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.

California water districts don’t need voter approval on fees

The Sacramento Bee, December 4, 2017

As the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is implemented, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) across California will need to find ways of raising funds, both for their day-to-day operations and for projects aimed at achieving sustainable groundwater use. A recent California Supreme Court ruling may impact how this occurs. “The decision ensures the water districts have a source of funding to undertake projects to replenish ground water — a key irrigation source for farmers that became even more vital during California’s historic drought.” In addition, the decision requires that fees be allocated fairly and distributed among groundwater users. Read more

Navigating a Flood of Information

Union of Concerned Scientists, November 2017

The Union of Concerned Scientists has published a white paper intended to provide those involved in the implementation of SGMA with information and advice in order to integrate climate projections into Groundwater Sustainability Plans. More information can be found here and the white paper can be downloaded here.

The State of Groundwater Recharge in the San Joaquin Valley

Public Policy Institute of California, November 10, 2017

The San Joaquin Valley contains many of California’s overdrafted groundwater basins, and during the drought, groundwater was pumped so heavily that wells ran dry and the land sank. This study looks at recharge efforts in the valley and its role in the implementation of SGMA. “About 75% of respondents to our survey said they were actively recharging this year. Large water districts with formal recharge programs are doing the lion’s share of recharge, but there’s lots of interest from smaller agencies in getting in on the act.” Read more

California Should Give Prop. 1 Money to Groundwater Storage Projects

Water Deeply, October 31, 2017

The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1) authorized over $7.5 billion for a variety of water projects in California. $2.7 billion of this was allocated to water storage projects. The California Water Commission is reviewing project proposals, including both surface water storage and groundwater storage. “The Commission should give serious consideration to projects that include groundwater replenishment in their proposals since the state cannot rely solely on surface reservoirs, which are predicted to have diminishing storage efficiency in a warming California.” Read more

New California Groundwater Sustainability Guide Bridges Gap Between Technical Experts and Community Members

Union of Concerned Scientists, October 26, 2017

Some of the guiding tenets of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act are local management and community involvement. However, water experts at the Union of Concerned Scientists believe the latter is hindered by lack of technical expertise, preventing many members of affected communities from participating fully in the process. A new guide to groundwater issues was created in order to help close the knowledge gap on this issue. “With sections on basin conditions, sustainability goals, water models and more, the guide presents a series of questions and advice for residents who care about local water issues and want to better understand what is being discussed at public meetings.” Read more

 New Online Tool Helps Growers Determine Need for Groundwater Recharge

Growing Produce, October 19, 2017

The California Department of Water Resources released a new data visualization tool that will allow growers to see whether they can integrate groundwater banking into their current practices. “Already being implemented on several farms across the state, groundwater banking uses excess surface water to flood fields and replenish groundwater reserves. Researchers at UC Davis suggest this technique can restore Californian’s impacted aquifers without harming crops.” Read more

More Articles

  • State Agencies to Host Groundwater Recharge Forum on November 8th – Imperial Valley News, October 3, 2017 – Read more
  • Groundwater in Santa Clara County now back to pre-drought levels – The Mercury News, September 25, 2017 – Read more
  • With Drought Restrictions Long Gone, California Keeps Conserving Water – Water Deeply, September 6, 2017 – Read more
  • Groundwater recharge – a solution for both farmers and fish – The Modesto Bee, August 23, 2017 – Read more
  • Study: Heavy Storms May Be Enough to Recharge California Groundwater – Water Deeply, August 21, 2017 – Read more
  • 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


For more SGMA news, information, and materials, visit the Water Maven’s website .