ASU scientists using latest space technology to assess the health of a large aquifer system in California’s San Joaquin Valley

“A team of Arizona State University scientists has been using the latest space technology, combined with ground measurements, to assess the health of one of the nation’s most important sources of underground water, a large aquifer system located in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

The team, comprised of School of Earth and Space Exploration researchers Chandrakanta Ojha, Susanna Werth and Manoochehr Shirzaei, focused on the San Joaquin Valley’s most recent drought period, from 2012 to 2015, measuring both groundwater loss and aquifer storage loss. The results of their findings have been recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. … ”

Read more from Arizona State University here:  ASU scientists using latest space technology to assess the health of a large aquifer system in California’s San Joaquin Valley

Is U.S. Groundwater Quality Getting Better or Worse? It’s Hard to Say

“After nearly three decades of groundwater monitoring, the federal government’s foremost Earth science agency has collected enough data to begin identifying long-term pollution trends in the country’s largest aquifers.  A few trends, that is, but not many.

Two clear patterns that the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Quality Assessment found are that concentrations of chloride and sodium are climbing nationally, while in farm regions in California and southern Georgia, nitrate levels have increased. … ”

Read more from Circle of Blue here:  Is U.S. Groundwater Quality Getting Better or Worse? It’s Hard to Say

Friant Water Authority: FWA: Strathmore flooding not the result of canal subsidence or overflow

“The Friant Water Authority Tuesday morning issued the following statement regarding the flooding in Strathmore last weekend with the hope of clearing up some possible misunderstandings as to the cause of the flooding:

“The flooding experienced in a residential neighborhood in Strathmore near the Friant-Kern Canal over the weekend is not due to overtopping of the Friant-Kern Canal’s banks — which did not occur — and is also not related to subsidence problems or conveyance restrictions on the Friant-Kern Canal, but rather to drainage from Frazier Creek. The Friant-Kern Canal’s integrity has not been compromised. … ” 

Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Friant Water Authority: FWA: Strathmore flooding not the result of canal subsidence or overflow

Paso Robles groundwater committee seeks public input on supply projects, pumping fees

“North County political leaders responsible for the health of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin are launching discussions about which multi-million-dollar water projects could help solve the aquifer’s woes—and how basin pumpers will pay for them.

In the future, the basin, which serves much of Paso Robles wine country, could start receiving water from the State Water Project, Lake Nacimiento, and/or the Salinas Dam. … ”

Read more from New Times SLO here:  Paso Robles groundwater committee seeks public input on supply projects, pumping fees

The challenges of changing land use in the San Joaquin Valley:

 “Implementing the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act—which requires overdrafted groundwater basins to achieve balance between supply and demand by the 2040s—could require taking at east 500,000 acres of irrigated cropland out of production in the San Joaquin Valley.

While some lands will be converted to uses such as solar energy, groundwater recharge, and restored habitat, there are no current plans for most of this acreage. We talked to Soapy Mulholland, president and CEO of Sequoia Riverlands Trust, about this impending challenge.

PPIC: What key challenges does this land use transition pose?

Soapy Mulholland: The challenges of managing this amount of land if it’s fallowed piecemeal―5 acres here, 30 there—are huge. A hodgepodge of retired lands would be very difficult to manage and restore. … “

Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  The challenges of changing land use in the San Joaquin Valley

San Luis Obispo County eyes new rules on well drilling

“San Luis Obispo County supervisors are exploring what it’d take to bolster the county’s authority in issuing groundwater well permits.

Following a report about groundwater conditions in the Adelaida region of the North County on Feb. 26, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to have its staff look at how it could increase the level of review and discretion the county has over approving or denying well applications. … ”

Read more from New Times SLO here: SLO County eyes new rules on well drilling

Dozens attend special Paso Basin Cooperative Committee meeting

“About 60 people turned out Wednesday afternoon at the Paso Library Conference Room for a special meeting of the Paso Basin Cooperative Committee.

The committee includes Chairperson John Hamon, (who requested a new chair be elected at the next meeting), Joe Parent of San Miguel, Vice Chair and County Supervisor John Peschong and Secretary Willy Cunha of Shandon-San Juan.

Those committee members all attended yesterday, although John Hamon left early to attend Ash Wednesday ceremonies, so alternate committee member Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin filled in for the latter part of the meeting. … ”

Read more from the Paso Robles Daily News here:  Dozens attend special Paso Basin Cooperative Committee meeting

After local outcry, a Harvard-owned vineyard project faces environmental review

“California farmer Brenton Kelly still remembers how the Cuyama Valley used to be.  The valley, located in California’s Central Coast region, has long been home to an abundance of wildlife.

Historically, the land has been used for cattle pastures, and featured “beautiful rolling grassy hill” and an “amazing wildflower show,” according to Kelly.  These days, however, the land has been taken over by large commercial farms and vineyards, Kelly said. … ”

Read more from the Harvard Crimson here:  After local outcry, a Harvard-owned vineyard project faces environmental review

Madera County growers tackle water issues

“Local growers and others met last week for a triple tour of Madera County water users Friday and an on-farm groundwater recharge workshop Wednesday.

What we’re trying to do is get different types of beneficial users together so that they can listen to each other’s successes and challenges,” said county Water and Natural Resources Department director Stephanie Anagnoson about the tours.

Participants visited AgriLand Farming Company in Chowchilla, Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in Fairmead, and the Ellis Recharge Basin in northeast Madera. The stops were part of a special meeting of the Advisory Committee for area groundwater sustainability agencies. … ”

Read more from the Madera Tribune here:  Madera County growers tackle water issues

In Borrego Springs Tourism, Farming Industries Face Uncertainty With Looming Water Cuts

“Although part of San Diego County, Borrego Springs is definitely off the beaten path. The small community is a two-hour drive from downtown San Diego.

“The remoteness of ourselves — there’s no freeway coming here,” said Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce President Patrick Sampson, who is also general manager of the La Casa Del Zorro resort.   “If you’re going to Borrego Springs — you’re coming to Borrego Springs.” … ”

Read more from KPBS here:  In Borrego Springs Tourism, Farming Industries Face Uncertainty With Looming Water Cuts