In March of this year, the Secretaries of the Natural Resources Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Food and Ag tasked the California Water Commission with initiating a thorough and inclusive public dialogue to frame state considerations around shaping well-managed groundwater trading programs.
At the June meeting of the California Water Commission, the commissioners heard from a panel of speakers who discussed why groundwater sustainability agencies (or GSAs) might consider markets, what groundwater trading entails, its opportunities and limitations, and how it is connected to water accounting, allocations, and sustainable groundwater management.
The first panelist was Dr. Newsha Ajami, the Director of Urban Water Policy with Stanford University’s Water in the West and an appointed member of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission who gave a presentation on using a cap and trade scheme to diversify water supplies. You can read her presentation here: Dr. Newsha Ajami: Enhancing Regional Water Sustainability through Virtual Water Trading
Next, Steven Springhorn, the Acting Deputy Director of Statewide Groundwater Management at the Department of Water Resources, highlighted how the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and related activities provide a framework and foundation to build off of to develop efficient and equitable markets and how those markets can help to collectively and successfully implement SGMA. He also discussed the assistance available from the Department for SGMA implementation that can facilitate local agencies working towards developing allocations and markets. You can read his presentation here: STEVEN SPRINGHORN: Water Trading & the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
The third presenter was Dr. Christina Babbitt, the senior manager of the Environmental Defense Fund’s California Groundwater Program. Her presentation focused on advancing well-designed water trading programs in California and included an example of EDF’s work with partners to develop a groundwater trading platform. You can read her presentation here: DR. CHRISTINA BABBITT: Advancing Well-Designed Water Trading Programs in California