An aquifer is a geologic formation that stores, transmits, and
yields significant quantities of water to wells or springs.
Aquifers come in two types. Some are formed in the space between
porous materials such as sand, gravel, silt or clay and are known
as alluvial aquifers or unconfined aquifers. However, in many
places in California, there are aquifers beneath a rock layer
that does not allow water to permeate in measurable amounts.
These are known as confined aquifers.
Every five years the California Department of Water Resources
releases an updated version of the California Water Plan— a
comprehensive compilation of water data that guides future water
policy in the state. The plan is commonly referred to as Bulletin
Gray water, also spelled as grey water, is water that already has
been used domestically, commercially and industrially. This
includes the leftover, untreated water generated from clothes
washers, bathtubs and bathroom sinks.
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.
Integrated Regional Water Management, commonly known as IRWM,
aims to collectively manage all aspects of water resources in a
region. This approach includes all constituencies, including
those that traditionally have been outside of the water planning
and policy process such as tribal representatives.
Since World War II and a booming state population that
increasingly sought out the great outdoors to relax, the state’s
water-based recreational activities have continued to grow more
popular and diverse, occurring in a multitude of sources –
from swimming pools and spas to beaches, reservoirs, natural
lakes and rivers.
Typically, water utilities’ budgets are funded by revenue
collected through water and sewer rates. Revenue generated by
rates covers the costs of operations, as well as ongoing upgrades
and repairs to pipelines, treatment plants, sewers and other
California’s climate, characterized by warm, dry summers and mild
winters, makes the state’s water supply unpredictable. For
instance, runoff and precipitation in California can be quite
variable. The northwestern part of the state can receive more
than 140 inches per year while the inland deserts bordering
Mexico can receive less than 4 inches.