Groundwater News

For the first time, California has established a framework to work toward sustainable, local management of groundwater through the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. As the early stages of the act have been implemented across the state, discussion and controversy surrounding groundwater in California have increased. Here is a collection of news articles, op eds, and other groundwater-related materials and recommended websites to learn more.

State Agencies to Host Groundwater Recharge Forum on November 8th

Imperial Valley News, October 3, 2017

On November 8th, 2017, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will collaborate to host a public forum on groundwater recharge. A variety of stakeholders will be present to address groundwater recharge opportunities and policies. “Groundwater recharge is an important topic for California as the state continues to recover from an historic drought that caused increased reliance on groundwater basins – resulting in overdraft, failed private domestic wells and impacts to environmental quality.” Read more

Groundwater in Santa Clara County now back to pre-drought levels

The Mercury News, September 25, 2017

Groundwater levels in Santa Clara County fell by as much as 60 feet during California’s recent drought. However, due to mandated water conservation measures, significantly less groundwater was pumped. As the drought came to an end, the aquifer was recharged, both with water from reservoirs and with storm water. Rising groundwater levels have also decreased land subsidence in the area. “…Now the vast underground basins have filled back up to the levels where they were before the drought started in 2011, a welcome trend that experts say was driven by heavy winter rains and strict water conservation rules during the drought that eased the need for pumping.” Read more

With Drought Restrictions Long Gone, California Keeps Conserving Water

Water Deeply, September 6, 2017

Per capita water consumption has decreased significantly in California for decades, and in the recent years of drought, mandatory conservations measures have contributed to these water savings. Now that the drought has officially ended, these conservation measures have been lifted, and in many parts of the state, people are “slacking off a bit” on water conservation efforts. This is to be expected, according to Heather Cooley (the water program director for nonprofit Pacific Institute). Nevertheless, water use remains lower than before the drought: “Though people in some regions of California seem to have abandoned strident conservation efforts, Cooley believes statewide efficiency will continue to improve, at least on a per capita basis, and she commends Californians for their efforts to conserve water.” Read more

Groundwater recharge – a solution for both farmers and fish

The Modesto Bee, August 23, 2017

During wet years, the decisions regarding use of excess water can be quite controversial. Water can be captured and stored for later use, possibly alleviating water shortages during dry years, but it must be used to protect the habitats of fish and other wildlife too. In particularly wet years, there is plenty of water for both; efforts can be made to recharge groundwater, for example, while saving sufficient water to maintain river flows. “With further study and implementation of groundwater recharge, we could capture more water during wet years, improve in-stream river flows every year, and continue to support a prosperous agricultural economy during dry years.” Read more

Study: Heavy Storms May Be Enough to Recharge California Groundwater

Water Deeply, August 21, 2017

The immense flows of water that pour down on California during a few intense storms each year could be enough to replenish the depleted groundwater stores in the state. However, the water must be captured and distributed, which will require changes to infrastructure and the way water is managed. Scientists at UC Davis, including Ph.D. student Tiffany Kocis, are hopeful that if managed well, storm water could offset groundwater overdraft. “I wouldn’t say it’s outright going to solve everything about it. But I think it’s something that really needs to be explored and considered in the future of California water. It’s one thing to look at it from a research perspective, and another thing to get people to agree that it’s available and actually want to use it.” Read more


More Articles

  • Temperance Flat Dam investment will pay off for California – The Modesto Bee, August 13, 2017 – Read more
  • New Water Bonds Could Go Before California Voters In 2018 – Sierra Sun Times, August 2, 2017 – Read more
  • First Step in Implementing California Groundwater Law Successful – Capital Public Radio, August 1, 2017 – Read more
  • California Needs Transparency in Groundwater Pumping – Water Deeply Editorial, July 10, 2017 – Read more
  • Farmers say, ‘No apologies,’ as well drilling hits record levels in San Joaquin Valley – The Sacramento Bee, September 25, 2016 – Read more


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