legal Commentary: Governor signs Sustainable Groundwater Management Act Part II: Groundwater adjudications meet groundwater management

On October 9, 2015, Governor Brown completed what is probably one of the most remarkable two years in water legislation in California’s history. … In signing SGMA, the Governor pledged that during the 2014/15 legislative session, he would submit a proposal to streamline groundwater adjudications. With the signing of AB 1390 (Alejo) and SB 226 (Pavley), the Governor kept his promise.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: Capturing El Niño for the underground

A much-anticipated “Godzilla” El Niño this winter may refill California’s drought-diminished reservoirs, but it won’t do much to restock the severely depleted aquifers we rely upon to get by during droughts. One reason for this is the sheer depth of California’s precipitation deficit – the deepest of any drought in 120 years of recordkeeping. The state has been drier than normal for 10 of the past 14 years.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Cadiz chief to tackle desert water transfer project roadblock

The CEO for embattled Cadiz Inc. has a plan to keep alive a controversial project to transfer ancient groundwater in a remote part of San Bernardino County’s Mojave Desert to parts of Orange County and other locations, where it could serve as many as 400,000 people.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am desal test well to resume pumping

California American Water is expected to resume pumping from its stalled Monterey Peninsula desalination project test slant well operation by early November after the Coastal Commission gave its unanimous approval Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Mojave Desert: Dispute may derail Cadiz plan to tap ancient aquifers

Federal land managers have dealt a blow to the controversial Cadiz project that would draw water from ancient aquifers in the Mojave Desert and pipe it to cities across California.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Groundwater recharge project moves ahead

The Eastside Water District board voted Thursday to ask its farmers for $6 million for a groundwater recharge project. The system would eliminate no more than 10 percent of the overdraft in the 61,000-acre district, which straddles Stanislaus and Merced counties southwest of Turlock Lake, but backers said it would be a worthwhile start.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Here comes the sea — The struggle to keep the ocean out of California’s coastal aquifers

Saltwater intrusion challenges nearly every town and farm district in California that borders the Pacific. Many have been fighting back the ocean for generations. Bulletin 52, the first state report to document the salt problem in the Salinas Valley, a farming center just south of Watsonville, was published in 1946.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Uncertainty over Chromium-6 plume map shrouds draft for Hinkley cleanup

The Hinkley plume of cancer-causing chromium-6 may appear to be shrinking in future maps. But ongoing cleanup may not be the only reason. It might be that the methodology for drawing the plume has changed.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: California groundwater law tests state’s capacity to oversee a vital resource

On September 16, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown, cheerfully triumphant, signed into law the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which many observers assert is the most significant addition to California’s water protection code in a century.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Diving in on groundwater law

For years, an obscure team of water wonks has met each month in a conference room at the California Water Service Co. offices in downtown Stockton. Their charge: To protect the region’s precious groundwater, an invisible natural resource as little-known as those who guard it.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Salinas Valley’s thriving crops mask fears over the area’s lone water source

Unlike the Central Valley, which depends on snowmelt transported from faraway reservoirs, the Salinas Valley has prospered for decades relying solely on the groundwater hundreds of feet below.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Diverse group of 11 trade, labor and agencies file briefs in support of Cadiz project

Eleven local governmental bodies, trade groups, labor groups and others have filed amici “friend of the court” support for the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project in a remote Mojave Desert section of San Bernardino County.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Fired regulator — Gov. Jerry Brown pushed to waive oil safeguards

[Derek] Chernow’s declaration, obtained by the Associated Press, was contained in an Aug. 21 court filing in a lawsuit brought by a group of Central Valley farmers who allege that oil production approved by Brown’s administration has contaminated their water wells.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: State gathers up data on number of wells that have gone dry

How many domestic wells are having trouble throughout the state? More than 2,500. That’s not an exact figure, but its better than the smattering of reports that had been collected before the most recent statewide summary. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown says California’s groundwater management ‘not aggressive enough’

Gov. Jerry Brown said in an interview aired Sunday that California is not aggressive enough policing use of the state’s groundwater, promising stepped-up oversight in future years.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Naraghi Lake is Modesto Irrigation District customer

Whether because of imposed restrictions such as limits on lawn watering or personal choices such as taking shorter showers, the drought has made people more water-conscious.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Central Valley sinking fast because of groundwater pumping

The floor of the Central Valley is sinking at a record pace as drought-gripped farmers pump out the groundwater beneath them, new satellite data show.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Central Valley sinking fast in drought, NASA study shows

Portions of the San Joaquin Valley floor are sinking at an alarming rate as farmers pump ever more groundwater during California’s extended drought, according to a NASA study released Wednesday. The report, generated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the state Department of Water Resources, sheds new light on the phenomenon known as subsidence.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Report: Groundwater pumping in California has land sinking

