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