WESTERN GROUNDWATER CONGRESS: Multiple perspectives on groundwater-surface water interactions under SGMA

Panel discussion looks at groundwater-surface water interactions under SGMA from a regulatory, environmental, academic, and policy perspective

From Maven’s Notebook:

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act defines sustainable groundwater management in terms of avoiding six undesirable results defined in the legislation: declining groundwater levels, reduction in groundwater storage, land subsidence, sea water intrusion, water quality degradation, and depletion of interconnected surface water.  Of these six undesirable results, the one that has spurred the most discussion has been surface water depletions.

At the Groundwater Resources Association’s Western Groundwater Congress held this fall, a panel of speakers offered their perspectives on surface water-groundwater interactions under SGMA.

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CA WATER COMMISSION: Update on implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

https://mavensnotebook.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/CAC-SGMA-Update-PPT_Page_01.jpgDWR updates the Commissioners on the evaluation of alternative plans, basin boundary modifications, and basin prioritization

At the November meeting of the California Water Commission, staff from the Sustainable Groundwater Management Program at the Department of Water Resources updated the Commissioners on the various activities of the Department to implement Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Taryn Ravazzini, the Deputy Director for Special Initiatives and the Executive Sponsor of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Program at the Department of Water Resources, began the presentation by noting that on January 1st of 2018, the Department established the Sustainable Groundwater Management Office, which resides within the Executive Division under Ms. Ravazzini’s management.  “This represents the Department’s commitment to SGMA implementation as a priority and does allow for nimble management and direct connection to DWR Executives, both of which are necessary to meet the demands of the aggressive schedule outlined in the Act,” she said.

To continue reading at Maven’s Notebook, click here:  CA WATER COMMISSION: Update on implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

DR. JEFF MOUNT: Making groundwater a centerpiece of managing the droughts of the future

Aerial view at Lake Oroville showing “The Enterprise Bridge” (Lumpkin Road) along the South Fork (above “The Green Bridge”).  Photo by DWR.
Four essential policy reforms are needed to reduce the social, economic, and environmental costs of future droughts, says Dr. Mount

From Maven’s Notebook:

California’s climate is changing. Hotter temperatures, a shrinking snowpack, shorter and more intense wet seasons, rising sea level, and more volatile precipitation—with wetter wet years and drier dry years—are stressing the state’s water management system. Recent climate projections indicate that the pace of change will increase. To avoid unwanted social, economic, and environmental consequences, the water system will need to adapt to greater climate extremes and growing water scarcity.

Dr.Jeff Mount is senior fellow with the Public Policy Institute of California, Water Policy Center. At the Western Groundwater Congress, hosted by Groundwater Resources Association of California, he argued that managing groundwater resources sustainably is the most important climate adaptation measure that the state can implement, and discussed four essential reforms are needed to reduce the social, economic, and environmental costs of future droughts. … “

Read the article from Maven’s Notebook here:  DR. JEFF MOUNT: Making groundwater a centerpiece of managing the droughts of the future

METROPOLITAN WATER DISTRICT: Update on Southern California regional groundwater conditions

Data shows groundwater recharge in the region has declined by 1.1 MAF since 2000; storage remains at unhealthy levels

From Maven’s Notebook:

“At the October meeting of Metropolitan’s Water Planning and Stewardship Committee, Senior Engineer Matt Hacker updated the committee members on regional groundwater conditions, including groundwater production, recharge, and storage conditions.

There are 88 groundwater basins and subbasins within the Metropolitan service area.  Groundwater provides over 1/3rd of the region’s water supplies.  89% of the basins within the Metropolitan service area either are adjudicated or managed. … “

Continue reading at Maven’s Notebook here:  METROPOLITAN WATER DISTRICT: Update on Southern California regional groundwater conditions

Managed Aquifer Recharge in California

Timothy Parker and Graham Fogg discuss the benefits and the challenges of Managed Aquifer Recharge, and how MAR can be key to water security in a changing climate

From Maven’s Notebook:

Groundwater is an essential water source, providing 35% of the fresh water used in California, and significantly more in drought years.  However, when groundwater is used more rapidly than it is naturally replenished, actions must be taken to correct the imbalance, and one of the tools used by groundwater managers is managed aquifer recharge (or MAR).

Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) enhances the recharge rate by creating artificial streams and ponds where water trickles into the ground, or by using wells to directly inject water underground. MAR can also be used to improve groundwater quality and prevent some of the negative consequences of groundwater depletion, like ground sinking (subsidence) or the intrusion of salty groundwater from the oceans into coastal freshwater aquifers.