Vast areas of California’s Central Valley are sinking faster than in the past … Meanwhile, the Department of Water Resources is launching a $10 million program to help counties with stressed groundwater basins to develop or strengthen local ordinances and conservation plans.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Glenn County halts well permits for 6 months

Glenn County supervisors voted 4-0 on Tuesday for a six-month moratorium on the issuance of well permits. 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Second time around for Glenn County talk on moratorium on new wells

Until things are back to normal, some folks in Glenn County want to see a halt to new well drilling. Tuesday, the issue will be before the Glenn County Board of Supervisors, at the request of farmer Sharron Ellis.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: 200-plus Tuolumne wells run dry (with audio)

This week and next the Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services is holding six workshops so people can sign up to have water delivered at no cost in most cases.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Cadiz deal will remove Chromium-6 from desert water

Los Angeles-based land and water resources company Cadiz Inc. on Monday announced it has lined up a technology company to help it remove the cancer-causing chemical Chromium-6 from its groundwater in the San Bernardino County desert.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Business Journal

Environmental hurdle adds a year to SMUD’s massive $800 million Iowa Hill hydroelectric project

SMUD’s big bet on a system to store energy by pumping water uphill just got a little more complicated. The state wants the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to monitor groundwater at the site, a remote spot near Camino, for an entire year before moving ahead.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

The Great Plains’ invisible water crisis

The depletion of groundwater stores also is a problem familiar to farmers struggling with drought in California, where pumping for irrigation has put the state’s Central Valley Aquifer under the most strain of any aquifer in the U.S., according to NASA satellite data.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: California Indian tribe pursues rights to groundwater

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.

Aquafornia news KVPR Valley Public Radio

The ‘Almond Doctor’ says salt is slowly crippling California’s almond industry (with audio)

High salinity levels in groundwater used for agriculture on the Westside of Central California is commonplace, but this year the issue is compounded.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Water, and hope, run dry for East Porterville woman caught in 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 East Porterville.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Turlock, Ceres, south Modesto take key step toward water plant

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 Modesto.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Scientists: Coachella Valley aquifer decline continues

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.

Aquafornia news ProPublica

How much water does the West really have? (with video)

Seventy five years ago, American scientists discovered a secret about how the planet’s water works.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Many of the world’s water basins are being depleted, studies find

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.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Joshua Tree: Plan aims to turn desert water to electricity

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 project there.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Research project in Stanislaus County will see if winter flood irrigation refills aquifers

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.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Drought conditions cause Central Valley homes to sink into the ground (with video)

Homes in a Central Valley neighborhood are the latest casualty of California’s historic drought. The parched, dry weather is causing them to literally sink into the ground.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am must seek amended desal test well permit

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.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: In California’s Central Valley, dry wells multiply in the summer heat

Some wells gurgle and hiss before they die. Others expire with a puff of sand. Either way, the result is the same: no more running water. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Some addresses may be hidden as California well reports become public

After more than six decades of secrecy, the reports that water well drillers file with the state are set to become public under a bill signed into law this week.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger LLP (BB&K)

Legal Commentary: California Supreme Court grants review in San Buenaventura groundwater pumping fees case

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.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Deepest drought issue: Beyond shallow look at groundwater

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Groundwater search turns up high carcinogen readings near McClellan

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.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Blog: Getting to groundwater sustainability

[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 groundwater law.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

State imposes well water cuts on users near Russian River

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Many of the world’s water basins are being depleted, studies find

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.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Company plans to siphon groundwater from Mojave Desert

As California’s drought enters its fourth summer, government officials and enterprising citizens are looking further and further afield for new water supplies.

International Groundwater Conference
Karen Ross, Gordon Burns among the more than 150 speakers at #AgGroundwater conference linking science and policy in San Francisco

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
Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Good news on groundwater

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.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

In drought and desperate times, an unlikely water source: the desert?

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.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Groundwater data bill passes California Senate

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 well.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

No rain, but ‘the sky is not falling’

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.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

California farmers dig deeper for water, sipping their neighbors dry

There’s a well-drilling boom in the Central Valley, and it’s a water grab as intense as any land grab before it.

Aquafornia news The Center for Investigative Reporting

California won’t identify who’s draining the state’s groundwater

A new law that attempts to preserve California’s precious groundwater comes with a catch: The state will hide the names of people draining this vast underground water source, Reveal has learned.

2016 Executive Briefing
Felicia Marcus, John Laird among the speakers

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 New Normal.” 

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 interest groups.

