A winning approach for managing groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley

Alvar Escriva-Bou, Ellen Hanak, and Josué Medellín-Azuara write,

“The San Joaquin Valley is in a time of great change. Decades of groundwater overuse have caused drinking water and irrigation wells to go dry, increased the amount of energy required to pump water, harmed ecosystems, and reduced the reserves available to cope with future droughts.

Groundwater overdraft has also caused land to sink, damaging major regional infrastructure, including canals that deliver water across the state.  These problems spurred the enactment of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which requires local water users across California to bring groundwater use to sustainable levels by the early 2040s.

With California’s largest groundwater deficit, the San Joaquin Valley is ground zero for implementing SGMA. … ”

Read more from the PPIC blog here:  A winning approach for managing groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley

Valley agriculture and environmental experts discuss potential water exchange program

From the Fresno State Collegian:

“Agricultural and environmental leaders spoke at the Water Market Exchange Symposium in the Satellite Student Union on Jan. 24 to share their perspectives on a water market exchange program.  The symposium featured speakers from water agencies, environmental interests, disadvantaged community interests and water market administrators.

According to Fresno State California Water Institute program manager Laura Ramos, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) would result in reductions of the supply of groundwater, creating the need for a creative and innovative solution to efficiently manage it. … ”

Read more from the Collegian here:  Valley agriculture and environmental experts discuss potential water exchange program

Departing Nevada state engineer approves controversial water market near Eureka

“In the valley north of the central Nevada town of Eureka, dozens of circle irrigation systems spray water onto alfalfa each spring. The water that flows through the rotating center pivots comes from the ground. But that limited groundwater supply is being overpumped and beginning to dry up at a rate that has long concerned Nevada’s top water regulator, the state engineer.

Each year, water users near Eureka pump more than twice the amount of groundwater from Diamond Valley — a hub for hay growers in central Nevada — than is replenished by Mother Nature. Underneath the valley, the water table has dropped further away from the surface. …

Last week, the state approved a first-of-its-kind plan to reduce water use in Diamond Valley, a community caught between a desire to maintain its agricultural industry and the realities of water availability in the high desert. The plan revolves around the concept of a water market. But it also deviates from Western water law — and will almost certainly be challenged in court.”

Read more from the Nevada Independent here:  Departing state engineer approves controversial water market near Eureka

Santa Cruz, Soquel Creek Water District anticipate water exchange kickoff

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

“A water-sharing project opening a pipeline between Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District may be underway as early as November, serving as a partial solution for the region’s chronic water supply shortage.  The two utilities have spent more than a decade researching options for water supply expansion as their populations continue to grow.

Santa Cruz, dependent on river and stream water supplies, does not have enough storage space for its customers’ long-term needs, while Soquel Creek Water District, as with other water agencies in the county, is dependent on underground aquifers that are not refilling as quickly as they are being depleted by well pumping. … ”

Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Santa Cruz, Soquel Creek Water District anticipate water exchange kickoff

‘Exchange Pools’: Los Angeles Provides Innovative Groundwater Strategy

From Water Deeply:

Across California, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) are devising plans to reduce long-term overdraft. As part of the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, GSAs will submit plans in 2020–22, which detail strategies to bring groundwater use into balance by 2040.

Planning processes must assemble stakeholders and estimate sustainable yields of groundwater, quantify existing pumping, describe future options to limit overdraft and identify funding. GSAs are actively searching for ways to stretch limited supplies and sustainably use the underground storage space created by decades of overdraft, drawing on lessons of previous regional agreements. … “

Read more from Water Deeply here:  ‘Exchange Pools’: Los Angeles Provides Innovative Groundwater Strategy