In an American Geosciences Institute webinar, Timothy Parker, principal hydrogeologist at Parker Groundwater, discusses managing groundwater storage and managed aquifer recharge in California.  Next, Graham Fogg, from UC Davis discusses recharge and reservoir management and keys to water security.

Read more at Maven’s Notebook here:  Managed Aquifer Recharge in California

FloodMAR: Using floodwaters for groundwater recharge

From Maven’s Notebook:

Flood-MAR is an integrated water resource management strategy that uses flood waters resulting from rainfall or snowmelt for managed aquifer recharge on agricultural lands and working landscapes. Flood-MAR can also be implemented at multiple scales, from individual landowners diverting flood water with existing infrastructure to using extensive detention/recharge areas and modernizing flood management infrastructure and operations.

With the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act as well as the effects of climate change necessitating changes in how water is managed in California, Flood Managed Aquifer Recharge, or Flood-MAR, potentially presents a sustainable strategy that can simultaneously accommodate longer and deeper droughts along with more severe and frequent flooding.

In a July 2018 webinar, Kamyar Guivetchi, Manager of the Division of Statewide Integrated Water Management with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), discussed the importance of the Flood MAR concept and what DWR and other state agencies are doing to advance the concept.  … “

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DR. JEFF MOUNT: The Consequences of Sustainable Groundwater Management

From Maven’s Notebook:

“In 2014 California enacted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) which mandates that areas that depend upon groundwater achieve sustainability by 2040.  Meeting the requirements of SGMA will mean a net reduction in groundwater overdraft of about 2 million acre-feet per year. The social, economic and environmental consequences—intended or otherwise—of this change in water policy are vast.

Dr. Jeffrey Mount is a Senior Fellow with the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Center.  In this keynote speech given at the Groundwater Resources Association’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan Summit, Dr. Mount argued that the state needs to take a comprehensive look at what it is going to take to achieve groundwater sustainability and develop pathways that minimize or mitigate unwanted effects.  He also noted that his speech would draw on the work of his colleagues at the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center who have been working on the San Joaquin Valley to envision a future for the Valley under SGMA and what the consequences would be. … “

Continue reading at Maven’s Notebook by clicking here.

GROUNDWATER RIGHTS PRIMER: What Agencies & Project Developers Need to Know

From Maven’s Notebook:

“California depends on groundwater for a major portion of its annual water supply, and sustainable groundwater management is essential to a reliable and resilient water system. In recognition of this, the legislature passed a three-bill package known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in 2014 that set in motion a plan to sustainably manage the state’s groundwater basins.  The centerpiece of the legislation is recognition that groundwater management is best accomplished at the local level, and so SGMA requires the creation of groundwater sustainability agencies to develop and implement locally-developed groundwater sustainability plans, allowing 20 years to achieve sustainability.

The legislation explicitly states that it does not alter any water rights: the legislation adds Water Code section 10720.5(b) that states that nothing in the legislation “determines or alters surface water rights or groundwater rights under common law or any provision of law that determines or grants surface water rights.”  However, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies and project proponents must address such rights in groundwater sustainability plan development, projects to increase yield such as recharge projects, and reducing pumping to reach sustainability.

California’s structure of groundwater rights is notoriously complex, directly related to hydrologic conditions, and complicates the goal of sustainable groundwater management.  At the McGeorge School of Law’s Executive Training on Water Rights in Groundwater: A Deep Dive into California Groundwater Rights, Professor Jennifer Harder and Hydrogeologist Derrik Williams discussed the convoluted world of groundwater rights as it exists in California. … “

What’s the Potential for Increased Groundwater Replenishment in California?

From Maven’s Notebook:

“With implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) fully underway, the newly formed Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) now turn their attention to developing Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) for their basins.  For basins that are critically overdrafted and many others, bringing groundwater basins under sustainable management while maintaining current acreage in production means finding a way to recharge their basins.

At the the recent ACWA conference, a panel of groundwater experts discussed the potential for increasing groundwater recharge across the state. … “

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SGMA IMPLEMENTATION: Sharing Groundwater: A Robust Framework and Implementation Roadmap for Sustainable Groundwater Management in California

From Maven’s Notebook:

“Undoubtedly for some, the specter of the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is a fearsome and expensive thing, fraught with difficulties and expensive science. But what if there was actually a simpler way to manage groundwater in a way that can provide opportunity and wealth for the community? At a recent presentation in Bakersfield hosted by the Water Association of Kern County, Professor Mike Young gave his framework for creating such a system. … “

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