Can sensor data save California’s aquifers? 

“In California, the amount of water exiting aquifers under the state’s most productive farming region far surpasses the amount of water trickling back in. That rampant overdraft has caused land across much of the region to sink like a squeezed out sponge, permanently depleting groundwater storage capacity and damaging infrastructure.

The trend—and a 2014 mandate for sustainable groundwater management in the state—has ignited interest in replenishing aquifers in California’s Central Valley through managed flooding of the ground above them. But until now there has been no reliable way to know where this type of remedy will be most effective. … ”

Read more from Futurity here:  Can sensor data save California’s aquifers?

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

California uses blockchain and IoT to manage groundwater use

” … For decades, farmers and businesses have pumped groundwater out of California’s aquifers, the permeable layers of rock that hold water underground, and the results have been frightening. As aquifers drain faster than rain can replenish them, the ground actually sinks, a phenomenon called “subsidence.” In areas where building and roads rest atop the ground, this can cause damage. …

If California is going to prevent further depletion of aquifers and survive droughts like the one that afflicted it from 2011 to 2017, the state will need to manage its groundwater usage. In the central valley, a group of organizations is working on a project that could stem the tide by combining two technologies: the internet of things (IoT) and Blockchain. … ”

Read more from Digital Trends here:  Blockchain is overhyped, but it’s also perfect for California’s drought problem

Measuring success in groundwater management

“The passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014 was a watershed moment, establishing the first statewide framework for managing California’s critical groundwater resources. Under this framework, one of the key challenges facing newly formed local government agencies responsible for groundwater management is to establish and implement quantitative metrics for sustainability.

To help local agencies do this, a new report from Water in the West examines how four special act districts in California have used quantitative thresholds to adaptively manage groundwater.

These case studies provide valuable insights on the development and implementation of performance metrics and will be important in guiding local agencies. … ”

Read more from Stanford News here:  Measuring success in groundwater management

Well monitoring tech offered to Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority

From the Ridgecrest News Review:

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority has continually discussed its need for additional well data needed to draft an adequate Groundwater Sustain-ability Plan for IWV pumpers. Recently, the Authority heard a brief presentation from Lee Knudtson of Wellntell, who offered an opportunity to upgrade the Authority’s well-monitoring capabilities.

“We’ve invented a tool for monitoring water levels and pumping activity from domestic wells and small ag wells,” said Knudtson. “Several federal and state agencies have adopted our technologies because they’re easy to use and less expensive.”

To continue reading at the Ridgecrest News & Review, click here:  Well monitoring tech offered to Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s first meeting of 2019 meeting features presentations, appointments

From the Ridgecrest Independent:

“The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority had its first meeting since November 2018 on Jan. 17. All representatives were present with the exception of Ryan Klaush from Bureau of Land Management because of the government shutdown. There was a moment of silence for furloughed workers.

This was also the first board of directors meeting for Ridgecrest City Councilman Loren Scott Hayman since being appointed to the position.

The board approved the appointment of Judie Decker as a policy advisory committee representative for Eastern Kern County Resource Conservation District. Mick Gleason personally thanked Decker for her service on the board. … ”

Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s first meeting of 2019 meeting features presentations, appointments

Butte County: Helicopter survey should aid groundwater planning

From the Oroville Mercury Register:

“Butte County may soon have a better idea of what lies beneath its surface, thanks in part to the Kingdom of Denmark.  Starting in late November, a helicopter took off for several days from the Orland airport to fly a pattern over an area between Chico and Orland, and southeast into Butte Valley.  Dangling beneath the helicopter was a hoop loaded with devices that created a weak magnetic field and instruments that measured how that interacted with layers beneath the soil.

Christina Buck with the Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation explained that underground there are layers of sands and gravels that hold water, divided by layers of clay and silt that block water passage to different degrees. … ”

Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here:  Butte County: Helicopter survey should aid groundwater planning

Tracking aquifer water with seismic noise

From Environmental Monitor:

“In drought-stressed areas like California where every drop in the aquifer counts, seismic noise may be the key to monitoring water. Harvard University PhD student and principal investigator Tim Clements spoke to EM about this recent work, and how it might be a game changer for water watchers across the country.

“The inspiration for this research was the historic drought in California from 2011 to 2017,” explains Clements. “This was the driest period in recorded history in the state. We started this research after California had implemented the first mandatory water restrictions in state history in 2015.” … “

Read more from Environmental Monitor here:  Tracking aquifer water with seismic noise

As California’s Groundwater Free-for-All Ends, Gauging What’s Left

From Water in the West:

“Most areas of California farm country have a significant lack of information about their groundwater use. The water managers responsible for putting California’s depleted aquifers on the path to sustainability now need to get the data to do the job. Running the new agencies created under the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, these managers must first decide what they need to know, and how to get the information.

The measuring gauges they need would ideally give two different views of groundwater reality. First, account for withdrawals by identifying who is taking the water, then control the withdrawals to ensure sustainability, now required in 109 of the state’s 517 groundwater basins. Second, monitor the overall health of the aquifer to ensure it is not trespassing over the various boundaries of unsustainability now carved into state law. … “

To read this article, click here:  As California’s Groundwater Free-for-All Ends, Gauging What’s Left

San Mateo Plain Groundwater Subbasin: A Local Case Study

From Stanford’s Water in the West:

“Prior to the passage of the landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014, groundwater withdrawals in California were largely unregulated. As part of initial compliance with this Act’s requirements, groundwater basins designated by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) as high or medium priority must form new agencies—Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs)—by June 30 of this year. These agencies will be responsible for developing and implementing plans to ensure that each basin is managed sustainably within 20 years of plan adoption.

DWR estimates that the 127 high and medium priority basins account for 96 percent of groundwater pumping in the state. However, basins like the San Mateo Plain Subbasin (Basin) that are not currently used as a primary water supply source (and thus have been categorized as low and very low priority and not subject to SGMA regulations), are increasingly being looked at to serve as a supplemental water supply. This blog post follows the public process that the County of San Mateo initiated last year to better understand the Basin. … “

Read more from Stanford’s Water in the West here: San Mateo Plain Groundwater Subbasin: A Local Case Study