“The Groundwater Authority has a little over a year left to create the Groundwater Sustainability Plan, and the Indian Wells Valley Water District is doing everything it can to ensure that happens. The IWV Water District had its first workshop of the year on Wednesday morning, where future plans and goals of the water district were discussed.
The main objective was to ensure that every decision and action that the water district makes is in tune with what the GA is trying to achieve. “I want to make sure that the GSP reflects our inputs,” director Stan Rajtora said. … ”
“Local leaders on the Sacramento Valley floor are well organized and coordinated with respect to groundwater management and the efforts to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) are all working hard to manage groundwater in a sustainable manner with a focus on completing the initial Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) by January 2022.
With the emphasis on local agency implementation of SGMA, we have asked many of the local leaders to provide their perspective on local groundwater conditions and the management necessary to manage water resources in a sustainable manner. … “
“There is a lot of uncertainty down on the farm about impending and unprecedented restrictions that will be imposed on groundwater usage in California in 2020. On Kern County: In Depth, an update on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014.”
“Citrus groves spread out in rows across the desert in Borrego Springs, forming a lush green oasis against a backdrop of bone-dry mountains. When the grapefruit and lemon trees bloom on Jim Seley’s farm, the white blossoms fill the air with their sweet scent. His father founded the farm in 1957, and Seley has been farming here since 1964. He and his son, Mike, manage the business, and they hope to pass it on to the next generation of Seleys.
But the farms of Borrego Springs, like the town and its golf courses, rely completely on groundwater pumped from the desert aquifer. And it’s unclear whether farming will be able to survive in this part of the Southern California desert west of the Salton Sea in San Diego County. … ”
“The scope of the Owens River basin’s sustainability plan became clearer following a presentation by DBS&A’s Tony Martin at last Thursday’s meeting of the Owens Valley Groundwater Authority. The consulting firm’s tasks include compiling data, developing a timeline and stakeholder outreach plan and pulling together ecosystem data.
The key, it seems, is setting objectives (best case scenarios) and thresholds (worst case) with enough of a spread to keep the Authority from violating its own plan but still get the plan approved by the state Department of Water Resources.
According to Martin, the OVGA can set area-specific criteria, important in light of the diversity of the water demands on the basin. … “
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. … “
“With a tightening deadline to submit a groundwater sustainability plan to the state, the IWV Groundwater Authority’s water resources manager plans to move more aggressively in the development process. Steve Johnson, the water resources manager and Stetson Engineers, Inc. president, highlighted that fact Thursday during the Groundwater Authority’s board meeting.
Johnson said that given the Groundwater Authority’s tight timeline to complete and submit the sustainability plan, Stetson Engineers will be pursuing an aggressive schedule to get components done. … ”
“Sustaining the remarkable scale of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley has required large imports of surface water and an average annual groundwater overdraft of 2 million acre-feet (Hanak et al. 2017). This level of water demand is unsustainable and is now forcing changes that will have profound social and economic consequences for San Joaquin Valley farmers and communities. Land will have to come out of agricultural production in some areas. Yet, the emerging changes also provide an important opportunity to strike a new balance between a vibrant agricultural economy and maintenance of natural ecosystems that provide a host of public benefits — if the land is retired and restored strategically.
Once characterized by widespread artesian wells, the San Joaquin Valley now averages groundwater depths of over 150 feet below the surface, exceeding 250 feet in many areas. Decades of groundwater withdrawals have led to the declining reliability and quality of groundwater (Hanak et al. 2015; Harter et al. 2012), widespread land subsidence exceeding 25 feet in some areas (CADWR 2014; Farr et al. 2017) and degradation of groundwater-dependent ecosystems (The Nature Conservancy 2014). … “
California’s landscape will transform in a changing climate. While extended drought and recent wildfires seasons have sparked conversations about acute impacts today, the promise of changes to come is no less worrying. Among the challenges for water management:
“Concerns are rising Kern might lose local control over groundwater pumping — an activity vital to farmers, ranchers, oil producers and others — after county officials moved to scale back their own oversight role.
The county informed property owners Aug. 24 it does not have the expertise or the money to actively manage groundwater use in portions of Kern where no other management authority exists. It encouraged them to join a local water district or form their own management organization, either of which would be expected to come up with a plan for making the practice sustainable. … “