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
Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Senate committee passes bill making well data public

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.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Commentary: No one said groundwater laws would be easy

I [Lois Henry] noticed the Kern Groundwater Authority was proposing to double its budget from last year, which got my attention.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

County can make manufacturers pay for discarded drugs

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.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Supreme Court: Big Pharma must pay for prescription drug disposal in Alameda County

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 country.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am seeks desal project contractors despite groundwater questions

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.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Stanislaus groundwater lawsuit presses on despite activist’s possible suicide

This week’s death of a principal player in a high-stakes groundwater lawsuit against Stanislaus County will not affect the case, which continues to wind toward an October trial date.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California water officials deliver sobering facts on depleted wells

Just a few months ago, the state’s top water officials said they had reason for optimism.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Way of life withers in California’s parched citrus belt

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.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Groundwater concerns aired in Colusa

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

$40-million stormwater project targets polluted runoff at LAX

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.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers receive grim view of drought (with audio)

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.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Study will look at where groundwater begins – rain or snow

Butte County is moving ahead to learn more about groundwater recharge. Does the water found in wells in the valley come from snowpack? Or is the water from rain on flat land?

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Crystal Geyser to tap Siskiyou County groundwater

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 four-year drought.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: Keeping accounts for groundwater sustainability

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey Peninsula business leaders urge expert review of desal, groundwater replenishment reports

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.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Panel amends bill on San Joaquin Valley river flows

Modesto-area farmers and their allies did not get the vote they wanted Monday on a bill involving river flows, but their cause is still alive.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Butte County supervisors vote 4-1 to ban fracking waste disposal in county

After a relatively brief public hearing Tuesday, the Butte County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance that would ban the storage or disposal of fracking waste within the county.

Western Water Magazine

The View From Above: The Promise of Remote Sensing
March/April 2015

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

15 years after ‘Erin Brockovich,’ town still fearful of polluted water

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 resolution.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Beneath California crops, groundwater crisis grows

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.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger LLP (BB&K)

Legal Commentary: Two California appellate court rulings demonstrate groundwater pumping fees are in the ‘eye of the beholder’

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Editorial: Water details become vital as drought worsens

For the third year running, Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, is pushing legislation to provide public access to otherwise confidential reports about groundwater wells.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County gets set to study groundwater regulations

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.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Pumping halted in excess groundwater case

A San Bernardino County judge finalized a ruling Friday to stop a water district that a lawsuit says is pumping more than its share out of the Rialto-Colton Basin.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Blog: He’s not drilling a new well — why gamble with $30,000?

As the drought deepens, I’m [Mark Grossi] hearing from more people who are forced to go without indoor plumbing because they do not have $20,000 or $30,000 to replace their dried-up wells.

Aquafornia news The Center for Investigative Reporting

California is pumping water that fell to Earth 20,000 years ago

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.

Aquafornia news The Center for Investigative Reporting

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: As water dwindles, lawmakers seek access to confidential well logs

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.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Cadiz creates land trust for desert tortoise

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.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Oakdale Irrigation District water-table issue resurfaces

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.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Butte County supervisors to consider becoming groundwater sustainability agency

During its Tuesday meeting, the Butte County Board of Supervisors will discuss having the county become a groundwater sustainability agency.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Obama administration puts out fracking rules for federal lands

The Obama administration issued its first major fracking rules on Friday with standards for wells on federal and Indian lands, requiring disclosure of chemicals and covered storage of waste.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

New study, old data in Stanislaus County effort to manage groundwater

A long-awaited tool created to help manage groundwater was unveiled Wednesday to the Stanislaus County Water Advisory Committee, whose members listened politely but seemed less than thrilled.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Judge: Coachella Valley Water District doesn’t need to ID heavy water users

A Riverside County Superior Court judge this week ruled that the Coachella Valley Water District doesn’t need to disclose its private customers’ groundwater use data.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Overpumping of Central Valley groundwater creating a crisis, experts say

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

State backs Salinas Valley well monitoring

State regulators on Monday approved a critical well-monitoring program that should give the public a better idea of the groundwater situation in the Salinas Valley. 

Aquafornia news Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard (KMTG)

Blog: Department of Water Resources releases draft strategic plan for implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

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. 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Eggman floats groundwater bill

Stowing away water in our underground emergency “savings account” could get easier under a proposed bill supported by local water officials.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Blog: Celebrating National Groundwater Awareness Week

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Commentary: Groundwater law results in confusion, futility

It’s beginning to look like the hosannas that greeted California’s first-ever groundwater regulation law were a tad premature when it passed late last summer.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Herald

Salinas Valley groundwater data to go public

The agency that oversees aquifers in the Salinas Valley is finally on track to publicly disclose detailed groundwater levels there, a move that comes after years of delays.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Glenn County gets ready for action on groundwater management

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 groundwater.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: Creating effective groundwater sustainability plans

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.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Merced supervisors approve first steps of groundwater ordinance

Merced County’s proposed groundwater ordinance is one step closer to becoming law. 

Commands